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Henry VI, Part 1

Henry VI, Part 1 Translation Act 2, Scene 3

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Enter the COUNTESS and her Porter

COUNTESS

Porter, remember what I gave in charge;And when you have done so, bring the keys to me.

COUNTESS

Porter, remember what task I have set you. When you have done it, bring the keys back to me.

PORTER

Madam, I will.

PORTER

I will, madam.

Exit.

COUNTESS

The plot is laid: if all things fall out right, I shall as famous be by this exploit As Scythian Tomyris by Cyrus' death. Great is the rumor of this dreadful knight, And his achievements of no less account: Fain would mine eyes be witness with mine ears, To give their censure of these rare reports.

COUNTESS

The plot is in place. If everything works out correctly, I will be as famous as Queen Tomyris after the death of Cyrus. The rumors about this dreadful knight are great and his achievements are also worth mentioning. Willingly would my eyes and ears see and hear to give their opinion of these exceptional reports of him. 

Enter Messenger and TALBOT

MESSENGER

Madam,According as your ladyship desired,By message craved, so is Lord Talbot come.

MESSENGER

Madam, as your ladyship wanted, and desired by my message, here comes Lord Talbot. 

COUNTESS

And he is welcome. What! Is this the man?

COUNTESS

And he is welcome. What!? Is this the man?

MESSENGER

Madam, it is.

MESSENGER

Madam, it is him. 

COUNTESS

Is this the scourge of France? Is this the Talbot, so much fear'd abroad That with his name the mothers still their babes? I see report is fabulous and false: I thought I should have seen some Hercules, A second Hector , for his grim aspect, And large proportion of his strong-knit limbs. Alas, this is a child, a silly dwarf! It cannot be this weak and writhled shrimp Should strike such terror to his enemies.

COUNTESS

Is this the person who causes fear in France? Is this the Talbot that is so feared all around the world that mothers hush their babies with his name? I can see that the report was only a false fantasy. I thought I would see a Hercules, a second Hector! I expected to see his stern expression and his large, powerfully built legs and arms. But, unfortunately, this is only a child! A feeble dwarf! It can't be that this weak and twisted shrimp brings so much terror to his enemies.

TALBOT

Madam, I have been bold to trouble you;But since your ladyship is not at leisure,I'll sort some other time to visit you.

TALBOT

Madam, I have been a bit forward, to come and bother you here. But since your ladyship doesn't find this convenient, I'll find some other time to come visit you. 

COUNTESS

What means he now? Go ask him whither he goes.

COUNTESS

What does he mean now? Go ask him where he is going. 

MESSENGER

Stay, my Lord Talbot; for my lady cravesTo know the cause of your abrupt departure.

MESSENGER

Stay, my lord Talbot! My Lady wishes to know the reason for your sudden departure. 

TALBOT

Marry, for that she's in a wrong belief,I go to certify her Talbot's here.

TALBOT

Well, because she is under a misconception. I'm leaving to guarantee that Talbot is here. 

Re-enter Porter with keys

COUNTESS

If thou be he, then thou art a prisoner.

COUNTESS

If you are him, then you are a prisoner.

TALBOT

Prisoner! To whom?

TALBOT

Prisoner! To whom?

COUNTESS

To me, blood-thirsty lord; And for that cause I trained thee to my house. Long time thy shadow hath been thrall to me, For in my gallery thy picture hangs: But now the substance shall endure the like, And I will chain these legs and arms of thine, That hast by tyranny these many years Wasted our country, slain our citizens And sent our sons and husbands captivate.

COUNTESS

To me, you blood-thirsty lord. That is why I lured you to my house. For a long time, your image has been a slave to me, because your picture hangs in my gallery. But now you are here in the flesh, and I will chain your legs and arms, that have with cruelty for many years exhausted our country and killed our citizens and captured our sons and husbands. 

TALBOT

Ha, ha, ha!

TALBOT

Hahaha!

COUNTESS

Laughest thou, wretch? Thy mirth shall turn to moan.

COUNTESS

Villain, why do you laugh? Your joy will turn to moaning.

TALBOT

I laugh to see your ladyship so fondTo think that you have aught but Talbot's shadowWhereon to practise your severity.

TALBOT

I laugh because I see your ladyship is foolish to think that you have anything but Talbot's shadow on which to practice your cruelty. 

COUNTESS

Why, art not thou the man?

COUNTESS

Why, are you not him?

TALBOT

I am indeed.

TALBOT

I am indeed. 

COUNTESS

Then have I substance too.

COUNTESS

Then I have the body too. 

TALBOT

No, no, I am but shadow of myself: You are deceived, my substance is not here; For what you see is but the smallest part And least proportion of humanity: I tell you, madam, were the whole frame here, It is of such a spacious lofty pitch, Your roof were not sufficient to contain't.

TALBOT

No, no, I am only a shadow of myself. You are misled, my essence is not here, because what you see is only the smallest part and the smallest portion of humankind. Madam, I tell you, if the whole body were here, since it is of such large height, your roof would not be enough to contain it.

COUNTESS

This is a riddling merchant for the nonce;He will be here, and yet he is not here:How can these contrarieties agree?

COUNTESS

This is a fellow who likes riddles as the occasion requires. He is here and yet he is not here. How can those two contradictions work together?

TALBOT

That will I show you presently.

TALBOT

I will show you that immediately. 

Winds his horn. Drums strike up: a peal of ordnance. Enter soldiers

TALBOT

How say you, madam? Are you now persuaded That Talbot is but shadow of himself? These are his substance, sinews, arms and strength, With which he yoketh your rebellious necks, Razeth your cities and subverts your towns And in a moment makes them desolate.

TALBOT

What do you say, madam? Are you not persuaded that Talbot is only a shadow of himself? These are his substances, ligaments, arms and strength, with which he imprisons your rebellious necks, wipes out your cities and destroys your towns and in only a moment turns them into ruins. 

COUNTESS

Victorious Talbot! Pardon my abuse: I find thou art no less than fame hath bruited And more than may be gather'd by thy shape. Let my presumption not provoke thy wrath; For I am sorry that with reverence I did not entertain thee as thou art.

COUNTESS

Victorious Talbot! Excuse my delusion. I see that you are no less than the stories reported and in fact even more, as I can see from your shape. Let my assumptions not provoke your anger, as I am sorry that I didn't receive you as you deserved, with admiration. 

TALBOT

Be not dismay'd, fair lady; nor misconstrue The mind of Talbot, as you did mistake The outward composition of his body. What you have done hath not offended me; Nor other satisfaction do I crave, But only, with your patience, that we may Taste of your wine and see what cates you have; For soldiers' stomachs always serve them well.

TALBOT

Don't alarm yourself, fair lady. Don't misinterpret Talbot's mind, as you already did mistake the outside form of his body. What you have done hasn't insulted me, and I don't wish any other satisfaction; only that we may, if you give us permission, taste your wine and see what delicacies you have because soldiers' appetites are always happy to taste them. 

COUNTESS

With all my heart, and think me honouredTo feast so great a warrior in my house.

COUNTESS

I will do so with all my heart and I will be honored to offer food to such a great warrior in my house. 

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.