Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > 1 King Henry VI.
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William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
 
The First Part of King Henry the Sixth
 
Act IV. Scene V.
 
The English Camp near Bourdeaux.
 
Enter TALBOT and JOHN his Son.
  Tal.  O young John Talbot! I did send for thee
To tutor thee in stratagems of war,
That Talbot’s name might be in thee reviv’d        5
When sapless age, and weak unable limbs
Should bring thy father to his drooping chair.
But,—O malignant and ill-boding stars!
Now thou art come unto a feast of death,
A terrible and unavoided danger:        10
Therefore, dear boy, mount on my swiftest horse,
And I’ll direct thee how thou shalt escape
By sudden flight: come, dally not, be gone.
  John.  Is my name Talbot? and am I your son?
And shall I fly? O! if you love my mother,        15
Dishonour not her honourable name,
To make a bastard and a slave of me:
The world will say he is not Talbot’s blood
That basely fled when noble Talbot stood.
  Tal.  Fly, to revenge my death, if I be slain.        20
  John.  He that flies so will ne’er return again.
  Tal.  If we both stay, we both are sure to die.
  John.  Then let me stay; and, father, do you fly:
Your loss is great, so your regard should be;
My worth unknown, no loss is known in me.        25
Upon my death the French can little boast;
In yours they will, in you all hopes are lost.
Flight cannot stain the honour you have won;
But mine it will that no exploit have done:
You fled for vantage everyone will swear;        30
But if I bow, they’ll say it was for fear.
There is no hope that ever I will stay
If the first hour I shrink and run away.
Here, on my knee, I beg mortality,
Rather than life preserv’d with infamy.        35
  Tal.  Shall all thy mother’s hopes lie in one tomb?
  John.  Ay, rather than I’ll shame my mother’s womb.
  Tal.  Upon my blessing I command thee go.
  John.  To fight I will, but not to fly the foe.
  Tal.  Part of thy father may be sav’d in thee.        40
  John.  No part of him but will be shame in me.
  Tal.  Thou never hadst renown, nor canst not lose it.
  John.  Yes, your renowned name: shall flight abuse it?
  Tal.  Thy father’s charge shall clear thee from that stain.
  John.  You cannot witness for me, being slain.        45
If death be so apparent, then both fly.
  Tal.  And leave my followers here to fight and die?
My age was never tainted with such shame.
  John.  And shall my youth be guilty of such blame?
No more can I be sever’d from your side        50
Than can yourself yourself in twain divide.
Stay, go, do what you will, the like do I;
For live I will not if my father die.
  Tal.  Then here I take my leave of thee, fair son,
Born to eclipse thy life this afternoon.        55
Come, side by side together live and die,
And soul with soul from France to heaven fly.
 
 
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