Henry VI Part 1

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Dead march. Enter the funeral of King Henry the

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Fifth, attended on by the Duke of Bedford, Regent of

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France; the Duke of Gloucester, Protector; the Duke

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of Exeter; the Earl of Warwick; the Bishop of

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Winchester; and the Duke of Somerset; with heralds

 

BEDFORD

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Hung be the heavens with black, yield day to night!
attend (v.) 2 serve, follow, wait [on/upon]
heavens (n.) 2 [covering over the rear of a stage] sky

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Comets, importing change of times and states,
import (v.) 4 portend, signify, predict

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Brandish your crystal tresses in the sky,
brandish (v.) make shine, cause to flash
crystal (adj.) 2 bright, gleaming, glittering

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And with them scourge the bad revolting stars
revolting (adj.) rebellious, mutinous, insurgent

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That have consented unto Henry's death –
consent (v.) agree, concur, acquiesce

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King Henry the Fifth, too famous to live long!

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England ne'er lost a king of so much worth.

 

GLOUCESTER

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England ne'er had a king until his time.

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Virtue he had, deserving to command;
virtue (n.) 1 quality, accomplishment, ability

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His brandished sword did blind men with his beams;

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His arms spread wider than a dragon's wings;

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His sparkling eyes, replete with wrathful fire,

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More dazzled and drove back his enemies

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Than midday sun fierce bent against their faces.

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What should I say? His deeds exceed all speech;

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He ne'er lift up his hand but conquered.

 

EXETER

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We mourn in black; why mourn we not in blood?

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Henry is dead and never shall revive.
revive (v.) 2 come back to life, live again

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Upon a wooden coffin we attend;
attend (v.) 2 serve, follow, wait [on/upon]

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And death's dishonourable victory

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We with our stately presence glorify,
presence (n.) 1 royal assembly, eminent company

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Like captives bound to a triumphant car.
car (n.) carriage, cart, chariot [often of the sun god]
triumphant (adj.) triumphal, glorious, celebrating a great victory

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What? Shall we curse the planets of mishap
mishap (n.) evil, misfortune, calamity

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That plotted thus our glory's overthrow?

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Or shall we think the subtle-witted French
subtle-witted (adj.) cunning, wily, slyly intelligent

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Conjurers and sorcerers, that, afraid of him,

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By magic verses have contrived his end?
contrive (v.) 1 scheme, plot, conspire

 

WINCHESTER

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He was a king blessed of the King of Kings.

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Unto the French the dreadful Judgement Day

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So dreadful will not be as was his sight.

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The battles of the Lord of Hosts he fought;

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The Church's prayers made him so prosperous.

 

GLOUCESTER

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The Church? Where is it? Had not churchmen prayed,

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His thread of life had not so soon decayed.
decay (v.) be destroyed, become ruined, fail

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None do you like but an effeminate prince,
effeminate (adj.) 1 feeble, soft, unmanly
prince (n.) 1 ruler, monarch, sovereign

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Whom like a schoolboy you may overawe.

 

WINCHESTER

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Gloucester, whate'er we like, thou art Protector

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And lookest to command the Prince and realm.
look (v.) 1 expect, anticipate, hope, await the time

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Thy wife is proud; she holdeth thee in awe
awe (n.) 2 fear, terror, dread

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More than God or religious churchmen may.

 

GLOUCESTER

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Name not religion, for thou lovest the flesh;

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And ne'er throughout the year to church thou goest,

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Except it be to pray against thy foes.

 

BEDFORD

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Cease, cease these jars, and rest your minds in peace;
jar (n.) 1 conflict, quarrel, dissension

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Let's to the altar. Heralds, wait on us.
wait on / upon (v.) 3 go on before, proceed ahead of

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Exeunt heralds

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Instead of gold, we'll offer up our arms,
arms (n.) 1 weapons, armaments

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Since arms avail not, now that Henry's dead.
avail (v.) 2 be of use to, help, advantage

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Posterity, await for wretched years,
await for (v.) expect, anticipate, look out for

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When at their mothers' moistened eyes babes shall suck,

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Our isle be made a nourish of salt tears,
nourish (n.) nurse, nursemaid

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And none but women left to wail the dead.

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Henry the Fifth, thy ghost I invocate;
ghost (n.) 1 spirit, soul
invocate (v.) invoke, call upon, entreat

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Prosper this realm, keep it from civil broils;
broil (n.) 1 turmoil, confused fighting, battle
prosper (v.) make prosperous, give success to

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Combat with adverse planets in the heavens!
adverse (adj.) 1 unfavourable, harmful, hostile

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A far more glorious star thy soul will make

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Than Julius Caesar or bright –

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Enter First Messenger

 

FIRST MESSENGER

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My honourable lords, health to you all!

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Sad tidings bring I to you out of France,
sad (adj.) 1 serious, grave, solemn

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Of loss, of slaughter, and discomfiture:
discomfiture (n.) rout, overthrow, utter defeat

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Guienne, Champaigne, Rheims, Rouen, Orleans,

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Paris, Gisors, Poitiers, are all quite lost.

 

BEDFORD

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What sayest thou, man, before dead Henry's corse?
corse (n.) corpse, dead body

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Speak softly, or the loss of those great towns

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Will make him burst his lead and rise from death.
lead (n.) 1 leaden coffin lining

 

GLOUCESTER

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Is Paris lost? is Rouen yielded up?
yield up (v.) give up, surrender, relinquish

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If Henry were recalled to life again,

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These news would cause him once more yield the ghost.
yield the ghost (v.) give up the spirit, die

 

EXETER

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How were they lost? What treachery was used?

 

FIRST MESSENGER

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No treachery, but want of men and money.
want (n.) 1 lack, shortage, dearth

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Amongst the soldiers this is muttered,

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That here you maintain several factions;
several (adj.) 1 separate, different, distinct

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And whilst a field should be dispatched and fought,
dispatch, despatch (v.) 1 deal with promptly, settle, get [something] done quickly

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You are disputing of your generals.
field (n.) 1 field of battle, battleground, field of combat
of (prep.) 1 about

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One would have lingering wars with little cost;
lingering (adj.) long-drawn-out, protracted, lengthy

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Another would fly swift, but wanteth wings;
want (v.) 1 lack, need, be without

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A third thinks, without expense at all,

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By guileful fair words peace may be obtained.
guileful (adj.) full of guile, deceitful, devious

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Awake, awake, English nobility!

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Let not sloth dim your honours new-begot.
new-begot (adj.) newly acquired, freshly obtained

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Cropped are the flower-de-luces in your arms;
arms (n.) 2 coat of arms
crop (v.) 1 cut down, remove, hack off
fleur-de-lis, flower-de-luce (n.) heraldic lily [royal symbol of France]

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Of England's coat one half is cut away.

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Exit

 

EXETER

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Were our tears wanting to this funeral,
want (v.) 1 lack, need, be without

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These tidings would call forth her flowing tides.

 

BEDFORD

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Me they concern; Regent I am of France.

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Give me my steeled coat; I'll fight for France.
steeled (adj.) 2 steel-clad, armed with steel

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Away with these disgraceful wailing robes!
disgraceful (adj.) lacking in grace, unbecoming, displeasing

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Wounds will I lend the French instead of eyes,

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To weep their intermissive miseries.
intermissive (adj.) intermittent, recurrent; or: temporarily interrupted

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Enter to them another Messenger

 

SECOND MESSENGER

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Lords, view these letters full of bad mischance.

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France is revolted from the English quite,
quite (adv.) totally, completely, entirely

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Except some petty towns of no import.
import (n.) importance, significance, consequence
petty (adj.) 1 small, weak, inadequate, insignificant

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The Dauphin Charles is crowned king in Rheims;

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The Bastard of Orleans with him is joined;

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Reignier, Duke of Anjou, doth take his part;
part (n.) 2 side, camp, party

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The Duke of Alençon flieth to his side.

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Exit

 

EXETER

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The Dauphin crowned king! All fly to him?
fly (v.) 2 flock, rush, hasten

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O, whither shall we fly from this reproach?
fly (v.) 1 leave, run away [from], flee
reproach (n.) 1 blame, disgrace, shame

 

GLOUCESTER

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We will not fly but to our enemies' throats.
fly (v.) 3 storm out, attack furiously

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Bedford, if thou be slack, I'll fight it out.

 

BEDFORD

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Gloucester, why doubtest thou of my forwardness?

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An army have I mustered in my thoughts,

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Wherewith already France is overrun.

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Enter another Messenger

 

THIRD MESSENGER

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My gracious lords, to add to your laments,

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Wherewith you now bedew King Henry's hearse,
bedew (v.) moisten with drops, wet with tears

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I must inform you of a dismal fight
dismal (adj.) 1 disastrous, calamitous, devastating

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Betwixt the stout Lord Talbot and the French.
stout (adj.) 1 brave, valiant, resolute

 

WINCHESTER

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What? Wherein Talbot overcame, is't so?

 

THIRD MESSENGER

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O, no; wherein Lord Talbot was o'erthrown.

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The circumstance I'll tell you more at large.
circumstance (n.) 1 detail(s), particular(s), specifics
large, at 1 at length, in full, thoroughly

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The tenth of August last this dreadful lord,
dreadful (adj.) 1 inspiring dread, causing fear, daunting

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Retiring from the siege of Orleans,

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Having full scarce six thousand in his troop,
scarce (adv.) 1 scarcely, hardly, barely, only just

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By three and twenty thousand of the French

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Was round encompassed and set upon.
encompass (v.) 1 surround, encircle, enclose

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No leisure had he to enrank his men;
enrank (v.) set in ranks, draw up in battle lines

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He wanted pikes to set before his archers;
pike (n.) 3 defensive stake
want (v.) 1 lack, need, be without

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Instead whereof, sharp stakes plucked out of hedges

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They pitched in the ground confusedly

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To keep the horsemen off from breaking in.

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More than three hours the fight continued,

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Where valiant Talbot, above human thought,
thought (n.) 3 imagination, conception, ability to comprehend

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Enacted wonders with his sword and lance.

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Hundreds he sent to hell, and none durst stand him;
stand (v.) 13 make a stand [against], fight, resist

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Here, there, and everywhere enraged he slew.

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The French exclaimed the devil was in arms;

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All the whole army stood agazed on him.
agazed (adj.) astounded, astonished, amazed

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His soldiers, spying his undaunted spirit,
spy (v.) perceive, observe, behold

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‘ À Talbot! À Talbot!’ cried out amain,
a (part.) particle used in front of a proper name, as a supportive war-cry
amain (adv.) 2 forcefully, with all one's might

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And rushed into the bowels of the battle.

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Here had the conquest fully been sealed up
seal up (v.) 1 sew up, complete, make perfect

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If Sir John Falstaff had not played the coward.

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He, being in the vaward, placed behind
vaward (n.) 1 [military] vanguard, foremost division

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With purpose to relieve and follow them,
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan

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Cowardly fled, not having struck one stroke.

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Hence grew the general wrack and massacre;
wrack (n.) 1 destruction, ruin

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Enclosed were they with their enemies.
enclose (v.) seize, grip, imprison

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A base Walloon, to win the Dauphin's grace,
base (adj.) 2 low-born, lowly, plebeian, of lower rank

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Thrust Talbot with a spear into the back,

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Whom all France, with their chief assembled strength,
chief (adj.) 2 finest, best, foremost
strength (n.) 1 troops, forces, resources, followers

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Durst not presume to look once in the face.

 

BEDFORD

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Is Talbot slain? Then I will slay myself,

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For living idly here in pomp and ease,

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Whilst such a worthy leader, wanting aid,
want (v.) 1 lack, need, be without

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Unto his dastard foemen is betrayed.
dastard (adj.) dastardly, cowardly, despicable

 

THIRD MESSENGER

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O, no, he lives, but is took prisoner,

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And Lord Scales with him, and Lord Hungerford;

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Most of the rest slaughtered or took likewise.

 

BEDFORD

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His ransom there is none but I shall pay.

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I'll hale the Dauphin headlong from his throne;
hale (v.) 1 drag, pull, haul

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His crown shall be the ransom of my friend;

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Four of their lords I'll change for one of ours.
change (v.) 1 exchange, trade

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Farewell, my masters; to my task will I.

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Bonfires in France forthwith I am to make
be (v.) 3 intend, purpose, be determined

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To keep our great Saint George's feast withal.

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Ten thousand soldiers with me I will take,

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Whose bloody deeds shall make all Europe quake.

 

THIRD MESSENGER

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So you had need, for Orleans is besieged;

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The English army is grown weak and faint;

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The Earl of Salisbury craveth supply
crave (v.) 1 beg, entreat, request
supply (n.) reinforcement(s), support, relief

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And hardly keeps his men from mutiny,
hardly (adv.) 1 with great difficulty, only with difficulty

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Since they, so few, watch such a multitude.
watch (v.) 4 keep watch on, look out over

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Exit

 

EXETER

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Remember, lords, your oaths to Henry sworn,

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Either to quell the Dauphin utterly
quell (v.) 1 destroy, overcome, vanquish

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Or bring him in obedience to your yoke.

 

BEDFORD

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I do remember it, and here take my leave

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To go about my preparation.

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Exit

 

GLOUCESTER

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I'll to the Tower with all the haste I can

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To view th' artillery and munition,

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And then I will proclaim young Henry king.

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Exit

 

EXETER

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To Eltham will I, where the young King is,

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Being ordained his special governor,
governor (n.) tutor, mentor
ordain (v.) 1 appoint, establish, institute

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And for his safety there I'll best devise.
devise (v.) 5 provide, prepare, make ready

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Exeunt all but Winchester

 

WINCHESTER

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Each hath his place and function to attend;
attend (v.) 8 see to, look after, apply oneself to
place (n.) 2 precedence, proper place

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I am left out; for me nothing remains.

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But long I will not be Jack out of office.

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The King from Eltham I intend to steal

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And sit at chiefest stern of public weal.
chief (adj.) 1 principal, topmost, pre-eminent
stern (n.) guiding position, centre of control
weal 1 state, community, commonwealth

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Exit

 
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