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Henry VI, Part 1

Henry VI, Part 1 Translation Act 1, Scene 4

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Enter, on the walls, a Master Gunner and his Boy

MASTER GUNNER

Sirrah, thou know'st how Orleans is besieged,And how the English have the suburbs won.

MASTER GUNNER

Sir, you know that Orleans was attacked, and that the English won in the outskirts of the city. 

BOY

Father, I know; and oft have shot at them,Howe'er unfortunate I miss'd my aim.

BOY

Father, I know and I kept shooting at them. But it is unfortunate that my aim was off. 

MASTER-GUNNER

But now thou shalt not. Be thou ruled by me: Chief master-gunner am I of this town; Something I must do to procure me grace. The prince's espials have informed me How the English, in the suburbs close intrench'd, Wont, through a secret grate of iron bars In yonder tower, to overpeer the city, And thence discover how with most advantage They may vex us with shot, or with assault. To intercept this inconvenience, A piece of ordnance 'gainst it I have placed; And even these three days have I watch'd, If I could see them. Now do thou watch, for I can stay no longer. If thou spy'st any, run and bring me word; And thou shalt find me at the governor's.

MASTER-GUNNER

But now you won't miss. Let me tell you what to do. I am the chief master-gunner of this town and I must do something to gain honor. The prince's spies have told me how the English, in the outskirts fortified nearby, are able to go through a secret framework of iron bars to overlook the city from that tower over there. From there, they have an advantage and so they realized how they may surprise us with guns, or with an attack. To stop them from doing this, I put a cannon against it, and I watched these last three days, to see if I could see them. Now you watch them, because I can't stay any longer. If you see any of them, run and tell me. You will find me at the governor's. 

Exit

BOY

Father, I warrant you; take you no care;I'll never trouble you, if I may spy them.

BOY

I promise you, father, do not worry. I won't trouble you if I see them. 

Exit

Enter, on the turrets, SALISBURY and TALBOT, GLANSDALE, GARGRAVE, and others

SALISBURY

Talbot, my life, my joy, again return'd! How wert thou handled being prisoner? Or by what means got'st thou to be released? Discourse, I prithee, on this turret's top.

SALISBURY

Talbot—my life, my joy, you have returned again! How did they treat you while you were prisoner? Or, how were you released? Tell me, please, while we stand on the top of this tower.

TALBOT

The Duke of Bedford had a prisoner Call'd the brave Lord Ponton de Santrailles; For him was I exchanged and ransomed. But with a baser man of arms by far Once in contempt they would have barter'd me: Which I, disdaining, scorn'd; and craved death, Rather than I would be so vile esteem'd. In fine, redeem'd I was as I desired. But, O! the treacherous Fastolfe wounds my heart, Whom with my bare fists I would execute, If I now had him brought into my power.

TALBOT

The Duke of Bedford had a prisoner who, the brave Lord Ponton de Santrailles. I was exchanged for him. But they would have exchanged me for a man of lower birth if I hadn't mocked them for it and said that I wished to die instead. In short, I was exchanged as I desired it. But, oh, the treasonous Fastolfe breaks my heart. I would kill him with my bare hands, if he was brought in front of me now.

SALISBURY

Yet tell'st thou not how thou wert entertain'd.

SALISBURY

But you didn't tell us how you were treated. 

TALBOT

With scoffs and scorns and contumelious taunts. In open market-place produced they me, To be a public spectacle to all: Here, said they, is the terror of the French, The scarecrow that affrights our children so. Then broke I from the officers that led me, And with my nails digg'd stones out of the ground, To hurl at the beholders of my shame: My grisly countenance made others fly; None durst come near for fear of sudden death. In iron walls they deem'd me not secure; So great fear of my name 'mongst them was spread, That they supposed I could rend bars of steel, And spurn in pieces posts of adamant: Wherefore a guard of chosen shot I had, That walked about me every minute-while; And if I did but stir out of my bed, Ready they were to shoot me to the heart.

TALBOT

They mocked me and laughed at me and teased me constantly. They paraded me through the market place, to be a public spectacle to everyone. "Here is the terror of the French," they said, "The scarecrow that scares our children." Then I broke away from the officers that led me and dug stones out of the ground with my nails, so I could throw them at the people who came to embarrass me. My terrifying appearance made people run away. They didn't want to come near me for fear that I would kill them. They didn't think I could be contained by their iron walls. Even my name scared them, and they thought that I could bend the bars of steel and kick the unbreakable posts into pieces. That is why I had a guard assigned to me, who walked around me at every minute. If I so much as moved slightly out of my bed, they were ready to shoot me in the heart. 

Enter the Boy with a linstock

SALISBURY

I grieve to hear what torments you endured, But we will be revenged sufficiently Now it is supper-time in Orleans: Here, through this grate, I count each one and view the Frenchmen how they fortify: Let us look in; the sight will much delight thee. Sir Thomas Gargrave, and Sir William Glansdale, Let me have your express opinions Where is best place to make our battery next.

SALISBURY

It makes me sad to hear the horrors you went through. But we will get our revenge. It is now dinner time in Orleans. Here, through this gate, I see them all and see how the Frenchmen are reinforcing their troops. Let us look inside, you'll be delighted by what you see. 

[To GARGRAVE and GLANSDALE] Sir Thomas Gargrave and Sir William Glansdale, give me your considered opinions on the best place for our next assault.

GARGRAVE

I think, at the north gate; for there stand lords.

GARGRAVE

I think at the north gate, because that's where the lords stand. 

GLANSDALE

And I, here, at the bulwark of the bridge.

GLANSDALE

And I think here, at the barrier of the bridge.

TALBOT

For aught I see, this city must be famish'd,Or with light skirmishes enfeebled.

TALBOT

From what I can see, this city must be starving. Or it has been weakened from the small battles. 

Here they shoot. SALISBURY and GARGRAVE fall

SALISBURY

O Lord, have mercy on us, wretched sinners!

SALISBURY

Oh god, pity us, miserable sinners!

GARGRAVE

O Lord, have mercy on me, woful man!

GARGRAVE

Oh god, pity me, lamentable man!

TALBOT

What chance is this that suddenly hath cross'd us? Speak, Salisbury; at least, if thou canst speak: How farest thou, mirror of all martial men? One of thy eyes and thy cheek's side struck off! Accursed tower! accursed fatal hand That hath contrived this woful tragedy! In thirteen battles Salisbury o'ercame; Henry the Fifth he first train'd to the wars; Whilst any trump did sound, or drum struck up, His sword did ne'er leave striking in the field. Yet livest thou, Salisbury? Though thy speech doth fail, One eye thou hast, to look to heaven for grace: The sun with one eye vieweth all the world. Heaven, be thou gracious to none alive, If Salisbury wants mercy at thy hands! Bear hence his body; I will help to bury it. Sir Thomas Gargrave, hast thou any life? Speak unto Talbot; nay, look up to him. Salisbury, cheer thy spirit with this comfort; Thou shalt not die whiles— He beckons with his hand and smiles on me. As who should say 'When I am dead and gone, Remember to avenge me on the French.' Plantagenet, I will; and like thee, Nero, Play on the lute, beholding the towns burn: Wretched shall France be only in my name.

TALBOT

What just happened here? Speak, Salisbury, at least if you can. How are you, model of all soldiers? One of your eyes and a side of your cheek has been shot off! Curse that tower! Curse that deadly hand that brought this miserable tragedy! Salisbury won thirteen battles. He first trained Henry the Fifth for war. As long as he heard the sound of the trumpet or the drum, his sword never stopped fighting in the field. Do you still live, Salisbury? Although you cannot speak, you still have one eye, to look to heaven for grace. The sun looks on all the world with just one eye. Heaven, don't be kind to anyone alive, if Salisbury needs your mercy! Carry his body, I will help to bury it. Sir Thomas Gargrave, are you still alive? Speak to Talbot, no, look up at him too! Salisbury, you can cheer yourself up with this comfort, you will not die while—he gestures with his hand and smiles at me, as if he wants to say: "When I am dead and gone, remember to take revenge on the French for me." Plantagenet, I will, and like Nero I will play on the lute, watching towns burn. France will be distressed at the mere sound of my name. 

Here an alarum, and it thunders and lightens

TALBOT

What stir is this? What tumult's in the heavens?Whence cometh this alarum and the noise?

TALBOT

What disorder is this? What disturbance is in the heavens? Where does this alarm and noise come from?

Enter a Messenger

MESSENGER

My lord, my lord, the French have gathered head: The Dauphin, with one Joan la Pucelle join'd, A holy prophetess new risen up, Is come with a great power to raise the siege.

MESSENGER

My lord, my lord, the French have raised an army! The Dauphin has joined with one called Joan la Pucelle. She is a holy prophetess, newly discovered. She is coming with a great power to end this blockade.

Here SALISBURY lifteth himself up and groans

TALBOT

Hear, hear how dying Salisbury doth groan! It irks his heart he cannot be revenged. Frenchmen, I'll be a Salisbury to you: Pucelle or puzzel, dolphin or dogfish, Your hearts I'll stamp out with my horse's heels, And make a quagmire of your mingled brains. Convey me Salisbury into his tent, And then we'll try what these dastard Frenchmen dare.

TALBOT

Can you hear how the dying Salisbury moans? It distresses him that he cannot be revenged. Frenchmen, I'll be like a Salisbury to you. Whore or maiden, dolphin or dogfish, I will crush your hearts with the heels of my horse. I'll make a swamp out of your mixed brains. Bear Salisbury to the tent for me and then we'll attempt what these cowardly French only dare. 

Alarum. Exeunt

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Nina romancikova
About the Translator: Nina Romancikova

Nina Romancikova is from Slovakia but her love of literature and theater has brought her to the UK and she has been living and studying there for the past six years. She graduated with a degree in English Literature and Language at University of Glasgow in 2016. Nina is now finishing her Masters in Shakespeare Studies at King's College London and is currently working as a Research Intern at Shakespeare's Globe.