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various writers, especially among the French historians, join in reprobating the unjustifiable conduct of those among the French troops who rendered the massacre inevitable, and cast on their own countrymen the entire responsibility and blame for the whole melancholy affair. Instead of any attempt to sully and tarnish the glory won by the English on that day, by pointing to their cruel and barbarous treatment of unarmed prisoners, they visit their own people with the very strongest terms of malediction, as the sole culpable origin and cause of the evil. And that these were not only the sentiments of the writers themselves, but were participated in by their countrymen at large, is evidenced by the record of a fact which has been generally overlooked. Those who were deemed guilty of thus exposing their countrymen to death, by upjustifiably renewing the attack when the conflict was acknowledged to be over, and after the French soldiery had given up the field, not only were exposed to disgrace in their characters, but suffered punishment also for the offence in their persons. Anticipating censure and severe handling as the consequences of their misconduct, they made valuable presents to such as they thought able to screen them ; but so decided was the indignation and resentment of their countrymen, that the leaders of the offending parties were cast into prison, and suffered a long confinement, as the punishment for their misconduct on that day.
The inference, then, which the facts, as they are delivered by English and French writers, compel us to draw, coincides with the professed sentiments of all contemporaries. Those, on the one hand, who shared the glory and were proud of the day of Agincourt, and those, on the other, whose national pride and wounded honour, and participation in the calamities poured that day upon the noblest families of France, and in the mourning spread far and wide throughout the land, caused them to abhor the very name of Agincourt, all sanction our adoption of that one inference: Henry did not stain his victory by any act of cruelty. His character comes out of the investigation untarnished by a suspicion of his having wantonly shed the blood of a single fellow-creature.
132.—THE DEATH OF JOHN TALBOT AND HIS SON.
SHAKSPERE. * This is that terrible Talbot, so famous for his sword, or rather whose sword was so famous for his arm that used it; a sword with bad Latin* upon it, but good steel within it; which constantly conquered where it came, in so much that the bare fame of his approach frighted the French from the siege of Burdeaux."
Such is the quaint notice which old Fuller, in his Worthies,' gives of Talbot. It is easy to
see how his bold chivalrous bearing, and, above all, the manner of his death, should have * made him the favourite of the poet as well as of the chroniclers. His name appears to have
been a traditionary household word up to the time of Shakspere ; and other writers, besides the chroniclers, rejoiced in allusions to his warlike deeds. Edward Kerke, the commentator on Spenser's · Pastorals,' thus speaks of him in 1579 :-—" His nobleness bred such a terror in the hearts of the French, that ofttimes great armies were defeated and put to flight at the only hearing of his name: in so much that the French women, to affray their children, would tell them that the Talbot cometh."
The coronation of Henry VI. in Paris took place as early as 1431. In the scene of Shakspere's 'Henry VI.' where this event is represented, Talbot receives a commission to proceed against Burgundy; and the remainder of the Act is occupied with the events of the campaign in which Talbot fell. Twenty years, or more, are leapt over by the poet, for the purpose of showing, amidst the disasters of our countrymen in France, the heroism by which the struggle for empire was so long maintained. The detailed narrative which Hall gives of Talbot's
• Sum Talboti pro vincere inimicos meos.
death, is very graphic, and no doubt furnished the materials for the following scenes, which give the most beautiful example of the use of the couplet in the early English drama.
“This conflict continued in doubtful judgment of victory two long hours; during which fight the lords of Montamban and Humadayre, with a great company of Frenchmen, entered the battle, and began a new field; and suddenly the gunners, perceiving the Englishmen to approach near, discharged their ordinance, and slew three hundred persons near to the Earl, who, perceiving the imminent jeopardy and subtile labyrinth in the which he and his people were enclosed and illaqueate, despising his own safeguard, and desiring the life of his entirely and well beloved son the Lord Lisle, willed, advertised, and counselled him to depart out of the field, and to save himself. But when the son had answered that it was neither honest nor natural for him to leave his father in the extreme jeopardy of his life, and that he would taste of that draught which his father and parent should assay and begin, the noble earl and comfortable captain said to him, Oh, son, son! I, thy father, which, only hath been the terror and scourge of the French people so many years, which had subverted so many towns, and profligate and discomfited so many of them in open battle and martial conflict,—neither can here die, for the honour of my country, without great laud and perpetual fame, nor fly or depart without perpetual shame and continual infamy. But because this is thy first journey and enterprise, neither thy flying shall redound to thy shame, nor thy death to thy glory: for as hardy a man wisely flieth as a temerarious person foolishly abideth, therefore the fleeing of me shall be the dishonour, not only of me and my progeny, but also a discomfiture of all my company: thy departure shall save thy life, and make thee able another time, if I be slain, to revenge my death, and to do honour to thy prince and profit to his realm. But nature so wrought in the son, that neither desire of life, nor thought of security, could withdraw or pluck him from his natural father; who, considering the constancy of his child, and the great danger that they stood in, comforted his soldiers, cheered his captains, and valiantly set on his enemies, and slew of them more in number than he had in his company. But his enemies, having a greater company of men, and more abundance of ordinance, than before had been seen in a battle, first shot him through the thigh with a hand gun, and slew his horse, and cowardly killed him, lying on the ground, whom they never durst look in the face while he stood on his feet: and with him there died manfully his son the Lord Lisle, his bastard son Henry Talbot, and Sir Edward Hull, elect to the noble Order of the Garter, and thirty valiant personages of the English nation; and the Lord Molyns was there taken prisoner with sixty other. The residue of the English people fled to Burdeaux and other places; whereof in the flight were slain about a thousand persons. At this battle of Chastillon, fought the 13th day of July, in this year, ended his life, Lord John Talbot, and of his progeny the first Earl of Shrewsbury, after that he with much fame, more glory, and most victory, had for his prince and country, by the space of twenty-four years and more, valiantly made war and served the king in the parts beyond the sea, whose corpse was left on the ground, and after was found by his friends, and conveyed to Whitchurch in Shropshire, where it is intumulate."
SCENE I.-The English Camp near Bourdeaux.
Enter Talbot and John his Son.
John. Is my name Talbot ? and am I your son ?
Dishonour not her honourable name,
Tal. Fly, to revenge my death, if I be slain,
John. Then let me stay; and father, do you fly :
Tal. Shall all thy mother's hopes lie in one tomb ?
John. You cannot witness for me, being slain.
Tal. And leave my followers here, to fight and die?
John. And shall my youth be guilty of such blame ?
Tal. Then here I take my leave of thee, fair son,
[Exeunt. SCENE II.-A Field of Battle. Alarum : Excursions, wherein Talbot's Son is hemmed about, and Talbot
John. O twice my father! twice am I thy son:
Tal. When from the dauphin's crest thy sword struck fire,
John. The sword of Orleans hath not made me smart;
Tal. Then follow thou thy desperate sire of Crete,
SCENE III.-Another part of the same.
Tal. Where is my other life ?—mine own is gone ;-
Enter Soldiers, bearing the body of John Talbot.
Tal. Thou antic death, which laugh’st us here to scorn,
133.—THE SIEGE OF ORLEANS.
SHAKSPERE. [The narrative of Holinshed of the first interview of Joan of Arc with Charles VII., is as follows:
“In time of this siege at Orleans, unto Charles the Dauphin, at Chinon, as he was in very great care and study how to wrestle against the English nation, by one Peter Badricourt, captain of Vacouleur (made after marshal of France by the Dauphin's creation), was carried a yonng wench of an eighteen years old, called Joan Aro, by name of her father (a sorry shepherd), James of Arc, and Isabella her mother, brought up poorly in their trade of keeping cattle, born at Domprin (therefore reported by Bale, Joan Domprin), upon Meuse in Lorraine, within the diocese of Thoule. Of favour was she counted likesome, of person strongly made and manly, of courage great, hardy, and stout withal, an understander of counsels though she were not at them, great semblance of chastity both of body and behaviour, the name of Jesus in her mouth about all her businesses, humble, obedient, and fasting divers days in the week. A person (as their books make her) raised up by power divine, only for succour to the French