William Shakespeare: Henry VI (Pt 1), Act IV, Scene V
Enter Talbot and John his son
O young John Talbot! I did send for thee To tutor thee in stratagems of war, That Talbot's name might be in thee revived 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: 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.
Is my name Talbot? and am I your son? And shall I fly? O if you love my mother, 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.
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. 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; 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 preserved with infamy.
And shall my youth be guilty of such blame? No more can I be sever'd from your side, 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.
Then here I take my leave of thee, fair son, Born to eclipse thy life this afternoon. Come, side by side together live and die. And soul with soul from France to heaven fly.