James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

May 8

Relief of Orleans

By William Shakespeare (1564–1616)

  • From Henry VI, Part 1st, Act I, Scene 6.
  • The Siege of Orleans by the English began on October 12th, and was finally raised by a relieving force under Joan of Arc, on May 8, 1429.

  • Flourish. Enter, on the walls, JOAN LA PUCELLE, CHARLES, REIGNIER, ALENÇON, and Soldiers.

    La Pucelle.Advance our waving colours on the walls;

    Rescued is Orleans from the English:

    Thus Joan la Pucelle hath perform’d her word.

    Charles.Divinest creature, Astræa’s daughter,

    How shall I honour thee for this success?

    Thy promises are like Adonis’ gardens

    That one day bloom’d and fruitful were the next.

    France, triumph in thy glorious prophetess!

    Recover’d is the town of Orleans:

    More blessed hap did ne’er befall our state.

    Reignier.Why ring not out the bells aloud throughout the town?

    Dauphin, command the citizens make bonfires

    And feast and banquet in the open streets,

    To celebrate the joy that God hath given us.

    Alençon.All France will be replete with mirth and joy,

    When they shall hear how we have play’d the men.

    Char.’Tis Joan, not we, by whom the day is won;

    For which I will divide my crown with her,

    And all the priests and friars in my realm

    Shall in procession sing her endless praise.

    A statlier pyramis to her I’ll rear

    Than Rhodope’s or Memphis’ ever was:

    In memory of her when she is dead,

    Her ashes, in an urn more precious

    Then the rich-jewel’d coffer of Darius,

    Transported shall be at high festivals

    Before the kings and queens of France.

    No longer on Saint Denis will we cry,

    But Joan la Pucelle shall be France’s saint.

    Come in, and let us banquet royally,

    After this golden day of victory.[Flourish. Exeunt.