Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

THE MAID OF ORLEANS
Prologue - Act III

DRAMATIS PERSONAE.

CHARLES THE SEVENTH, King of France.
QUEEN ISABEL, his Mother.
AGNES SOREL.
PHILIP THE GOOD, Duke of Burgundy.
EARL DUNOIS, Bastard of Orleans.
LA HIRE, DUCRATEL, French Offers.
ARCHBISHOP OF RHEIMS.
CRATILLON, A Burgundian Knight.
RAOUL, a Lotharingian Knight.
TALBOT, the English General,
LIONEL, FASTOLFE, English Officers.
MONTGOMERY, a Welshman.
COUNCILLORS OF ORLEANS.
AN ENGLISH HERALD.
THIBAUT D'ARC, a wealthy Countryman.
MARGOT, LOUISON, JOHANNA, his Daughters.
ETIENNE, CLAUDE MARIE, RAIMOND, their Suitors.
BERTRAND, another Countryman.
APPARITION OF A BLACK KNIGHT.
CHARCOAL-BURNER AND HIS WIFE.
Soldiers and People, Officers of the Crown, Bishops, Monks,
    Marshals, Magistrates, Courtiers, and other mute persons in the
    Coronation Procession.

PROLOGUE.

A rural District. To the right, a Chapel with an Image of the Virgin; to the left, an ancient Oak.

SCENE I.

        THIBAUT D'ARC. His Three Daughters. Three young Shepherds,their Suitors.

THIBAUT.
Ay, my good neighbors! we at least to-day
Are Frenchmen still, free citizens and lords
Of the old soil which our forefathers tilled.
Who knows whom we to-morrow must obey?
For England her triumphal banner waves
From every wall: the blooming fields of France
Are trampled down beneath her chargers' hoofs;
Paris hath yielded to her conquering arms,
And with the ancient crown of Dagobert
Adorns the scion of a foreign race.
Our king's descendant, disinherited,
Must steal in secret through his own domain;
While his first peer and nearest relative
Contends against him in the hostile ranks;
Ay, his unnatural mother leads them on.
Around us towns and peaceful hamlets burn.
Near and more near the devastating fire
Rolls toward these vales, which yet repose in peace.
Therefore, good neighbors, I have now resolved,
While God still grants us safety, to provide
For my three daughters; for 'midst war's alarms
Women require protection, and true love
Hath power to render lighter every load.
        [To the first Shepherd.
Come, Etienne! You seek my Margot's hand.
Fields lying side by side and loving hearts
Promise a happy union!
        [To the second.]
                Claude! You're silent,
And my Louison looks upon the ground?
How, shall I separate two loving hearts
Because you have no wealth to offer me?
Who now has wealth? Our barns and homes afford
Spoil to the foe, and fuel to the fires.
In times like these a husband's faithful breast
Affords the only shelter from the storm.

LOUISON.
My father!

CLAUDE MARIE.
        My Louison!

LOUISON (embracing JOHANNA).
                My dear sister!

THIBAUT.
I give to each a yard, a stall and herd,
And also thirty acres; and as God
Gave me his blessing, so I give you mine!

MARGOT (embracing JOHANNA).
Gladden our father--follow our example!
Let this day see three unions ratified!

THIBAUT.
Now go; make all things ready; for the morn
Shall see the wedding. Let our village friends
Be all assembled for the festival.

        [The two couples retire arm in arm.]

SCENE II.

        THIBAUT, RAIMOND, JOHANNA.

THIBAUT.
Thy sisters, Joan, will soon be happy brides;
I see them gladly; they rejoice my age;
But thou, my youngest, giv'st me grief and pain.

RAIMOND.
What is the matter? Why upbraid thy child?

THIBAUT.
Here is this noble youth, the flower and pride
Of all our village; he hath fixed on thee
His fond affections, and for three long years
Has wooed thee with respectful tenderness;
But thou dost thrust him back with cold reserve.
Nor is there one 'mong all our shepherd youths
Who e'er can win a gracious smile from thee.
I see thee blooming in thy youthful prime;
Thy spring it is, the joyous time of hope;
Thy person, like a tender flower, hath now
Disclosed its beauty, but I vainly wait
For love's sweet blossom genially to blow,
And ripen joyously to golden fruit!
Oh, that must ever grieve me, and betrays
Some sad deficiency in nature's work!
The heart I like not which, severe and cold,
Expands not in the genial years of youth.

RAIMOND.
Forbear, good father! Cease to urge her thus!
A noble, tender fruit of heavenly growth
Is my Johanna's love, and time alone
Bringeth the costly to maturity!
Still she delights to range among the hills,
And fears descending from the wild, free heath,
To tarry 'neath the lowly roofs of men,
Where dwell the narrow cares of humble life.
From the deep vale, with silent wonder, oft
I mark her, when, upon a lofty hill
Surrounded by her flock, erect she stands,
With noble port, and bends her earnest gaze
Down on the small domains of earth. To me
She looketh then, as if from other times
She came, foreboding things of import high.

THIBAUT.
'Tis that precisely which displeases me!
She shuns her sisters' gay companionship;
Seeks out the desert mountains, leaves her couch
Before the crowing of the morning cock,
And in the dreadful hour, when men are wont
Confidingly to seek their fellow-men,
She, like the solitary bird, creeps forth,
And in the fearful spirit-realm of night,
To yon crossway repairs, and there alone
Holds secret commune with the mountain wind.
Wherefore this place precisely doth she choose?
Why hither always doth she drive her flock?
For hours together I have seen her sit
In dreamy musing 'neath the Druid tree,
Which every happy creature shuns with awe.
For 'tis not holy there; an evil spirit
Hath since the fearful pagan days of old
Beneath its branches fixed his dread abode.
The oldest of our villagers relate
Strange tales of horror of the Druid tree;
Mysterious voices of unearthly sound
From its unhallowed shade oft meet the ear.
Myself, when in the gloomy twilight hour
My path once chanced to lead me near this tree,
Beheld a spectral figure sitting there,
Which slowly from its long and ample robe
Stretched forth its withered hand, and beckoned me.
But on I went with speed, nor looked behind,
And to the care of God consigned my soul.

RAIMOND (pointing to the image of the Virgin).
Yon holy image of the Virgin blest,
Whose presence heavenly peace diffuseth round,
Not Satan's work, leadeth thy daughter here.

THIBAUT.
No! not in vain hath it in fearful dreams
And apparitions strange revealed itself.
For three successive nights I have beheld
Johanna sitting on the throne at Rheims,
A sparkling diadem of seven stars
Upon her brow, the sceptre in her hand,
From which three lilies sprung, and I, her sire,
With her two sisters, and the noble peers,
The earls, archbishops, and the king himself,
Bowed down before her. In my humble home
How could this splendor enter my poor brain?
Oh, 'tis the prelude to some fearful fall!
This warning dream, in pictured show, reveals
The vain and sinful longing of her heart.
She looks with shame upon her lowly birth.
Because with richer beauty God hath graced
Her form, and dowered her with wondrous gifts
Above the other maidens of this vale,
She in her heart indulges sinful pride,
And pride it is through which the angels fell,
By which the fiend of hell seduces man.

RAIMOND.
Who cherishes a purer, humbler mind
Than doth thy pious daughter? Does she not
With cheerful spirit work her sisters' will?
She is more highly gifted far than they,
Yet, like a servant maiden, it is she
Who silently performs the humblest tasks.
Beneath her guiding hands prosperity
Attendeth still thy harvest and thy flocks;
And around all she does there ceaseless flows
A blessing, rare and unaccountable.

THIBAUT.
Ah truly! Unaccountable indeed!
Sad horror at this blessing seizes me!
But now no more; henceforth I will be silent.
Shall I accuse my own beloved child?
I can do naught but warn and pray for her.
Yet warn I must. Oh, shun the Druid tree!
Stay not alone, and in the midnight hour
Break not the ground for roots, no drinks prepare,
No characters inscribe upon the sand!
'Tis easy to unlock the realm of spirits;
Listening each sound, beneath a film of earth
They lay in wait, ready to rush aloft.
Stay not alone, for in the wilderness
The prince of darkness tempted e'en the Lord.

SCENE III.

        THIBAUT, RAIMOND, JOHANNA.
        BERTRAND enters, a helmet in his hand.

RAIMOND.
Hush! here is Bertrand coming back from town;
What bears he in his hand?

BERTRAND.
                You look at me
With wondering gaze; no doubt you are surprised
To see this martial helm!

THIBAUT.
                We are indeed!
Come, tell us how you come by it? Why bring
This fearful omen to our peaceful vale?

        [JOHANNA, who has remained indifferent during the two
        previous scenes, becomes attentive, and steps nearer.]

BERTRAND.
I scarce can tell you how I came by it.
I had procured some tools at Vaucouleurs;
A crowd was gathered in the market-place,
For fugitives were just arrived in haste
From Orleans, bringing most disastrous news.
In tumult all the town together flocked,
And as I forced a passage through the crowds,
A brown Bohemian woman, with this helm,
Approached me, eyed me narrowly, and said:
"Fellow, you seek a helm; I know it well.
Take this one! For a trifle it is yours."
"Go with it to the soldiers," I replied,
"I am a husbandman, and want no helm."
She would not cease, however, and went on:
"None knoweth if he may not want a helm.
A roof of metal for the Head just now
Is of more value than a house of stone."
Thus she pursued me closely through the streets,
Still offering the helm, which I refused.
I marked it well, and saw that it was bright,
And fair and worthy of a knightly head;
And when in doubt I weighed it in my hand,
The strangeness of the incident revolving,
The woman disappeared, for suddenly
The rushing crowd had carried her away.
And I was left the helmet in my hand.

JOHANNA (attempting eagerly to seize it).
Give me the helmet!

BERTRAND.
        Why, what boots it you?
It is not suited to a maiden's head.

JOHANNA (seizing it from him).
Mine is the helmet--it belongs to me!

THIBAUT.
What whim is this?

RAIMOND.
        Nay, let her have her way!
This warlike ornament becomes her well,
For in her bosom beats a manly heart.
Remember how she once subdued the wolf,
The savage monster which destroyed our herds,
And filled the neighb'ring shepherds with dismay.
She all alone--the lion-hearted maid
Fought with the wolf, and from him snatched the lamb
Which he was bearing in his bloody jaws.
How brave soe'er the head this helm adorned,
It cannot grace a worthier one than hers!

THIBAUT (to BERTRAND).
Relate what new disasters have occurred.
What tidings brought the fugitives?

BERTRAND.
                May God
Have pity on our land, and save the king!
In two great battles we have lost the day;
Our foes are stationed in the heart of France,
Far as the river Loire our lands are theirs--
Now their whole force they have combined, and lay
Close siege to Orleans.

THIBAUT.
                God protect the king!

BERTRAND.
Artillery is brought from every side,
And as the dusky squadrons of the bees
Swarm round the hive upon a summer day,
As clouds of locusts from the sultry air
Descend and shroud the country round for miles,
So doth the cloud of war, o'er Orleans' fields,
Pour forth its many-nationed multitudes,
Whose varied speech, in wild confusion blent,
With strange and hollow murmurs fill the air.
For Burgundy, the mighty potentate,
Conducts his motley host; the Hennegarians,
The men of Liege and of Luxemburg,
The people of Namur, and those who dwell
In fair Brabant; the wealthy men of Ghent,
Who boast their velvets, and their costly silks;
The Zealanders, whose cleanly towns appear
Emerging from the ocean; Hollanders
Who milk the lowing herds; men from Utrecht,
And even from West Friesland's distant realm,
Who look towards the ice-pole--all combine,
Beneath the banner of the powerful duke,
Together to accomplish Orleans' fall.

THIBAUT.
Oh, the unblest, the lamentable strife,
Which turns the arms of France against itself!

BERTRAND.
E'en she, the mother-queen, proud Isabel
Bavaria's haughty princess--may be seen,
Arrayed in armor, riding through the camp;
With poisonous words of irony she fires
The hostile troops to fury 'gainst her son,
Whom she hath clasped to her maternal breast.

THIBAUT.
A curse upon her, and may God prepare
For her a death like haughty Jezebel's!

BERTRAND.
The fearful Salisbury conducts the siege,
The town-destroyer; with him Lionel,
The brother of the lion; Talbot, too,
Who, with his murd'rous weapon, moweth down
The people in the battle: they have sworn,
With ruthless insolence to doom to shame
The hapless maidens, and to sacrifice
All who the sword have wielded, with the sword.
Four lofty watch-towers, to o'ertop the town,
They have upreared; Earl Salisbury from on high
Casteth abroad his cruel, murd'rous glance,
And marks the rapid wanderers in the streets.
Thousands of cannon-balls, of pond'rous weight,
Are hurled into the city. Churches lie
In ruined heaps, and Notre Dame's royal tower
Begins at length to bow its lofty head.
They also have formed powder-vaults below,
And thus, above a subterranean hell,
The timid city every hour expects,
'Midst crashing thunder, to break forth in flames.

        [JOHANNA listens with close attention, and places
        the helmet on her head.]

THIBAUT.
But where were then our heroes? Where the swords
Of Saintrailles, and La Hire, and brave Dunois,
Of France the bulwark, that the haughty foe
With such impetuous force thus onward rushed?
Where is the king? Can he supinely see
His kingdom's peril and his cities' fall?

BERTRAND.
The king at Chinon holds his court; he lacks
Soldiers to keep the field. Of what avail
The leader's courage, and the hero's arm,
When pallid fear doth paralyze the host?
A sudden panic, as if sent from God,
Unnerves the courage of the bravest men.
In vain the summons of the king resounds
As when the howling of the wolf is heard,
The sheep in terror gather side by side,
So Frenchmen, careless of their ancient fame,
Seek only now the shelter of the towns.
One knight alone, I have been told, has brought
A feeble company, and joins the king
With sixteen banners.

JOHANNA (quickly).
                What's the hero's name?

BERTRAND.
'Tis Baudricour. But much I fear the knight
Will not be able to elude the foe,
Who track him closely with too numerous hosts.

JOHANNA.
Where halts the knight? Pray tell me, if you know.

BERTRAND.
About a one day's march from Vaucouleurs.

THIBAUT (to JOHANNA).
Why, what is that to thee? Thou dost inquire
Concerning matters which become thee not.

BERTRAND.
The foe being now so strong, and from the king
No safety to be hoped, at Vaucouleurs
They have with unanimity resolved
To yield them to the Duke of Burgundy.
Thus we avoid the foreign yoke, and still
Continue by our ancient royal line;
Ay, to the ancient crown we may fall back
Should France and Burgundy be reconciled.

JOHANNA (as if inspired).
Speak not of treaty! Speak not of surrender!
The savior comes, he arms him for the fight.
The fortunes of the foe before the walls
Of Orleans shall be wrecked! His hour is come,
He now is ready for the reaper's hand,
And with her sickle will the maid appear,
And mow to earth the harvest of his pride.
She from the heavens will tear his glory down,
Which he had hung aloft among the stars;
Despair not! Fly not! for ere yonder corn
Assumes its golden hue, or ere the moon
Displays her perfect orb, no English horse
Shall drink the rolling waters of the Loire.

BERTRAND.
Alas! no miracle will happen now!

JOHANNA.
Yes, there shall yet be one--a snow-white dove
Shall fly, and with the eagle's boldness, tear
The birds of prey which rend her fatherland.
She shall o'erthrow this haughty Burgundy,
Betrayer of the kingdom; Talbot, too,
The hundred-handed, heaven-defying scourge;
This Salisbury, who violates our fanes,
And all these island robbers shall she drive
Before her like a flock of timid lambs.
The Lord will be with her, the God of battle;
A weak and trembling creature he will choose,
And through a tender maid proclaim his power,
For he is the Almighty!

THIBAULT.
                What strange power
Hath seized the maiden?

RAIMOND.
Doubtless 'tis the helmet
Which doth inspire her with such martial thoughts.
Look at your daughter. Mark her flashing eye,
Her glowing cheek, which kindles as with fire.

JOHANNA.
This realm shall fall! This ancient land of fame,
The fairest that, in his majestic course,
The eternal sun surveys--this paradise,
Which, as the apple of his eye, God loves--
Endure the fetters of a foreign yoke?
Here were the heathen scattered, and the cross
And holy image first were planted here;
Here rest St. Louis' ashes, and from hence
The troops went forth who set Jerusalem free.

BERTRAND (in astonishment).
Hark how she speaks! Why, whence can she obtain
This glorious revelation? Father Arc!
A wondrous daughter God hath given you!

JOHANNA.
We shall no longer serve a native prince!
The king, who never dies, shall pass away--
The guardian of the sacred plough, who fills
The earth with plenty, who protects our herds,
Who frees the bondmen from captivity,
Who gathers all his cities round his throne--
Who aids the helpless, and appals the base,
Who envies no one, for he reigns supreme;
Who is a mortal, yet an angel too,
Dispensing mercy on the hostile earth.
For the king's throne, which glitters o'er with gold,
Affords a shelter for the destitute;
Power and compassion meet together there,
The guilty tremble, but the just draw near,
And with the guardian lion fearless sport!
The stranger king, who cometh from afar,
Whose fathers' sacred ashes do not lie
Interred among us; can he love our land?
Who was not young among our youth, whose heart
Respondeth not to our familiar words,
Can he be as a father to our sons?

THIBAUT.
God save the king and France! We're peaceful folk,
Who neither wield the sword, nor rein the steed.
--Let us await the king whom victory crowns;
The fate of battle is the voice of God.
He is our lord who crowns himself at Rheims,
And on his head receives the holy oil.
--Come, now to work! come! and let every one
Think only of the duty of the hour!
Let the earth's great ones for the earth contend,
Untroubled we may view the desolation,
For steadfast stand the acres which we till.
The flames consume our villages, our corn
Is trampled 'neath the tread of warlike steeds;
With the new spring new harvests reappear,
And our light huts are quickly reared again!

        [They all retire except the maiden.]

SCENE IV.

JOHANNA (alone).

Farewell ye mountains, ye beloved glades,
Ye lone and peaceful valleys, fare ye well!
Through you Johanna never more may stray!
For, ay, Johanna bids you now farewell.
Ye meads which I have watered, and ye trees
Which I have planted, still in beauty bloom!
Farewell ye grottos, and ye crystal springs!
Sweet echo, vocal spirit of the vale.
Who sang'st responsive to my simple strain,
Johanna goes, and ne'er returns again.

Ye scenes where all my tranquil joys
I knew, Forever now I leave you far behind!
Poor foldless lambs, no shepherd now have you!
O'er the wide heath stray henceforth unconfined!
For I to danger's field, of crimson hue,
Am summoned hence another flock to find.
Such is to me the spirit's high behest;
No earthly, vain ambition fires my breast.

For who in glory did on Horeb's height
Descend to Moses in the bush of flame,
And bade him go and stand in Pharaoh's sight--
Who once to Israel's pious shepherd came,
And sent him forth, his champion in the fight,--
Who aye hath loved the lowly shepherd train,--
He, from these leafy boughs, thus spake to me,
"Go forth! Thou shalt on earth my witness be.

"Thou in rude armor must thy limbs invest,
A plate of steel upon thy bosom wear;
Vain earthly love may never stir thy breast,
Nor passion's sinful glow be kindled there.
Ne'er with the bride-wreath shall thy locks be dressed,
Nor on thy bosom bloom an infant fair;
But war's triumphant glory shall be thine;
Thy martial fame all women's shall outshine.

"For when in fight the stoutest hearts despair,
When direful ruin threatens France, forlorn,
Then thou aloft my oriflamme shalt bear,
And swiftly as the reaper mows the corn,
Thou shalt lay low the haughty conqueror;
His fortune's wheel thou rapidly shalt turn,
To Gaul's heroic sons deliverance bring,
Relieve beleaguered Rheims, and crown thy king!"

The heavenly spirit promised me a sign;
He sends the helmet, it hath come from him.
Its iron filleth me with strength divine,
I feel the courage of the cherubim;
As with the rushing of a mighty wind
It drives me forth to join the battles din;
The clanging trumpets sound, the chargers rear,
And the loud war-cry thunders in mine ear.

        [She goes out.]

ACT I.
SCENE I.

        The royal residence at Chinon.
        DUNOIS and DUCHATEL.

DUNOIS.
No longer I'll endure it. I renounce
This recreant monarch who forsakes himself.
My valiant heart doth bleed, and I could rain
Hot tear-drops from mine eyes, that robber-swords
Partition thus the royal realm of France;
That cities, ancient as the monarchy,
Deliver to the foe the rusty keys,
While here in idle and inglorious ease
We lose the precious season of redemption.
Tidings of Orleans' peril reach mine ear,
Hither I sped from distant Normandy,
Thinking, arrayed in panoply of war,
To find the monarch with his marshalled hosts;
And find him--here! begirt with troubadours,
And juggling knaves, engaged in solving riddles,
And planning festivals in Sorel's honor,
As brooded o'er the land profoundest peace!
The Constable hath gone; he will not brook
Longer the spectacle of shame. I, too,
Depart, and leave him to his evil fate.

DUCHATEL.
Here comes the king.

SCENE II.

        KING CHARLES. The same.
CHARLES.
The Constable hath sent us back his sword
And doth renounce our service. Now, by heaven!
He thus hath rid us of a churlish man,
Who insolently sought to lord it o'er us.

DUNOIS.
A man is precious in such perilous times;
I would not deal thus lightly with his loss.

CHARLES.
Thou speakest thus from love of opposition;
While he was here thou never wert his friend.

DUNOIS.
He was a tiresome, proud, vexatious fool,
Who never could resolve. For once, however,
He hath resolved. Betimes he goeth hence,
Where honor can no longer be achieved.

CHARLES.
Thou'rt in a pleasant humor; undisturbed
I'll leave thee to enjoy it. Hark, Duchatel!
Ambassadors are here from old King Rene,
Of tuneful songs the master, far renowned.
Let them as honored guests be entertained,
And unto each present a chain of gold.
[To the Bastard.]
Why smilest thou, Dunois?

DUNOIS.
                That from thy mouth
Thou shakest golden chains.

DUCHATEL.
                Alas! my king!
No gold existeth in thy treasury.

CHARLES.
Then gold must be procured. It must not be
That bards unhonored from our court depart.
'Tis they who make our barren sceptre bloom,
'Tis they who wreath around our fruitless crown
Life's joyous branch of never-fading green.
Reigning, they justly rank themselves as kings,
Of gentle wishes they erect their throne,
Their harmless realm existeth not in space;
Hence should the bard accompany the king,
Life's higher sphere the heritage of both!

DUCHATEL.
My royal liege! I sought to spare thine ear
So long as aid and counsel could be found;
Now dire necessity doth loose my tongue.
Naught hast thou now in presents to bestow,
Thou hast not wherewithal to live to-morrow!
The spring-tide of thy fortune is run out,
And lowest ebb is in thy treasury!
The soldiers, disappointed of their pay,
With sullen murmurs, threaten to retire.
My counsel faileth, not with royal splendor
But meagerly, to furnish out thy household.

CHARLES.
My royal customs pledge, and borrow gold
From the Lombardians.

DUCHATEL.
Sire, thy revenues,
Thy royal customs are for three years pledged.

DUNOIS.
And pledge meanwhile and kingdom both are lost.

CHARLES.
Still many rich and beauteous lands are ours.

DUNOIS.
So long as God and Talbot's sword permit!
When Orleans falleth into English hands
Then with King Rene thou may'st tend thy sheep!

CHARLES.
Still at this king thou lov'st to point thy jest;
Yet 'tis this lackland monarch who to-day
Hath with a princely crown invested me.

DUNOIS.
Not, in the name of heaven, with that of Naples,
Which is for sale, I hear, since he kept sheep.

CHARLES.
It is a sportive festival, a jest,
Wherein he giveth to his fancy play,
To found a world all innocent and pure
In this barbaric, rude reality.
Yet noble--ay, right royal is his aim!
He will again restore the golden age,
When gentle manners reigned, when faithful love
The heroic hearts of valiant knights inspired,
And noble women, whose accomplished taste
Diffuseth grace around, in judgment sat.
The old man dwelleth in those bygone times,
And in our workday world would realize
The dreams of ancient bards, who picture life
'Mid bowers celestial, throned on golden clouds.
He hath established hence a court of love
Where valiant knights may dwell, and homage yield
To noble women, who are there enthroned,
And where pure love and true may find a home.
Me he hath chosen as the prince of love.

DUNOIS.
I am not such a base, degenerate churl
As love's dominion rudely to assail.
I am her son, from her derive my name,
And in her kingdom lies my heritage.
The Prince of Orleans was my sire, and while
No woman's heart was proof against his love,
No hostile fortress could withstand his shock!
Wilt thou, indeed, with honor name thyself
The prince of love--be bravest of the brave!
As I have read in those old chronicles,
Love aye went coupled with heroic deeds,
And valiant heroes, not inglorious shepherds,
So legends tell us, graced King Arthur's board.
The man whose valor is not beauty's shield
Is all unworthy of her golden prize.
Here the arena! combat for the crown,
Thy royal heritage! With knightly sword
Thy lady's honor and thy realm defend--
And hast thou with hot valor snatched the crown
From streams of hostile blood,--then is the time,
And it would well become thee as a prince,
Love's myrtle chaplet round thy brows to wreathe.

CHARLES (to a PAGE, who enters).
What is the matter?

PAGE.
                Senators from Orleans
Entreat an audience, sire.

CHARLES.
                Conduct them hither!
        [PAGE retires.]
Doubtless they succor need; what can I do,
Myself all-succorless!

SCENE III.

        The same. Three SENATORS.

CHARLES.
Welcome, my trusty citizens of Orleans!
What tidings bring ye from my faithful town?
Doth she continue with her wonted zeal
Still bravely to withstand the leaguering foe?

SENATOR.
Ah, sire! the city's peril is extreme;
And giant ruin, waxing hour by hour,
Still onward strides. The bulwarks are destroyed--
The foe at each assault advantage gains;
Bare of defenders are the city walls,
For with rash valor forth our soldiers rush,
While few, alas! return to view their homes,
And famine's scourge impendeth o'er the town.
In this extremity the noble Count
Of Rochepierre, commander of the town,
Hath made a compact with the enemy,
According to old custom, to yield up,
On the twelfth day, the city to the foe,
Unless, meanwhile, before the town appear
A host of magnitude to raise the siege.

        [DUNOIS manifests the strongest indignation.]

CHARLES.
The interval is brief.

SENATOR.
                We hither come,
Attended by a hostile retinue,
To implore thee, sire, to pity thy poor town,
And to send succor ere the appointed day,
When, if still unrelieved, she must surrender
.
DUNOIS.
And could Saintrailles consent to give his voice
To such a shameful compact?

SENATOR.
                Never, sir!
Long as the hero lived, none dared to breathe
A single word of treaty or surrender.

DUNOIS.
He then is dead?

SENATOR.
                The noble hero fell,
His monarch's cause defending on our walls.

CHARLES.
What! Saintrailles dead! Oh, in that single man
A host is foundered!

        [A Knight enters and speaks apart with DUNOIS,
        who starts with surprise.]

DUNOIS.
                That too!

CHARLES.
                Well? What is it?

DUNOIS.
Count Douglass sendeth here. The Scottish troops
Revolt, and threaten to retire at once.
Unless their full arrears are paid to-day.

CHARLES.
Duchatel!

DUCHATEL (shrugs his shoulders).
        Sire! I know not what to counsel.

CHARLES.
Pledge, promise all, even unto half my realm.

DUCHATEL.
'Tis vain! They have been fed with hope too often.

CHARLES.
They are the finest troops of all my hosts!
They must not now, not now abandon me!

SENATOR (throwing himself at the KING'S feet).
Oh, king, assist us! Think of our distress!

CHARLES (in despair).
How! Can I summon armies from the earth?
Or grow a cornfield on my open palm?
Rend me in pieces! Pluck my bleeding heart
Forth from my breast, and coin it 'stead of gold!
I've blood for you, but neither gold nor troops.

        [He sees SOREL approach, and hastens towards her
        with outstretched arms.]

SCENE IV.

        The same. AGNES SOREL, a casket in her hand.

CHARLES.
My Agnes! Oh, my love! My dearest life!
Thou comest here to snatch me from despair!
Refuge I take within thy loving arms!
Possessing thee I feel that nothing is lost.

SOREL.
My king, beloved!
        [looking round with an anxious, inquiring gaze.]
                Dunois! Say, is it true,
Duchatel?

DUCHATEL.
                'Tis, alas!

SOREL.
                So great the need?
No treasure left? The soldiers will disband?

DUCHATEL.
Alas! It is too true!

SOREL (giving him the casket).
                Here-here is gold,
Here too are jewels! Melt my silver down!
Sell, pledge my castles--on my fair domains
In Provence--treasure raise, turn all to gold,
Appease the troops! No time to be lost!

                [She urges him to depart.

CHARLES.
Well now, Dunois! Duchatel! Do ye still
Account me poor, when I possess the crown
Of womankind? She's nobly born as I;
The royal blood of Valois not more pure;
The most exalted throne she would adorn--
Yet she rejects it with disdain, and claims
No other title than to be my love.
No gift more costly will she e'er receive
Than early flower in winter, or rare fruit!
No sacrifice on my part she permits,
Yet sacrificeth all she had to me!
With generous spirit she doth venture all
Her wealth and fortune in my sinking bark.

DUNOIS.
Ay, she is mad indeed, my king, as thou;
She throws her all into a burning house,
And draweth water in the leaky vessel
Of the Danaides. Thee she will not save,
And in thy ruin but involve herself.

SOREL.
Believe him not! Full many a time he hath
Perilled his life for thee, and now, forsooth,
Chafeth because I risk my worthless gold!
How? Have I freely sacrificed to thee
What is esteemed far more than gold and pearls,
And shall I now hold back the gifts of fortune?
Oh, come! Let my example challenge thee
To noble self-denial! Let's at once
Cast off the needless ornaments of life!
Thy courtiers metamorphose into soldiers;
Thy gold transmute to iron; all thou hast,
With resolute daring, venture for thy crown!
Peril and want we will participate!
Let us bestride the war-horse, and expose
Our tender person to the fiery glow
Of the hot sun, take for our canopy
The clouds above, and make the stones our pillow.
The rudest warrior, when he sees his king
Bear hardship and privation like the meanest
Will patiently endure his own hard lot!

CHARLES (laughing).
Ay! now is realized an ancient word
Of prophesy, once uttered by a nun
Of Clairmont, in prophetic mood, who said,
That through a woman's aid I o'er my foes
Should triumph, and achieve my father's crown.
Far off I sought her in the English camp;
I strove to reconcile a mother's heart;
Here stands the heroine--my guide to Rheims!
My Agnes! I shall triumph through thy love!

SOREL.
Thou'lt triumph through the valiant swords of friends.

CHARLES.
And from my foes' dissensions much I hope
For sure intelligence hath reached mine ear,
That 'twixt these English lords and Burgundy
Things do not stand precisely as they did;
Hence to the duke I have despatched La Hire,
To try if he can lead my angry vassal
Back to his ancient loyalty and faith:
Each moment now I look for his return.

DUCHATEL (at the window).
A knight e'en now dismounteth in the court.

CHARLES.
A welcome messenger! We soon shall learn
Whether we're doomed to conquer or to yield.

SCENE V.

        The same. LA HIRE.

CHARLES (meeting him).
Hope bringest thou, or not? Be brief, La Hire,
Out with thy tidings! What must we expect?

LA HIRE.
Expect naught, sire, save from thine own good sword.

CHARLES.
The haughty duke will not be reconciled!
Speak! How did he receive my embassy?

LA HIRE.
His first and unconditional demand,
Ere he consent to listen to thine errand,
Is that Duchatel be delivered up,
Whom he doth name the murderer of his sire.

CHARLES.
This base condition we reject with scorn!

LA HIRE.
Then be the league dissolved ere it commence!

CHARLES.
Hast thou thereon, as I commanded thee,
Challenged the duke to meet him in fair fight
On Montereau's bridge, whereon his father fell?

LA HIRE.
Before him on the ground I flung thy glove,
And said: "Thou wouldst forget thy majesty,
And like a knight do battle for thy realm."
He scornfully rejoined "He needed not
To fight for that which he possessed already,
But if thou wert so eager for the fray,
Before the walls of Orleans thou wouldst find him,
Whither he purposed going on the morrow;"
Thereon he laughing turned his back upon me.

CHARLES.
Say, did not justice raise her sacred voice,
Within the precincts of my parliament?

LA HIRE.
The rage of party, sire, hath silenced her.
An edict of the parliament declares
Thee and thy race excluded from the throne.

DUNOIS.
These upstart burghers' haughty insolence!

CHARLES.
Hast thou attempted with my mother aught?

LA HIRE.
With her?

CHARLES.
                Ay! How did she demean herself?

LA HIRE (after a few moments' reflection).
I chanced to step within St. Denis' walls
Precisely at the royal coronation.
The crowds were dressed as for a festival;
Triumphal arches rose in every street
Through which the English monarch was to pass.
The way was strewed with flowers, and with huzzas,
As France some brilliant conquest had achieved,
The people thronged around the royal car.

SOREL.
They could huzza--huzza, while trampling thus
Upon a gracious sovereign's loving heart!

LA HIRE.
I saw young Harry Lancaster--the boy--
On good St. Lewis' regal chair enthroned;
On either side his haughty uncles stood,
Bedford and Gloucester, and before him kneeled,
To render homage for his lands, Duke Philip.

CHARLES.
Oh, peer dishonored! Oh, unworthy cousin!

LA HIRE.
The child was timid, and his footing lost
As up the steps he mounted towards the throne.
An evil omen! murmured forth the crowd,
And scornful laughter burst on every side.
Then forward stepped Queen Isabel--thy mother,
And--but it angers me to utter it!

CHARLES.
                Say on.

LA HIRE.
Within her arms she clasped the boy,
And herself placed him on thy father's throne.

CHARLES.
Oh, mother! mother!

LA HIRE.
E'en the murderous bands
Of the Burgundians, at this spectacle,
Evinced some tokens of indignant shame.
The queen perceived it, and addressed the crowds,
Exclaiming with loud voice: "Be grateful, Frenchmen,
That I engraft upon a sickly stock
A healthy scion, and redeem you from
The misbegotten son of a mad sire!"

        [The KING hides his face; AGNES hastens towards him
        and clasps him in her arms; all the bystanders express
        aversion and horror.

DUNOIS.
She-wolf of France! Rage-breathing Megara!

CHARLES (after a pause, to the SENATORS).
Yourselves have heard the posture of affairs.
Delay no longer, back return to Orleans,
And bear this message to my faithful town;
I do absolve my subjects from their oath,
Their own best interests let them now consult,
And yield them to the Duke of Burgundy;
'Yclept the Good, he need must prove humane.

DUNOIS.
What say'st thou, sire? Thou wilt abandon Orleans!

SENATOR (kneels down).
My king! Abandon not thy faithful town!
Consign her not to England's harsh control.
She is a precious jewel in the crown,
And none hath more inviolate faith maintained
Towards the kings, thy royal ancestors.

DUNOIS.
Have we been routed? Is it lawful, sire,
To leave the English masters of the field,
Without a single stroke to save the town?
And thinkest thou, with careless breath, forsooth,
Ere blood hath flowed, rashly to give away
The fairest city from the heart of France?

CHARLES.
Blood hath been poured forth freely, and in vain
The hand of heaven is visibly against me;
In every battle is my host o'erthrown,
I am rejected of my parliament,
My capital, my people, hail me foe,
Those of my blood,--my nearest relatives,--
Forsake me and betray--and my own mother
Doth nurture at her breast the hostile brood.
Beyond the Loire we will retire, and yield
To the o'ermastering hand of destiny
Which sideth with the English.

SOREL.
                God forbid
That we in weak despair should quit this realm!
This utterance came not from thy heart, my king,
Thy noble heart, which hath been sorely riven
By the fell deed of thy unnatural mother,
Thou'lt be thyself again, right valiantly
Thou'lt battle with thine adverse destiny,
Which doth oppose thee with relentless ire.

CHARLES (lost in gloomy thought).
Is it not true? A dark and ominous doom
Impendeth o'er the heaven-abandoned house
Of Valois--there preside the avenging powers,
To whom a mother's crime unbarred the way.
For thirty years my sire in madness raved;
Already have three elder brothers been
Mowed down by death; 'tis the decree of heaven,
The house of the Sixth Charles is doomed to fall.

SOREL.
In thee 'twill rise with renovated life!
Oh, in thyself have faith!--believe me, king,
Not vainly hath a gracious destiny
Redeemed thee from the ruin of thy house,
And by thy brethren's death exalted thee,
The youngest born, to an unlooked-for throne
Heaven in thy gentle spirit hath prepared
The leech to remedy the thousand ills
By party rage inflicted on the land.
The flames of civil discord thou wilt quench,
And my heart tells me thou'lt establish peace,
And found anew the monarchy of France.

CHARLES.
Not I! The rude and storm-vexed times require
A pilot formed by nature to command.
A peaceful nation I could render happy
A wild, rebellious people not subdue.
I never with the sword could open hearts
Against me closed in hatred's cold reserve.

SOREL.
The people's eye is dimmed, an error blinds them,
But this delusion will not long endure;
The day is not far distant when the love
Deep rooted in the bosom of the French,
Towards their native monarch, will revive,
Together with the ancient jealousy,
Which forms a barrier 'twixt the hostile nations.
The haughty foe precipitates his doom.
Hence, with rash haste abandon not the field,
With dauntless front contest each foot of ground,
As thine own heart defend the town of Orleans!
Let every boat be sunk beneath the wave,
Each bridge be burned, sooner than carry thee
Across the Loire, the boundary of thy realm,
The Stygian flood, o'er which there's no return.

CHARLES.
What could be done I have done. I have offered,
In single fight, to combat for the crown.
I was refused. In vain my people bleed,
In vain my towns are levelled with the dust.
Shall I, like that unnatural mother, see
My child in pieces severed with the sword?
No; I forego my claim, that it may live.

DUNOIS.
How, sire! Is this fit language for a king?
Is a crown thus renounced? Thy meanest subject,
For his opinion's sake, his hate and love,
Sets property and life upon a cast;
When civil war hangs out her bloody flag,
Each private end is drowned in party zeal.
The husbandman forsakes his plough, the wife
Neglects her distaff; children, and old men,
Don the rude garb of war; the citizen
Consigns his town to the devouring flames,
The peasant burns the produce of his fields;
And all to injure or advantage thee,
And to achieve the purpose of his heart.
Men show no mercy, and they wish for none,
When they at honor's call maintain the fight,
Or for their idols or their gods contend.
A truce to such effeminate pity, then,
Which is not suited to a monarch's breast.
Thou didst not heedlessly provoke the war;
As it commenced, so let it spend its fury.
It is the law of destiny that nations
Should for their monarchs immolate themselves.
We Frenchmen recognize this sacred law,
Nor would annul it. Base, indeed, the nation
That for its honor ventures not its all.

CHARLES (to the SENATORS).
You've heard my last resolve; expect no other.
May God protect you! I can do no more.

DUNOIS.
As thou dost turn thy back upon thy realm,
So may the God of battle aye avert
His visage from thee. Thou forsak'st thyself,
So I forsake thee. Not the power combined
Of England and rebellious Burgundy,
Thy own mean spirit hurls thee from the throne.
Born heroes ever were the kings of France;
Thou wert a craven, even from thy birth.
        [To the SENATORS.]
The king abandons you. But I will throw
Myself into your town--my father's town--
And 'neath its ruins find a soldier's grave.

        [He is about to depart. AGNES SOREL detains him.]

SOREL (to the KING).
Oh, let him not depart in anger from thee!
Harsh words his lips have uttered, but his heart
Is true as gold. 'Tis he, himself, my king,
Who loves thee, and hath often bled for thee.
Dunois, confess, the heat of noble wrath
Made thee forget thyself; and oh, do thou
Forgive a faithful friend's o'erhasty speech!
Come, let me quickly reconcile your hearts,
Ere anger bursteth forth in quenchless flame.

        [DUNOIS looks fixedly at the KING, and appears to await an answer.]

CHARLES.
Our way lies over the Loire. Duchatel,
See all our equipage embarked.

DUNOIS (quickly to SOREL).
                Farewell.

        [He turns quickly round, and goes out. The SENATORS follow.]

SOREL (wringing her hands in despair).
Oh, if he goes, we are forsaken quite!
Follow, La Hire! Oh, seek to soften him!

        [LA HIRE goes out.]

SCENE VI.

        CHARLES, SOREL, DUCHATEL.

CHARLES.
Is, then, the sceptre such a peerless treasure?
Is it so hard to loose it from our grasp?
Believe me, 'tis more galling to endure
The domineering rule of these proud vassals.
To be dependent on their will and pleasure
Is, to a noble heart, more bitter far
Than to submit to fate.
        [To DUCHATEL, who still lingers.
                Duchatel, go,
And do what I commanded.

DUCHATEL (throws himself at the KING'S feet).
                Oh, my king!

CHARLES.
No more! Thou'st heard my absolute resolve!

DUCHATEL.
Sire, with the Duke of Burgundy make peace!
'Tis the sole outlet from destruction left!

CHARLES.
Thou giv'st this counsel, and thy blood alone
Can ratify this peace.

DUCHATEL.
                Here is my head.
I oft have risked it for thee in the fight,
And with a joyful spirit I, for thee,
Would lay it down upon the block of death.
Conciliate the duke! Deliver me
To the full measure of his wrath, and let
My flowing blood appease the ancient hate.

CHARLES (looks at him for some time in silence, and with deep emotion).
Can it be true? Am I, then, sunk so low,
That even friends, who read my inmost heart,
Point out for my escape the path of shame?
Yes, now I recognize my abject fall.
My honor is no more confided in.

DUCHATEL.
Reflect----

CHARLES.
                Be silent, and incense me not!
Had I ten realms, on which to turn my back,
With my friend's life I would not purchase them.
Do what I have commanded. Hence, and see
My equipage embarked.

DUCHATEL.
                'Twill speedily
Be done.

        [He stands up and retires. AGNES SOREL weeps passionately.]

SCENE VII.

        The royal palace at Chinon.
        CHARLES, AGNES SOREL.

CHARLES (seizing the hand of AGNES).
                My Agnes, be not sorrowful!
Beyond the Loire we still shall find a France;
We are departing to a happier land,
Where laughs a milder, an unclouded sky,
And gales more genial blow; we there shall meet
More gentle manners; song abideth there,
And love and life in richer beauty bloom.

SOREL.
Oh, must I contemplate this day of woe!
The king must roam in banishment! the son
Depart, an exile from his father's house,
And turn his back upon his childhood's home!
Oh, pleasant, happy land that we forsake,
Ne'er shall we tread thee joyously again.

SCENE VIII.

        LA HIRE returns, CHARLES, SOREL.

SOREL.
You come alone? You do not bring him back?
        [Observing him more closely.]
La Hire! What news? What does that look announce?
Some new calamity?

LA HIRE.
                Calamity
Hath spent itself; sunshine is now returned.

SOREL.
What is it? I implore you.

LA HIRE (to the KING).
                Summon back
The delegates from Orleans.

CHARLES.
                Why? What is it?

LA HIRE.
Summon them back! Thy fortune is reversed.
A battle has been fought, and thou hast conquered.

SOREL.
Conquered! Oh, heavenly music of that word!

CHARLES.
La Hire! A fabulous report deceives thee;
Conquered! In conquest I believe no more.

LA HIRE.
Still greater wonders thou wilt soon believe.
Here cometh the archbishop. To thine arms
He leadeth back Dunois.

SOREL.
                O beauteous flower
Of victory, which doth the heavenly fruits
Of peace and reconcilement bear at once!

SCENE IX.

        The same, ARCHBISHOP of RHEIMS, DUNOIS, DUCHATEL,
        with RAOUL, a Knight in armor.

ARCHBISHOP (leading DUNOIS to the KING, and joining their hands).
Princes, embrace! Let rage and discord cease,
Since Heaven itself hath for our cause declared.

        [DUNOIS embraces the KING.]

CHARLES.
Relieve my wonder and perplexity.
What may this solemn earnestness portend?
Whence this unlooked-for change of fortune?

ARCHBISHOP (leads the KNIGHT forward, and presents him to the KING).
Speak!

RAOUL.
We had assembled sixteen regiments
Of Lotharingian troops to join your host;
And Baudricourt, a knight of Vaucouleurs,
Was our commander. Having gained the heights
By Vermanton, we wound our downward way
Into the valley watered by the Yonne.
There, in the plain before us, lay the foe,
And when we turned, arms glittered in our rear.
We saw ourselves surrounded by two hosts,
And could not hope for conquest or for flight.
Then sank the bravest heart, and in despair
We all prepared to lay our weapons down.
The leaders with each other anxiously
Sought counsel and found none; when to our eyes
A spectacle of wonder showed itself.
For suddenly from forth the thickets' depths
A maiden, on her head a polished helm,
Like a war-goddess, issued; terrible
Yet lovely was her aspect, and her hair
In dusky ringlets round her shoulders fell.
A heavenly radiance shone around the height;
When she upraised her voice and thus addressed us:
"Why be dismayed, brave Frenchmen? On the foe!
Were they more numerous than the ocean sands,
God and the holy maiden lead you on!"
Then quickly from the standard-bearer's hand
She snatched the banner, and before our troop
With valiant bearing strode the wondrous maid.
Silent with awe, scarce knowing what we did,
The banner and the maiden we pursue,
And fired with ardor, rush upon the foe,
Who, much amazed, stand motionless and view
The miracle with fixed and wondering gaze.
Then, as if seized by terror sent from God,
They suddenly betake themselves to flight,
And casting arms and armor to the ground,
Disperse in wild disorder o'er the field.
No leader's call, no signal now avails;
Senseless from terror, without looking back,
Horses and men plunge headlong in the stream,
Where they without resistance are despatched.
It was a slaughter rather than a fight!
Two thousand of the foe bestrewed the field,
Not reckoning numbers swallowed by the flood,
While of our company not one was slain.

CHARLES.
'Tis strange, by heaven! most wonderful and strange!

SOREL.
A maiden worked this miracle, you say?
Whence did she come? Who is she?

RAOUL.
                Who she is
She will reveal to no one but the king!
She calls herself a seer and prophetess
Ordained by God, and promises to raise
The siege of Orleans ere the moon shall change.
The people credit her, and thirst for war.
The host she follows--she'll be here anon.

        [The ringing of bells is heard, together with the clang of arms.]

Hark to the din! The pealing of the bells!
'Tis she! The people greet God's messenger.

CHARLES (to DUCHATEL).
Conduct her thither.
        [To the ARCHBISHOP.
                What should I believe?
A maiden brings me conquest even now,
When naught can save me but a hand divine!
This is not in the common course of things.
And dare I here believe a miracle?

MANY VOICES (behind the scene).
Hail to the maiden!--the deliverer!

CHARLES.
She comes! Dunois, now occupy my place!
We will make trial of this wondrous maid.
Is she indeed inspired and sent by God
She will be able to discern the king.

        [DUNOIS seats himself; the KING stands at his right hand,
        AGNES SOREL near him; the ARCHBISHOP and the others opposite;
        so that the intermediate space remains vacant.

SCENE X.

        The same. JOHANNA, accompanied by the councillors and many knights,
        who occupy the background of the scene; she advances with noble
        bearing, and slowly surveys the company.

DUNOIS (after a long and solemn pause).
Art thou the wondrous maiden----

JOHANNA (interrupts him, regarding him with dignity).
Bastard of Orleans, thou wilt tempt thy God!
This place abandon, which becomes thee not!
To this more mighty one the maid is sent.

        [With a firm step she approaches the KING, bows one
        knee before him, and, rising immediately, steps back.
        All present express their astonishment, DUNOIS forsakes
        his seat, which is occupied by the KING.]

CHARLES.
Maiden, thou ne'er hast seen my face before.
Whence hast thou then this knowledge?

JOHANNA.
Thee I saw
When none beside, save God in heaven, beheld thee.

        [She approaches the KING, and speaks mysteriously.]

Bethink thee, Dauphin, in the bygone night,
When all around lay buried in deep sleep,
Thou from thy couch didst rise and offer up
An earnest prayer to God. Let these retire
And I will name the subject of thy prayer.

CHARLES.
What! to Heaven confided need not be
From men concealed. Disclose to me my prayer,
And I shall doubt no more that God inspires thee.

JOHANNA.
Three prayers thou offeredst, Dauphin; listen now
Whether I name them to thee! Thou didst pray
That if there were appended to this crown
Unjust possession, or if heavy guilt,
Not yet atoned for, from thy father's times,
Occasioned this most lamentable war,
God would accept thee as a sacrifice,
Have mercy on thy people, and pour forth
Upon thy head the chalice of his wrath.

CHARLES (steps back with awe).
Who art thou, mighty one? Whence comest thou?

        [All express their astonishment.]

JOHANNA.
To God thou offeredst this second prayer:
That if it were his will and high decree
To take away the sceptre from thy race,
And from thee to withdraw whate'er thy sires,
The monarchs of this kingdom, once possessed,
He in his mercy would preserve to thee
Three priceless treasures--a contented heart,
Thy friend's affection, and thine Agnes' love.

        [The KING conceals his face: the spectators
        express their astonishment. After a pause.]

Thy third petition shall I name to thee?

CHARLES.
Enough; I credit thee! This doth surpass
Mere human knowledge: thou art sent by God!

ARCHBISHOP.
Who art thou, wonderful and holy maid?
What favored region bore thee? What blest pair,
Beloved of Heaven, may claim thee as their child?

JOHANNA.
Most reverend father, I am named Johanna,
I am a shepherd's lowly daughter, born
In Dom Remi, a village of my king.
Included in the diocese of Toul,
And from a child I kept my father's sheep
. And much and frequently I heard them tell
Of the strange islanders, who o'er the sea
Had come to make us slaves, and on us force
A foreign lord, who loveth not the people;
How the great city, Paris, they had seized,
And had usurped dominion o'er the realm.
Then earnestly God's Mother I implored
To save us from the shame of foreign chains,
And to preserve to us our lawful king.
Not distant from my native village stands
An ancient image of the Virgin blest,
To which the pious pilgrims oft repaired;
Hard by a holy oak, of blessed power,
Standeth, far-famed through wonders manifold.
Beneath the oak's broad shade I loved to sit
Tending my flock--my heart still drew me there.
And if by chance among the desert hills
A lambkin strayed, 'twas shown me in a dream,
When in the shadow of this oak I slept.
And once, when through the night beneath this tree
In pious adoration I had sat,
Resisting sleep, the Holy One appeared,
Bearing a sword and banner, otherwise
Clad like a shepherdess, and thus she spake:
"'Tis I; arise, Johanna! leave thy flock,
The Lord appoints thee to another task!
Receive this banner! Gird thee with this sword!
Therewith exterminate my people's foes;
Conduct to Rheims thy royal master's son,
And crown him with the kingly diadem!"
And I made answer: "How may I presume
To undertake such deeds, a tender maid,
Unpractised in the dreadful art of war!"
And she replied: "A maiden pure and chaste
Achieves whate'er on earth is glorious
If she to earthly love ne'er yields her heart.
Look upon me! a virgin, like thyself;
I to the Christ, the Lord divine, gave birth,
And am myself divine!" Mine eyelids then
She touched, and when I upward turned my amaze,
Heaven's wide expanse was filled with angel-boys,
Who bore white lilies in their hands, while tones
Of sweetest music floated through the air.
And thus on three successive nights appeared
The Holy One, and cried,--"Arise, Johanna!
The Lord appoints thee to another task!"
And when the third night she revealed herself,
Wrathful she seemed, and chiding spake these words:
"Obedience, woman's duty here on earth;
Severe endurance is her heavy doom;
She must be purified through discipline;
Who serveth here, is glorified above!"
While thus she spake, she let her shepherd garb
Fail from her, and as Queen of Heaven stood forth
Enshrined in radiant light, while golden clouds
Upbore her slowly to the realms of bliss.

        [All are moved; AGNES SOREL weeping, hides her face
        on the bosom of the KING.

ARCHBISHOP (after a long pause).
Before divine credentials such as these
Each doubt of earthly prudence must subside,
Her deeds attest the truth of what she speaks,
For God alone such wonders can achieve.

DUNOIS.
I credit not her wonders, but her eyes
Which beam with innocence and purity.

CHARLES.
Am I, a sinner, worthy of such favor?
Infallible, All-searching eye, thou seest
Mine inmost heart, my deep humility!

JOHANNA.
Humility shines brightly in the skies;
Thou art abased, hence God exalteth thee.

CHARLES.
Shall I indeed withstand mine enemies?

JOHANNA.
France I will lay submissive at thy feet!

CHARLES.
And Orleans, say'st thou, will not be surrendered?

JOHANNA.
The Loire shall sooner roll its waters back.

CHARLES.
Shall I in triumph enter into Rheims?

JOHANNA.
I through ten thousand foes will lead you there.

        [The knights make a noise with their lances and shields,
        and evince signs of courage.]

DUNOIS.
Appoint the maiden to command the host!
We follow blindly whereso'er she leads!
The Holy One's prophetic eye shall guide,
And this brave sword from danger shall protect her!

LA HIRE.
A universe in arms we will not fear,
If she, the mighty one, precede our troops.
The God of battle walketh by her side;
Let her conduct us on to victory!

        [The knights clang their arms and step forward.]

CHARLES.
Yes, holy maiden, do thou lead mine host;
My chiefs and warriors shall submit to thee.
This sword of matchless temper, proved in war,
Sent back in anger by the Constable,
Hath found a hand more worthy. Prophetess,
Do thou receive it, and henceforward be----

JOHANNA.
No, noble Dauphin! conquest to my liege
Is not accorded through this instrument
Of earthly might. I know another sword
Wherewith I am to conquer, which to thee,
I, as the Spirit taught, will indicate;
Let it be hither brought.

CHARLES.
                Name it, Johanna.

JOHANNA.
Send to the ancient town of Fierbois;
There in Saint Catherine's churchyard is a vault
Where lie in heaps the spoils of bygone war.
Among them is the sword which I must use.
It by three golden lilies may be known,
Upon the blade impressed. Let it be brought
For thou, my liege, shalt conquer through this sword.

CHARLES.
Perform what she commands.

JOHANNA.
And a white banner,
Edged with a purple border, let me bear.
Upon this banner let the Queen of Heaven
Be pictured with the beauteous Jesus child
Floating in glory o'er this earthly ball.
For so the Holy Mother showed it me.

CHARLES.
So be it as thou sayest.

JOHANNA (to the ARCHBISHOP).
                Reverend bishop;
Lay on my head thy consecrated hands!
Pronounce a blessing, Father, on thy child!

                [She kneels down.]

ARCHBISHOP.
Not blessings to receive, but to dispense
Art thou appointed. Go, with power divine!
But we are sinners all and most unworthy.

                [She rises: a PAGE enters.

PAGE.
A herald from the English generals.

JOHANNA.
Let him appear, for he is sent by God!

        [The KING motions to the PAGE, who retires.]

SCENE XI.

        The HERALD. The same.

CHARLES.
Thy tidings, herald? What thy message! Speak!

HERALD.
Who is it, who for Charles of Valois,
The Count of Pointhieu, in this presence speaks?

DUNOIS.
Unworthy herald! base, insulting knave!
Dost thou presume the monarch of the French
Thus in his own dominions to deny?
Thou art protected by thine office, else----

HERALD.
One king alone is recognized by France,
And he resideth in the English camp.

CHARLES.
Peace, peace, good cousin! Speak thy message, herald!

HERALD.
My noble general laments the blood
Which hath already flowed, and still must flow.
Hence, in the scabbard holding back the sword,
Before by storm the town of Orleans falls,
He offers thee an amicable treaty.

CHARLES.
Proceed!

JOHANNA (stepping forward).
                Permit me, Dauphin, in thy stead,
To parley with this herald.

CHARLES.
                Do so, maid!
Determine thou, for peace, or bloody war.

JOHANNA (to the HERALD).
Who sendeth thee? Who speaketh through thy mouth?

HERALD.
The Earl of Salisbury; the British chief.

JOHANNA.
Herald, 'tis false! The earl speaks not through thee.
Only the living speak, the dead are silent.

HERALD.
The earl is well, and full of lusty strength;
He lives to bring down ruin on your heads.

JOHANNA.
When thou didst quit the British army he lived.
This morn, while gazing from Le Tournelle's tower,
A ball from Orleans struck him to the ground.
Smilest thou that I discern what is remote?
Not to my words give credence; but believe
The witness of thine eyes! his funeral train
Thou shalt encounter as you goest hence!
Now, herald, speak, and do thine errand here.

HERALD.
If what is hidden thou canst thus reveal,
Thou knowest mine errand ere I tell it thee.

JOHANNA.
It boots me not to know it. But do thou
Give ear unto my words! This message bear
In answer to the lords who sent thee here.
Monarch of England, and ye haughty dukes,
Bedford and Gloucester, regents of this realm!
To heaven's high King you are accountable
For all the blood that hath been shed. Restore
The keys of all the cities ta'en by force
In opposition to God's holy law!
The maiden cometh from the King of Heaven
And offers you or peace or bloody war.
Choose ye! for this I say, that you may know it:
To you this beauteous realm is not assigned
By Mary's son;--but God hath given it
To Charles, my lord and Dauphin, who ere long
Will enter Paris with a monarch's pomp,
Attended by the great ones of his realm.
Now, herald, go, and speedily depart,
For ere thou canst attain the British camp
And do thine errand, is the maiden there,
To plant the sign of victory at Orleans.

        [She retires. In the midst of a general movement,
        the curtain falls.]

ACT II .

        Landscape, bounded by rocks.

SCENE I.

        TALBOT and LIONEL, English generals, PHILIP, DUKE OF BURGUNDY,
        FASTOLFE, and CHATILLON, with soldiers and banners.

TALBOT.
Here let us make a halt beneath these rocks,
And pitch our camp, in case our scattered troops,
Dispersed in panic fear, again should rally.
Choose trusty sentinels, and guard the heights!
'Tis true the darkness shields us from pursuit,
And sure I am, unless the foe have wings,
We need not fear surprisal. Still 'tis well
To practice caution, for we have to do
With a bold foe, and have sustained defeat.

        [FASTOLFE goes out with the soldiers.]

LIONEL.
Defeat! My general, do not speak that word.
It stings me to the quick to think the French
To-day have seen the backs of Englishmen.
Oh, Orleans! Orleans! Grave of England's glory!
Our honor lies upon thy fatal plains
Defeat most ignominious and burlesque!
Who will in future years believe the tale!
The victors of Poictiers and Agincourt,
Cressy's bold heroes, routed by a woman?

BURGUNDY.
That must console us. Not by mortal power,
But by the devil have we been o'erthrown!

TALBOT.
The devil of our own stupidity!
How, Burgundy? Do princes quake and fear
Before the phantom which appals the vulgar?
Credulity is but a sorry cloak
For cowardice. Your people first took flight.

BURGUNDY.
None stood their ground. The flight was general.

TALBOT.
'Tis false! Your wing fled first. You wildly broke
Into our camp, exclaiming: "Hell is loose,
The devil combats on the side of France!"
And thus you brought confusion 'mong our troops.

LIONEL.
You can't deny it. Your wing yielded first.

BURGUNDY.
Because the brunt of battle there commenced.

TALBOT.
The maiden knew the weakness of our camp;
She rightly judged where fear was to be found.

BURGUNDY.
How? Shall the blame of our disaster rest
With Burgundy?

LIONEL.
                By heaven! were we alone,
We English, never had we Orleans lost!

BURGUNDY.
No, truly! for ye ne'er had Orleans seen!
Who opened you a way into this realm,
And reached you forth a kind and friendly hand
When you descended on this hostile coast?
Who was it crowned your Henry at Paris,
And unto him subdued the people's hearts?
Had this Burgundian arm not guided you
Into this realm, by heaven you ne'er had seen
The smoke ascending from a single hearth!

LIONEL.
Were conquests with big words effected, duke,
You, doubtless, would have conquered France alone.

BURGUNDY.
The loss of Orleans angers you, and now
You vent your gall on me, your friend and ally.
What lost us Orleans but your avarice?
The city was prepared to yield to me,
Your envy was the sole impediment.

TALBOT.
We did not undertake the siege for you.

BURGUNDY.
How would it stand with you if I withdrew
With all my host?

LIONEL.
                We should not be worse off
Than when, at Agincourt, we proved a match
For you and all the banded power of France.

BURGUNDY.
Yet much you stood in need of our alliance;
The regent purchased it at heavy cost.

TALBOT.
Most dearly, with the forfeit of our honor,
At Orleans have we paid for it to-day.

BURGUNDY.
Urge me no further, lords. Ye may repent it!
Did I forsake the banners of my king,
Draw down upon my head the traitor's name,
To be insulted thus by foreigners?
Why am I here to combat against France?
If I must needs endure ingratitude,
Let it come rather from my native king!

TALBOT.
You're in communication with the Dauphin,
We know it well, but we soon shall find means
To guard ourselves 'gainst treason.

BURGUNDY.
                Death and hell!
Am I encountered thus? Chatillon, hark!
Let all my troops prepare to quit the camp.
We will retire into our own domain.

                [CHATILLON goes out.]

LIONEL.
God speed you there! Never did Britain's fame
More brightly shine than when she stood alone,
Confiding solely in her own good sword.
Let each one fight his battle for himself,
For 'tis eternal truth that English blood
Cannot, with honor, blend with blood of France.

SCENE II.

        The same. QUEEN ISABEL, attended by a PAGE.

ISABEL.
What must I hear? This fatal strife forbear!
What brain-bewildering planet o'er your minds
Sheds dire perplexity? When unity
Alone can save you, will you part in hate,
And, warring 'mong yourselves, prepare your doom?--
I do entreat you, noble duke, recall
Your hasty order. You, renowned Talbot,
Seek to appease an irritated friend!
Come, Lionel, aid me to reconcile
These haughty spirits and establish peace.

LIONEL.
Not I, madame. It is all one to me.
'Tis my belief, when things are misallied,
The sooner they part company the better.

ISABEL.
How? Do the arts of hell, which on the field
Wrought such disastrous ruin, even here
Bewilder and befool us? Who began
This fatal quarrel? Speak! Lord-general!
Your own advantage did you so forget,
As to offend your worthy friend and ally?
What could you do without his powerful arm?
'Twas he who placed your monarch on the throne,
He holds him there, and he can hurl him thence;
His army strengthens you--still more his name.
Were England all her citizens to pour
Upon our coasts, she never o'er this realm
Would gain dominion did she stand alone;
No! France can only be subdued by France!

TALBOT.
A faithful friend we honor as we ought;
Discretion warns us to beware the false.

BURGUNDY.
The liar's brazen front beseemeth him
Who would absolve himself from gratitude.

ISABEL.
How, noble duke? Could you so far renounce
Your princely honor, and your sense of shame,
As clasp the hand of him who slew your sire?
Are you so mad to entertain the thought
Of cordial reconcilement with the Dauphin,
Whom you yourself have hurled to ruin's brink?
His overthrow you have well nigh achieved,
And madly now would you renounce your work?
Here stand your allies. Your salvation lies
In an indissoluble bond with England?

BURGUNDY.
Far is my thought from treaty with the Dauphin;
But the contempt and insolent demeanor
Of haughty England I will not endure.

ISABEL.
Come, noble duke? Excuse a hasty word.
Heavy the grief which bows the general down,
And well you know misfortune makes unjust.
Come! come! embrace; let me this fatal breach
Repair at once, ere it becomes eternal.

TALBOT.
What think you, Burgundy? A noble heart,
By reason vanquished, doth confess its fault.
A wise and prudent word the queen hath spoken;
Come, let my hand with friendly pressure heal
The wound inflicted by my angry tongue.

BURGUNDY.
Discreet the counsel offered by the queen!
My just wrath yieldeth to necessity.

ISABEL.
'Tis well! Now, with a brotherly embrace
Confirm and seal the new-established bond;
And may the winds disperse what hath been spoken.

        [BURGUNDY and TALBOT embrace.]

LIONEL (contemplating the group aside).
Hail to an union by the furies planned!

ISABEL.
Fate hath proved adverse, we have lost a battle,
But do not, therefore, let your courage sink.
The Dauphin, in despair of heavenly aid,
Doth make alliance with the powers of hell;
Vainly his soul he forfeits to the devil,
For hell itself cannot deliver him.
A conquering maiden leads the hostile force;
Yours, I myself will lead; to you I'll stand
In place of maiden or of prophetess.

LIONEL.
Madame, return to Paris! We desire
To war with trusty weapons, not with women.

TALBOT.
GO! go! Since your arrival in the camp,
Fortune hath fled our banners, and our course
Hath still been retrograde. Depart at once!

BURGUNDY.
Your presence here doth scandalize the host.

ISABEL (looks from one to the other with astonishment).
This, Burgundy, from you? Do you take part
Against me with these thankless English lords?

BURGUNDY.
Go! go! The thought of combating for you
Unnerves the courage of the bravest men.

ISABEL.
I scarce among you have established peace,
And you already form a league against me!

TALBOT.
Go, in God's name. When you have left the camp
No devil will again appal our troops.

ISABEL.
Say, am I not your true confederate?
Are we not banded in a common cause?

TALBOT.
Thank God! your cause of quarrel is not ours.
We combat in an honorable strife.

BURGUNDY.
A father's bloody murder I avenge.
Stern filial duty consecrates my arms.

TALBOT.
Confess at once. Your conduct towards the Dauphin
Is an offence alike to God and man.

ISABEL.
Curses blast him and his posterity!
The shameless son who sins against his mother!

BURGUNDY.
Ay! to avenge a husband and a father!

ISABEL.
To judge his mother's conduct he presumed!

LIONEL.
That was, indeed, irreverent in a son!

ISABEL.
And me, forsooth, he banished from the realm.

TALBOT.
Urged to the measure by the public voice.

ISABEL.
A curse light on him if I e'er forgive him!
Rather than see him on his father's throne----

TALBOT.
His mother's honor you would sacrifice!

ISABEL.
Your feeble natures cannot comprehend
The vengeance of an outraged mother's heart.
Who pleasures me, I love; who wrongs, I hate.
If he who wrongs me chance to be my son,
All the more worthy is he of my hate.
The life I gave I will again take back
From him who doth, with ruthless violence,
The bosom rend which bore and nourished him.
Ye, who do thus make war upon the Dauphin,
What rightful cause have ye to plunder him?
What crime hath he committed against you?
What insult are you called on to avenge?
Ambition, paltry envy, goad you on;
I have a right to hate him--he's my son.

TALBOT.
He feels his mother in her dire revenge!

ISABEL.
Mean hypocrites! I hate you and despise.
Together with the world, you cheat yourselves!
With robber-hands you English seek to clutch
This realm of France, where you have no just right,
Nor equitable claim, to so much earth
As could be covered by your charger's hoof.
--This duke, too, whom the people style the Good,
Doth to a foreign lord, his country's foe,
For gold betray the birthland of his sires.
And yet is justice ever on your tongue.
--Hypocrisy I scorn. Such as I am,
So let the world behold me!

BURGUNDY.
                It is true!
Your reputation you have well maintained.

ISABEL.
I've passions and warm blood, and as a queen
Came to this realm to live, and not to seem.
Should I have lingered out a joyless life
Because the curse of adverse destiny
To a mad consort joined my blooming youth?
More than my life I prize my liberty.
And who assails me here----But why should I
Stoop to dispute with you about my rights?
Your sluggish blood flows slowly in your veins!
Strangers to pleasure, ye know only rage!
This duke, too--who, throughout his whole career,
Hath wavered to and fro, 'twixt good and ill--
Can neither love or hate with his whole heart.
--I go to Melun. Let this gentleman,
[Pointing to LIONEL.
Who doth my fancy please, attend me there,
To cheer my solitude, and you may work
Your own good pleasure! I'll inquire no more
Concerning the Burgundians or the English.

        [She beckons to her PAGE, and is about to retire.

LIONEL.
Rely upon us, we will send to Melun
The fairest youths whom we in battle take.

        [Coming back.]

ISABEL.
Skilful your arm to wield the sword of death,
The French alone can round the polished phrase.

        [She goes out.]

SCENE III.

        TALBOT, BURGUNDY, LIONEL.

TALBOT.
Heavens! What a woman!

LIONEL.
                Now, brave generals,
Your counsel! Shall we prosecute our flight,
Or turn, and with a bold and sudden stroke
Wipe out the foul dishonor of to-day?

BURGUNDY.
We are too weak, our soldiers are dispersed,
The recent terror still unnerves the host.

TALBOT.
Blind terror, sudden impulse of a moment,
Alone occasioned our disastrous rout.
This phantom of the terror-stricken brain,
More closely viewed will vanish into air.
My counsel, therefore, is, at break of day,
To lead the army back, across the stream,
To meet the enemy.

BURGUNDY.
                Consider well----

LIONEL.
Your pardon! Here is nothing to consider
What we have lost we must at once retrieve,
Or look to be eternally disgraced.

TALBOT.
It is resolved. To-morrow morn we fight,
This dread-inspiring phantom to destroy,
Which thus doth blind and terrify the host
Let us in fight encounter this she-devil.
If she oppose her person to our sword,
Trust me, she never will molest us more;
If she avoid our stroke--and be assured
She will not stand the hazard of a battle--
Then is the dire enchantment at an end?

LIONEL.
So be it! And to me, my general, leave
This easy, bloodless combat, for I hope
Alive to take this ghost, and in my arms,
Before the Bastard's eyes--her paramour--
To bear her over to the English camp,
To be the sport and mockery of the host.

BURGUNDY.
Make not too sure.

TALBOT.
                If she encounter me,
I shall not give her such a soft embrace.
Come now, exhausted nature to restore
Through gentle sleep. At daybreak we set forth.

        [They go out.]

SCENE IV.

        JOHANNA with her banner, in a helmet and breastplate,
        otherwise attired as a woman. DUNOIS, LA HIRE, knights
        and soldiers appear above upon the rocky path, pass
        silently over, and appear immediately after on the scene.

JOHANNA (to the knights who surround her while the
        procession continues above).
The wall is scaled and we are in the camp!
Now fling aside the mantle of still night,
Which hitherto hath veiled your silent march,
And your dread presence to the foe proclaim.
By your loud battle-cry--God and the maiden!

ALL (exclaim aloud, amidst the loud clang of arms).
God and the maiden!
        [Drums and trumpets.]

SENTINELS (behind the scene).
The foe! The foe! The foe!

JOHANNA.
Ho! torches here. Hurl fire into the tents!
Let the devouring flames augment the horror,
While threatening death doth compass them around!

        [Soldiers hasten on, she is about to follow.]

DUNOIS (holding her back).
Thy part thou hast accomplished now, Johanna!
Into the camp thou hast conducted us,
The foe thou hast delivered in our hands,
Now from the rush of war remain apart!
The bloody consummation leave to us.

LA HIRE.
Point out the path of conquest to the host;
Before us, in pure hand, the banner bear.
But wield the fatal weapon not thyself;
Tempt not the treacherous god of battle, for
He rageth blindly, and he spareth not.

JOHANNA.
Who dares impede my progress? Who presume
The spirit to control which guideth me?
Still must the arrow wing its destined flight!
Where danger is, there must Johanna be;
Nor now, nor here, am I foredoomed to fall;
Our monarch's royal brow I first must see
Invested with the round of sovereignty.
No hostile power can rob me of my life,
Till I've accomplished the commands of God.

        [She goes out.]

LA HIRE.
Come, let us follow after her, Dunois,
And let our valiant bosoms be her shield!

        [Exit.]

SCENE V.

        ENGLISH SOLDIERS hurry over the stage.
        Afterwards TALBOT.

1 SOLDIER.
The maiden in the camp!

2 SOLDIER.
                Impossible!
It cannot be! How came she in the camp?

3 SOLDIER.
Why, through the air! The devil aided her!

4 AND 5 SOLDIERS.
Fly! fly! We are dead men!

TALBOT (enters).
They heed me not! They stay not at my call!
The sacred bands of discipline are loosed!
As hell had poured her damned legions forth,
A wild, distracting impulse whirls along,
In one mad throng, the cowardly and brave.
I cannot rally e'en the smallest troop
To form a bulwark gainst the hostile flood,
Whose raging billows press into our camp!
Do I alone retain my sober senses,
While all around in wild delirium rave?
To fly before these weak, degenerate Frenchmen
Whom we in twenty battles have overthrown?
Who is she then--the irresistible--
The dread-inspiring goddess, who doth turn
At once the tide of battle, and transform
The lions bold a herd of timid deer?
A juggling minx, who plays the well-learned part
Of heroine, thus to appal the brave?
A woman snatch from me all martial fame?

SOLDIER (rushing in).
The maiden comes! Fly, general, fly! fly!

TALBOT (strikes him down).
Fly thou, thyself, to hell! This sword shall pierce
Who talks to me of fear, or coward flight!

        [He goes out.]

SCENE VI.

        The prospect opens. The English camp is seen in flames.
        Drums, flight, and pursuit. After a while MONTGOMERY enters.

MONTGOMERY (alone).
Where shall I flee? Foes all around and death! Lo! here
The furious general, who with threatening sword, prevents
Escape, and drives us back into the jaws of death.
The dreadful maiden there--the terrible--who like
Devouring flame, destruction spreads; while all around
Appears no bush wherein to hide--no sheltering cave!
Oh, would that o'er the sea I never had come here!
Me miserable--empty dreams deluded me--
Cheap glory to achieve on Gallia's martial fields.
And I am guided by malignant destiny
Into this murderous flight. Oh, were I far, far hence.
Still in my peaceful home, on Severn's flowery banks,
Where in my father's house, in sorrow and in tears,
I left my mother and my fair young bride.

        [JOHANNA appears in the distance.]

Wo's me! What do I see! The dreadful form appears!
Arrayed in lurid light, she from the raging fire
Issues, as from the jaws of hell, a midnight ghost.
Where shall I go? where flee? Already from afar
She seizes on me with her eye of fire, and flings
Her fatal and unerring coil, whose magic folds
With ever-tightening pressure, bind my feet and make
Escape impossible! Howe'er my heart rebels,
I am compelled to follow with my gaze that form
Of dread!

        [JOHANNA advances towards him some steps;
        and again remains standing.]

She comes! I will not passively await
Her furious onset! Imploringly I'll clasp
Her knees! I'll sue to her for life. She is a woman.
I may perchance to pity move her by my tears!

        [While he is on the point of approaching her she draws near].

SCENE VII.

        JOHANNA, MONTGOMERY.

JOHANNA.
Prepare to die! A British mother bore thee!

MONTGOMERY (falls at her feet).
Fall back, terrific one! Forbear to strike
An unprotected foe! My sword and shield
I've flung aside, and supplicating fall
Defenceless at thy feet. A ransom take!
Extinguish not the precious light of life!
With fair possessions crowned, my father dwells
In Wales' fair land, where among verdant meads
The winding Severn rolls his silver tide,
And fifty villages confess his sway.
With heavy gold he will redeem his son,
When he shall hear I'm in the camp of France.

JHANNA.
Deluded mortal! to destruction doomed!
Thou'rt fallen in the maiden's hand, from which
Redemption or deliverance there is none.
Had adverse fortune given thee a prey
To the fierce tiger or the crocodile--
Hadst robbed the lion mother of her brood--
Compassion thou might'st hope to find and pity;
But to encounter me is certain death.
For my dread compact with the spirit realm--
The stern inviolable--bindeth me,
To slay each living thing whom battle's God,
Full charged with doom, delivers to my sword.

MONTGOMERY.
Thy speech is fearful, but thy look is mild;
Not dreadful art thou to contemplate near;
My heart is drawn towards thy lovely form.
Oh! by the mildness of thy gentle sex,
Attend my prayer. Compassionate my youth.

JOHANNA.
Name me not woman! Speak not of my sex!
Like to the bodiless spirits, who know naught
Of earth's humanities, I own no sex;
Beneath this vest of steel there beats no heart.

MONTGOMERY.
Oh! by love's sacred, all-pervading power,
To whom all hearts yield homage, I conjure thee.
At home I left behind a gentle bride,
Beauteous as thou, and rich in blooming grace:
Weeping she waiteth her betrothed's return.
Oh! if thyself dost ever hope to love,
If in thy love thou hopest to be happy,
Then ruthless sever not two gentle hearts,
Together linked in love's most holy bond!

JOHANNA.
Thou dost appeal to earthly, unknown gods,
To whom I yield no homage. Of love's bond,
By which thou dost conjure me, I know naught
Nor ever will I know his empty service.
Defend thy life, for death doth summon thee.

MONTGOMERY.
Take pity on my sorrowing parents, whom
I left at home. Doubtless thou, too, hast left
Parents, who feel disquietude for thee.

JOHANNA.
Unhappy man! thou dost remember me
How many mothers of this land your arms
Have rendered childless and disconsolate;
How many gentle children fatherless;
How many fair young brides dejected widows!
Let England's mothers now be taught despair,
And learn to weep the bitter tear oft shed
By the bereaved and sorrowing wives of France.

MONTGOMERY.
'Tis hard in foreign lands to die unwept.

JOHANNA.
Who called you over to this foreign land,
To waste the blooming culture of our fields,
To chase the peasant from his household hearth,
And in our cities' peaceful sanctuary
To hurl the direful thunderbolt of war?
In the delusion of your hearts ye thought
To plunge in servitude the freeborn French,
And to attach their fair and goodly realm,
Like a small boat, to your proud English bark!
Ye fools! The royal arms of France are hung
Fast by the throne of God; and ye as soon
From the bright wain of heaven might snatch a star
As rend a single village from this realm,
Which shall remain inviolate forever!
The day of vengeance is at length arrived;
Not living shall ye measure back the sea,
The sacred sea--the boundary set by God
Betwixt our hostile nations--and the which
Ye ventured impiously to overpass.

MONTGOMERY (lets go her hands).
Oh, I must die! I feel the grasp of death!

JOHANNA.
Die, friend! Why tremble at the approach of death?
Of mortals the irrevocable doom?
Look upon me! I'm born a shepherd maid;
This hand, accustomed to the peaceful crook,
Is all unused to wield the sword of death.
Yet, snatched away from childhood's peaceful haunts,
From the fond love of father and of sisters,
Urged by no idle dream of earthly glory,
But heaven-appointed to achieve your ruin,
Like a destroying angel I must roam,
Spreading dire havoc around me, and at length
Myself must fall a sacrifice to death!
Never again shall I behold my home!
Still, many of your people I must slay,
Still, many widows make, but I at length
Myself shall perish, and fulfil my doom.
Now thine fulfil. Arise! resume thy sword,
And let us fight for the sweet prize of life.

MONTGOMERY (stands up).
Now, if thou art a mortal like myself,
Can weapons wound thee, it may be assigned
To this good arm to end my country's woe,
Thee sending, sorceress, to the depths of hell.
In God's most gracious hands I leave my fate.
Accursed one! to thine assistance call
The fiends of hell! Now combat for thy life!

        [He seizes his sword and shield, and rushes upon her;
        martial music is heard in the distance. After a short
        conflict MONTGOMERY falls.]

SCENE VIII.

JOHANNA (alone).
To death thy foot did bear thee--fare thee well!

        [She steps away from him and remains absorbed in thought.]

Virgin, thou workest mightily in me!
My feeble arm thou dost endue with strength,
And steep'st my woman's heart in cruelty.
In pity melts the soul and the hand trembles,
As it did violate some sacred fane,
To mar the goodly person of the foe.
Once I did shudder at the polished sheath,
But when 'tis needed, I'm possessed with strength,
And as it were itself a thing of life,
The fatal weapon, in my trembling grasp,
Self-swayed, inflicteth the unerring stroke.

SCENE IX.

        A KNIGHT with closed visor, JOHANNA.

KNIGHT.
Accursed one! thy hour of death has come!
Long have I sought thee on the battle-field,
Fatal delusion! get thee back to hell,
Whence thou didst issue forth.

JOHANNA.
                Say, who art thou,
Whom his bad genius sendeth in my way?
Princely thy port, no Briton dost thou seem,
For the Burgundian colors stripe thy shield,
Before the which my sword inclines its point.

KNIGHT.
Vile castaway! Thou all unworthy art
To fall beneath a prince's noble hand.
The hangman's axe should thy accursed head
Cleave from thy trunk, unfit for such vile use
The royal Duke of Burgundy's brave sword.

JOHANNA.
Art thou indeed that noble duke himself?

KNIGHT (raises his visor).
I'm he, vile creature, tremble and despair!
The arts of hell shall not protect thee more.
Thou hast till now weak dastards overcome;
Now thou dost meet a man.

SCENE X.

        DUNOIS and LA HIRE. The same.

DUNOIS.
Hold, Burgundy!
Turn! combat now with men, and not with maids.

LA HIRE.
We will defend the holy prophetess;
First must thy weapon penetrate this breast.

BURGUNDY.
I fear not this seducing Circe; no,
Nor you, whom she hath changed so shamefully!
Oh, blush, Dunois! and do thou blush, La Hire
To stoop thy valor to these hellish arts--
To be shield-bearer to a sorceress!
Come one--come all! He only who despairs
Of heaven's protection seeks the aid of hell.

        [They prepare for combat, JOHANNA steps between.]
JOHANNA.
Forbear!

BURGUNDY.
        Dost tremble for thy lover? Thus
Before thine eyes he shall----

        [He makes a thrust at DUNOIS.]

JOHANNA.
Dunois, forbear!
Part them, La Hire! no blood of France must flow:
Not hostile weapons must this strife decide,
Above the stars 'tis otherwise decreed.
Fall back! I say. Attend and venerate
The Spirit which hath seized, which speaks through me!

DUNOIS.
Why, maiden, now hold back my upraised arm?
Why check the just decision of the sword?
My weapon pants to deal the fatal blow
Which shall avenge and heal the woes of France.

        [She places herself in the midst and separates the parties.]

JOHANNA.
Fall back, Dunois! Stand where thou art, La Hire!
Somewhat I have to say to Burgundy.

        [When all is quiet.]

What wouldst thou, Burgundy? Who is the foe
Whom eagerly thy murderous glances seek?
This prince is, like thyself, a son of France,--
This hero is thy countryman, thy friend;
I am a daughter of thy fatherland.
We all, whom thou art eager to destroy,
Are of thy friends;--our longing arms prepare
To clasp, our bending knees to honor thee.
Our sword 'gainst thee is pointless, and that face
E'en in a hostile helm is dear to us,
For there we trace the features of our king.

BURGUNDY.
What, syren! wilt thou with seducing words
Allure thy victim? Cunning sorceress,
Me thou deludest not. Mine ears are closed
Against thy treacherous words; and vainly dart
Thy fiery glances 'gainst this mail of proof.
To arms, Dunois!
With weapons let us fight, and not with words.

DUNOIS.
First words, then weapons, Burgundy! Do words
With dread inspire thee? 'Tis a coward's fear,
And the betrayer of an evil cause.

JOHANNA.
'Tis not imperious necessity
Which throws us at thy feet! We do not come
As suppliants before thee. Look around!
The English tents are level with the ground,
And all the field is covered with your slain.
Hark! the war-trumpets of the French resound;
God hath decided--ours the victory!
Our new-culled laurel garland with our friend
We fain would share. Come, noble fugitive!
Oh, come where justice and where victory dwell!
Even I, the messenger of heaven, extend
A sister's hand to thee. I fain would save
And draw thee over to our righteous cause!
Heaven hath declared for France! Angelic powers,
Unseen by thee, do battle for our king;
With lilies are the holy ones adorned,
Pure as this radiant banner is our cause;
Its blessed symbol is the queen of heaven.

BURGUNDY.
Falsehood's fallacious words are full of guile,
But hers are pure and simple as a child's.
If evil spirits borrow this disguise,
They copy innocence triumphantly.
I'll hear no more. To arms, Dunois! to arms!
Mine ear, I feel, is weaker than mine arm.

JOHANNA.
You call me an enchantress, and accuse
Of hellish arts. Is it the work of hell
To heal dissension and to foster peace?
Comes holy concord from the depths below?
Say, what is holy, innocent, and good,
If not to combat for our fatherland?
Since when hath nature been so self-opposed
That heaven forsakes the just and righteous cause,
While hell protects it? If my words are true,
Whence could I draw them but from heaven above?
Who ever sought me in my shepherd-walks,
To teach the humble maid affairs of state?
I ne'er have stood with princes, to these lips
Unknown the arts of eloquence. Yet now,
When I have need of it to touch thy heart,
Insight and varied knowledge I possess;
The fate of empires and the doom of kings
Lie clearly spread before my childish mind,
And words of thunder issue from my mouth.

BURGUNDY (greatly moved, looks at her with emotion and astonishment).
How is it with me? Doth some heavenly power
Thus strangely stir my spirit's inmost depths?
This pure, this gentle creature cannot lie!
No, if enchantment blinds me, 'tis from heaven.
My spirit tells me she is sent from God.

JOHANNA.
Oh, he is moved! I have not prayed in vain,
Wrath's thunder-cloud dissolves in gentle tears,
And leaves his brow, while mercy's golden beams
Break from his eyes and gently promise peace.
Away with arms, now clasp him to your hearts,
He weeps--he's conquered, he is ours once more!

        [Her sword and banner fall; she hastens to him with
        outstretched arms, and embraces him in great agitation.
        LA HIRE and DUNOIS throw down their swords, and hasten
        also to embrace him.]

ACT III.

        Residence of the KING at Chalons on the Marne.

SCENE I.

        DUNOIS, LA HIRE.

DUNOIS.
We have been true heart-friends, brothers in arms,
Still have we battled in a common cause,
And held together amid toil and death.
Let not the love of woman rend the bond
Which hath resisted every stroke of fate.

LA HIRE.
Hear me, my prince!

DUNOIS.
                You love the wondrous maid,
And well I know the purpose of your heart.
You think without delay to seek the king,
And to entreat him to bestow on you
Her hand in marriage. Of your bravery
The well-earned guerdon he cannot refuse
But know,--ere I behold her in the arms
Of any other----

LA HIRE.
                Listen to me, prince!

DUNOIS.
'Tis not the fleeting passion of the eye
Attracts me to her. My unconquered sense
Had set at naught the fiery shafts of love
Till I beheld this wondrous maiden, sent
By a divine appointment to become
The savior of this kingdom, and my wife;
And on the instant in my heart I vowed
A sacred oath, to bear her home, my bride.
For she alone who is endowed with strength
Can be the strong man's friend. This glowing heart
Longs to repose upon a kindred breast,
Which can sustain and comprehend its strength.

LA HIRE.
How dare I venture, prince, my poor deserts
To measure with your name's heroic fame!
When Count Dunois appeareth in the lists,
Each humbler suitor must forsake the field;
Still it doth ill become a shepherd maid
To stand as consort by your princely side.
The royal current in your veins would scorn
To mix with blood of baser quality.

DUNOIS.
She, like myself, is holy Nature's child,
A child divine--hence we by birth are equal.
She bring dishonor on a prince's hand,
Who is the holy angel's bride, whose head
Is by a heavenly glory circled round,
Whose radiance far outshineth earthly crowns,
Who seeth lying far beneath her feet
All that is greatest, highest of this earth!
For thrones on thrones, ascending to the stars,
Would fail to reach the height where she abides
In angel majesty!

LA HIRE.
Our monarch must decide.

DUNOIS.
                Not so! she must
Decide! Free hath she made this realm of France,
And she herself must freely give her heart.

LA HIRE.
Here comes the king!

SCENE II.

        CHARLES, AGNES, SOREL, DUCHATEL, and CHATILLON.
        The same.

CHARLES (to CHATILLON).
He comes! My title he will recognize,
And do me homage as his sovereign liege?

CHATILLON.
Here, in his royal town of Chalons, sire,
The duke, my master, will fall down before thee.
He did command me, as my lord and king,
To give thee greeting. He'll be here anon.

SOREL.
He comes! Hail beauteous and auspicious day,
Which bringeth joy, and peace, and reconcilement!

CHATILLON.
The duke, attended by two hundred knights,
Will hither come; he at thy feet will kneel;
But he expecteth not that thou to him
Should yield the cordial greeting of a kinsman.

CHARLES.
I long to clasp him to my throbbing heart.

CHATILLON.
The duke entreats that at this interview,
No word be spoken of the ancient strife!

CHARLES.
In Lethe be the past forever sunk!
The smiling future now invites our gaze.

CHATILLON.
All who have combated for Burgundy
Shall be included in the amnesty.

CHARLES.
So shall my realm be doubled in extent!

CHATILLON.
Queen Isabel, if she consent thereto,
Shall also be included in the peace.

CHARLES.
She maketh war on me, not I on her.
With her alone it rests to end our quarrel.

CHATILLON.
Twelve knights shall answer for thy royal word.

CHARLES.
My word is sacred.

CHATILLON.
                The archbishop shall
Between you break the consecrated host,
As pledge and seal of cordial reconcilement.

CHARLES.
Let my eternal weal be forfeited,
If my hand's friendly grasp belie my heart.
What other surety doth the duke require?

CHATILLON (glancing at DUCHATEL).
I see one standing here, whose presence, sire,
Perchance might poison the first interview.

        [DUCHATEL retires in silence.]

CHARLES.
Depart, Duchatel, and remain concealed
Until the duke can bear thee in his sight.

[He follows him with his eye, then hastens after
and embraces him.

True-hearted friend! Thou wouldst far more than this
Have done for my repose!
        [Exit DUCHATEL.]

CHATILLON.
This instrument doth name the other points.

CHARLES (to the ARCHBISHOP).
Let it be settled. We agree to all.
We count no price too high to gain a friend.
Go now, Dunois, and with a hundred knights,
Give courteous conduct to the noble duke.
Let the troops, garlanded with verdant boughs,
Receive their comrades with a joyous welcome.
Be the whole town arrayed in festive pomp,
And let the bells with joyous peal, proclaim
That France and Burgundy are reconciled.

        [A PAGE enters. Trumpets sound.]

Hark! What importeth that loud trumpet's call?

PAGE.
The Duke of Burgundy hath stayed his march.

        [Exit.]

DUNOIS.
Up! forth to meet him!

        [Exit with LA HIRE and CHATILLON.]

CHARLES (to SOREL).
My Agnes! thou dost weep! Even my strength
Doth almost fail me at this interview.
How many victims have been doomed to fall
Ere we could meet in peace and reconcilement!
But every storm at length suspends its rage,
Day follows on the murkiest night; and still
When comes the hour, the latest fruits mature!

ARCHBISHOP (at the window).
The thronging crowds impede the duke's advance;
He scarce can free himself. They lift him now
From off his horse; they kiss his spurs, his mantle.

CHARLES.
They're a good people, in whom love flames forth
As suddenly as wrath. In how brief space
They do forget that 'tis this very duke
Who slew, in fight, their fathers and their sons;
The moment swallows up the whole of life!
Be tranquil, Sorel. E'en thy passionate joy
Perchance might to his conscience prove a thorn.
Nothing should either shame or grieve him here.

SCENE III.

        The DUKE OF BURGUNDY, DUNOIS, LA HIRE, CHATILLON, and two other
        knights of the DUKE'S train. The DUKE remains standing at the
        door; the KING inclines towards him; BURGUNDY immediately advances,
        and in the moment when he is about to throw himself upon his knees,
        the KING receives him in his arms.

CHARLES.
You have surprised us; it was our intent
To fetch you hither, but your steeds are fleet.

BURGUNDY.
They bore me to my duty.
        [He embraces SOREL, and kisses her brow.
                With your leave!
At Arras, niece, it is our privilege,
And no fair damsel may exemption claim.

CHARLES.
Rumor doth speak your court the seat of love,
The mart where all that's beautiful must tarry.

BURGUNDY.
We are a traffic-loving people, sire;
Whate'er of costly earth's wide realms produce,
For show and for enjoyment, is displayed
Upon our mart at Bruges; but above all
There woman's beauty is pre-eminent.

SOREL.
More precious far is woman's truth; but it
Appeareth not upon the public mart.

CHARLES.
Kinsman, 'tis rumored to your prejudice
That woman's fairest virtue you despise.

BURGUNDY.
The heresy inflicteth on itself
The heaviest penalty. 'Tis well for you,
From your own heart, my king, you learned betimes
What a wild life hath late revealed to me.

        [He perceives the ARCHBISHOP, and extends his hand.]

Most reverend minister of God! your blessing!
You still are to be found on duty's path,
Where those must walk who would encounter you.

ARCHBISHOP.
Now let my Master call me when he will;
My heart is full, I can with joy depart,
Since that mine eyes have seen this day!

BURGUNDY (to SOREL).
                'Tis said
That of your precious stones you robbed yourself,
Therefrom to forge 'gainst me the tools of war!
Bear you a soul so martial? Were you then
So resolute to work my overthrow?
Well, now our strife is over; what was lost
Will in due season all be found again.
Even your jewels have returned to you.
Against me to make war they were designed;
Receive them from me as a pledge of peace.

        [He receives a casket from one of the attendants,
        and presents it to her to open. SOREL, embarrassed,
        looks at the KING.

CHARLES.
Receive this present; 'tis a twofold pledge
Of reconcilement and of fairest love.

BURGUNDY (placing a diamond rose in her hair).
Why, is it not the diadem of France?
With full as glad a spirit I would place
The golden circle on this lovely brow.

        [Taking her hand significantly.

And count on me if, at some future time
You should require a friend.

        [AGNES SOREL bursts into tears, and steps aside.
        THE KING struggles with his feelings. The bystanders
        contemplate the two princes with emotion.]

BURGUNDY (after gazing round the circle, throws himself into
        the KING'S arms).
                Oh, my king!

[At the same moment the three Burgundian knights hasten to DUNOIS,
LA HIRE, and the ARCHBISHOP. They embrace each other. The two
PRINCES remain for a time speechless in each other's arms.

I could renounce you! I could bear your hate!

CHARLES.
Hush! hush! No further!

BURGUNDY.
                I this English king
Could crown! Swear fealty to this foreigner!
And you, my sovereign, into ruin plunge!

CHARLES.
Forget it! Everything's forgiven now!
This single moment doth obliterate all.
'Twas a malignant star! A destiny!

BURGUNDY (grasps his hand).
Believe me, sire, I'll make amends for all.
Your bitter sorrow I will compensate;
You shall receive your kingdom back entire,
A solitary village shall not fail!

CHARLES.
We are united. Now I fear no foe.

BURGUNDY.
Trust me, it was not with a joyous spirit
That I bore arms against you. Did you know?
Oh, wherefore sent you not this messenger?

        [Pointing to SOREL.]

I must have yielded to her gentle tears.
Henceforth, since breast to breast we have embraced,
No power of hell again shall sever us!
My erring course ends here. His sovereign's heart
Is the true resting-place for Burgundy.

ARCHBISHOP (steps between them).
Ye are united, princes! France doth rise
A renovated phoenix from its ashes.
The auspicious future greets us with a smile.
The country's bleeding wounds will heal again,
The villages, the desolated towns,
Rise in new splendor from their ruined heaps,
The fields array themselves in beauteous green;
But those who, victims of your quarrel, fell,
The dead, rise not again; the bitter tears,
Caused by your strife, remain forever wept!
One generation hath been doomed to woe;
On their descendants dawns a brighter day;
The gladness of the son wakes not the sire.
This the dire fruitage of your brother-strife!
Oh, princes, learn from hence to pause with dread,
Ere from its scabbard ye unsheath the sword.
The man of power lets loose the god of war,
But not, obedient, as from fields of air
Returns the falcon to the sportsman's hand,
Doth the wild deity obey the call
Of mortal voice; nor will the Saviour's hand
A second time forth issue from the clouds.

BURGUNDY.
Oh, sire! an angel walketh by your side.
Where is she? Why do I behold her not?

CHARLES.
Where is Johanna? Wherefore faileth she
To grace the festival we owe to her?

ARCHBISHOP.
She loves not, sire, the idleness of the court,
And when the heavenly mandate calls her not
Forth to the world's observance, she retires,
And doth avoid the notice of the crowd.
Doubtless, unless the welfare of the realm
Claims her regard, she communes with her God,
For still a blessing on her steps attends.

SCENE IV.

        The same.
        JOHANNA enters. She is clad in armor, and wears
        a garland in her hair.

CHARLES.
Thou comest as a priestess decked, Johanna,
To consecrate the union formed by thee!

BURGUNDY.
How dreadful was the maiden in the fight!
How lovely circled by the beams of peace!
My word, Johanna, have I now fulfilled?
Art thou contented? Have I thine applause?

JOHANNA.
The greatest favor thou hast shown thyself.
Arrayed in blessed light thou shinest now,
Who didst erewhile with bloody, ominous ray,
Hang like a moon of terror in the heavens.
        [Looking round.]
Many brave knights I find assembled here,
And joy's glad radiance beams in every eye;
One mourner, one alone I have encountered;
He must conceal himself, where all rejoice.

BURGUNDY.
And who is conscious of such heavy guilt,
That of our favor he must needs despair?

JOHANNA.
May he approach? Oh, tell me that he may;
Complete thy merit. Void the reconcilement
That frees not the whole heart. A drop of hate
Remaining in the cup of joy converts
The blessed draught to poison. Let there be
No deed so stained with blood that Burgundy
Cannot forgive it on this day of joy.

BURGUNDY.
Ha! now I understand!

JOHANNA.
        And thou'lt forgive?
Thou wilt indeed forgive? Come in, Duchatel!

        [She opens the door and leads in DUCHATEL,
        who remains standing at a distance.]

The duke is reconciled to all his foes,
And he is so to thee.

        [DUCHATEL approaches a few steps nearer,
        and tries to read the countenance of the DUKE.]

BURGUNDY.
                What makest thou
Of me, Johanna? Know'st thou what thou askest?

JOHANNA.
A gracious sovereign throws his portals wide,
Admitting every guest, excluding none;
As freely as the firmament the world,
So mercy must encircle friend and foe.
Impartially the sun pours forth his beams
Through all the regions of infinity;
The heaven's reviving dew falls everywhere,
And brings refreshment to each thirsty plant;
Whate'er is good, and cometh from on high,
Is universal, and without reserve;
But in the heart's recesses darkness dwells!

BURGUNDY.
Oh, she can mould me to her wish; my heart
Is in her forming hand like melted wax.
--Duchatel, I forgive thee--come, embrace me!
Shade of my sire! oh, not with wrathful eye
Behold me clasp the hand that shed thy blood.
Ye death-gods, reckon not to my account,
That my dread oath of vengeance I abjure.
With you, in yon drear realm of endless night,
There beats no human heart, and all remains
Eternal, steadfast, and immovable.
Here in the light of day 'tis otherwise.
Man, living, feeling man, is aye the sport
Of the o'ermastering present.

CHARLES (to JOHANNA).
                Lofty maid!
What owe I not to thee! How truly now
Hast thou fulfilled thy word,--how rapidly
Reversed my destiny! Thou hast appeased
My friends, and in the dust o'erwhelmed my foes;
From foreign yoke redeemed my cities. Thou
Hast all achieved. Speak, how can I reward thee?

JOHANNA.
Sire, in prosperity be still humane,
As in misfortune thou hast ever been;
And on the height of greatness ne'er forget
The value of a friend in times of need;
Thou hast approved it in adversity.
Refuse not to the lowest of thy people
The claims of justice and humanity,
For thy deliverer from the fold was called.
Beneath thy royal sceptre thou shalt gather
The realm entire of France. Thou shalt become
The root and ancestor of mighty kings;
Succeeding monarchs, in their regal state,
Shall those outshine, who filled the throne before.
Thy stock, in majesty shall bloom so long
As it stands rooted in the people's love.
Pride only can achieve its overthrow,
And from the lowly station, whence to-day
God summoned thy deliverer, ruin dire
Obscurely threats thy crime-polluted sons!

BURGUNDY.
Exalted maid! Possessed with sacred fire!
If thou canst look into the gulf of time,
Speak also of my race! Shall coming years
With ampler honors crown my princely line!

JOHANNA.
High as the throne, thou, Burgundy, hast built
Thy seat of power, and thy aspiring heart
Would raise still higher, even to the clouds,
The lofty edifice. But from on high
A hand omnipotent shall check its rise.
Fear thou not hence the downfall of thy house!
Its glory in a maiden shall survive;
Upon her breast shall sceptre-bearing kings,
The people's shepherds, bloom. Their ample sway
Shall o'er two realms extend, they shall ordain
Laws to control the known world, and the new,
Which God still veils behind the pathless waves.

CHARLES.
Oh, if the Spirit doth reveal it, speak;
Shall this alliance which we now renew
In distant ages still unite our sons?

JOHANNA (after a pause).
Sovereigns and kings! disunion shun with dread!
Wake not contention from the murky cave
Where he doth lie asleep, for once aroused
He cannot soon be quelled? He doth beget
An iron brood, a ruthless progeny;
Wildly the sweeping conflagration spreads.
--Be satisfied! Seek not to question further
In the glad present let your hearts rejoice,
The future let me shroud!

SOREL.
                Exalted maid!
Thou canst explore my heart, thou readest there
If after worldly greatness it aspires,
To me to give a joyous oracle.

JOHANNA.
Of empires only I discern the doom;
In thine own bosom lies thy destiny!

DUNOIS.
What, holy maid, will be thy destiny?
Doubtless, for thee, who art beloved of heaven,
The fairest earthly happiness shall bloom,
For thou art pure and holy.

JOHANNA.
                Happiness
Abideth yonder, with our God, in heaven.

CHARLES.
Thy fortune be henceforth thy monarch's care!
For I will glorify thy name in France,
And the remotest age shall call thee blest.
Thus I fulfil my word. Kneel down!
[He draws his sword and touches her with it.
And rise!
A noble! I, thy monarch, from the dust
Of thy mean birth exalt thee. In the grave
Thy fathers I ennoble--thou shalt bear
Upon thy shield the fleur-de-lis, and be
Of equal lineage with the best in France.
Only the royal blood of Valois shall
Be nobler than thine own! The highest peer
Shall feel himself exalted by thy hand;
To wed thee nobly, maid, shall be my care!

DUNOIS (advancing).
My heart made choice of her when she was lowly.
The recent honor which encircles her,
Neither exalts her merit nor my love.
Here in my sovereign's presence, and before
This holy bishop, maid, I tender thee
My hand, and take thee as my princely wife,
If thou esteem me worthy to be thine.

CHARLES.
Resistless maiden! wonder thou dost add
To wonder! Yes, I now believe that naught's
Impossible to thee! Thou hast subdued
This haughty heart, which still hath scoffed till now
At love's omnipotence.

LA HIRE (advancing).
                If I have read
Aright Johanna's soul, her modest heart's
Her fairest jewel. She deserveth well
The homage of the great, but her desires
Soar not so high. She striveth not to reach
A giddy eminence; an honest heart's
True love content's her, and the quiet lot
Which with this hand I humbly proffer her.

CHARLES.
Thou, too, La Hire! two brave competitors,--
Peers in heroic virtue and renown!
--Wilt thou, who hast appeased mine enemies,
My realms united, part my dearest friends?
One only can possess her; I esteem
Each to be justly worthy such a prize.
Speak, maid! thy heart alone must here decide.

SOREL.
The noble maiden is surprised, her cheek
Is crimsoned over with a modest blush.
Let her have leisure to consult her heart,
And in confiding friendship to unseal
Her long-closed bosom. Now the hour is come
When, with a sister's love, I also may
Approach the maid severe, and offer her
This silent, faithful breast. Permit us women
Alone to weigh this womanly affair;
Do you await the issue.

CHARLES (about to retire).
                Be it so!

JOHANNA.
No, sire, not so! the crimson on my cheek
Is not the blush of bashful modesty.
Naught have I for this noble lady's ear
Which in this presence I may not proclaim.
The choice of these brave knights much honors me,
But I did not forsake my shepherd-walks,
To chase vain worldly splendor, nor array
My tender frame in panoply of war,
To twine the bridal garland in my hair.
Far other labor is assigned to me,
Which a pure maiden can alone achieve.
I am the soldier of the Lord of Hosts,
And to no mortal man can I be wife.

ARCHBISHOP.
To be a fond companion unto man
Is woman born--when nature she obeys,
Most wisely she fulfils high heaven's decree!
When His behest who called thee to the field
Shall be accomplished, thou'lt resign thy arms,
And once again rejoin the softer sex,
Whose gentle nature thou dost now forego,
And which from war's stern duties is exempt.

JOHANNA.
Most reverend sir! as yet I cannot say
What work the Spirit will enjoin on me.
But when the time comes round, his guiding voice
Will not be mute, and it I will obey.
Now he commands me to complete my task;
My royal master's brow is still uncrowned,
'Twere better for me I had ne'er been born!
Henceforth no more of this, unless ye would
Provoke the Spirit's wrath who in me dwells!
The eye of man, regarding me with love,
To me is horror and profanity.

CHARLES.
Forbear! It is in vain to urge her further.

JOHANNA.
Command the trumpets of the war to sound!
This stillness doth perplex and harass me;
An inward impulse drives me from repose,
It still impels me to achieve my work,
And sternly beckons me to meet my doom.

SCENE V.

A KNIGHT, entering hastily.

CHARLES.
What tidings? Speak!

KNIGHT.
                The foe has crossed the Marne,
And marshalleth his army for the fight.

JOHANNA (inspired).
Battle and tumult! Now my soul is free.
Arm, warriors, arm! while I prepare the troops.

        [She goes out.]

CHARLES.
Follow, La Hire! E'en at the gates of Rheims
They will compel us to dispute the crown!

DUNOIS.
No genuine courage prompts them. This essay
Is the last effort of enraged despair.

CHARLES.
I do not urge you, duke. To-day's the time
To compensate the errors of the past.

BURGUNDY.
You shall be satisfied with me.

CHARLES.
                Myself
Will march before you on the path of fame;
Here, with my royal town of Rheims in view,
I'll fight, and gallantry achieve the crown.
Thy knight, my Agnes, bids thee now farewell!

AGNES (embracing him).
I do not weep, I do not tremble for thee;
My faith, unshaken, cleaveth unto God!
Heaven, were we doomed to failure, had not given
So many gracious pledges of success!
My heart doth whisper me that, victory-crowned,
In conquered Rheims, I shall embrace my king.

        [Trumpets sound with a spirited tone, and while the scene
        is changing pass into a wild martial strain. When the
        scene opens, the orchestra joins in, accompanied by warlike
        instruments behind the scene.]

SCENE VI.

        The scene changes to an open country skirted with trees. During the
        music soldiers are seen retreating hastily across the background.

        TALBOT, leaning on FASTOLFE, and accompanied by soldiers. Soon
        after, LIONEL.

TALBOT.
Here lay me down beneath the trees, and then
Betake you back, with speed, unto the fight;
I need no aid to die.

FASTOLFE.
                Oh, woful day!
        [LIONEL enters.]
Behold what sign awaits you, Lionel!
Here lies our general wounded unto death.

LIONEL.
Now, God forbid! My noble lord, arise!
No moment this to falter and to sink.
Yield not to death. By your all-powerful will
Command your ebbing spirit still to live.

TALBOT.
In vain! The day of destiny is come,
Which will o'erthrow the English power in France.
In desperate combat I have vainly risked
The remnant of our force to ward it off.
Struck by the thunderbolt I prostrate lie,
Never to rise again. Rheims now is lost,
Hasten to succor Paris!

LIONEL.
Paris is with the Dauphin reconciled;
A courier even now has brought the news.

TALBOT (tearing off his bandages).
Then freely flow, ye currents of my blood,
For Talbot now is weary of the sun!

LIONEL.
I may no longer tarry: Fastolfe, haste!
Convey our leader to a place of safety.
No longer now can we maintain this post;
Our flying troops disperse on every side,
On, with resistless might, the maiden comes.

TALBOT.
Folly, thou conquerest, and I must yield!
Against stupidity the very gods.
Themselves contend in vain. Exalted reason,
Resplendent daughter of the head divine,
Wise foundress of the system of the world,
Guide of the stars, who art thou then if thou,
Bound to the tail of folly's uncurbed steed,
Must, vainly shrieking with the drunken crowd,
Eyes open, plunge down headlong in the abyss.
Accursed, who striveth after noble ends,
And with deliberate wisdom forms his plans!
To the fool-king belongs the world.

LIONEL.
                My lord,
But for a few brief moments can you live--
Think of your Maker!

TALBOT.
                Had we, like brave men,
Been vanquished by the brave, we might, indeed,
Console ourselves that 'twas the common lot;
For fickle fortune aye revolves her wheel.
But to be baffled by such juggling arts!
Deserved our earnest and laborious life
Not a more earnest issue?

LIONEL (extends his hand to him).
Fare you well!
The debt of honest tears I will discharge
After the battle--if I then survive.
Now Fate doth call me hence, where on the field
Her web she waveth, and dispenseth doom.
We in another world shall meet again;
For our long friendship, this a brief farewell.

        [Exit.]

TALBOT.
Soon is the struggle past, and to the earth,
To the eternal sun, I render back
These atoms, joined in me for pain and pleasure.
And of the mighty Talbot, who the world
Filled with his martial glory, there remains
Naught save a modicum of senseless dust.
Such is the end of man--the only spoil
We carry with us from life's battle-field,
Is but an insight into nothingness,
And utter scorn of all which once appeared
To us exalted and desirable.

SCENE VII.

        CHARLES, BURGUNDY, DUNOIS, DUCHATEL, and Soldiers.

BURGUNDY.
The trench is stormed!

DUNOIS.
                The victory is ours!

CHARLES (perceiving TALBOT.)
Look! Who is he, who yonder of the sun
Taketh reluctant, sorrowful farewell?
His armor indicates no common man;
Go, succor him, if aid may yet avail.

        [Soldiers of the KING'S retinue step forward.]

FASTOLFE.
Back! Stand apart! Respect the mighty dead,
Whom ye in life ne'er ventured to approach!

BURGUNDY.
What do I see? Lord Talbot in his blood!

        [He approaches him. TALBOT gazes fixedly at him, and dies.

FASTOLFE.
Traitor, avaunt! Let not the sight of thee
Poison the dying hero's parting glance.

DUNOIS.
Resistless hero! Dread-inspiring Talbot!
Does such a narrow space suffice thee now,
And this vast kingdom could not satisfy
The large ambition of thy giant soul!
Now first I can salute you, sire, as king:
The diadem but tottered on your brow,
While yet a spirit tenanted this clay.

CHARLES (after contemplating the body in silence).
A higher power hath vanquished him, not we!
He lies upon the soil of France, as lies
The hero on the shield he would not quit.
Well, peace be with his ashes! Bear him hence!

        [Soldiers take up the body and carry it away.

Here in the heart of France, where his career
Of conquest ended, let his relics lie!
So far no hostile sword attained before.
A fitting tomb shall memorize his name;
His epitaph the spot whereon he fell.

FASTOLFE (yielding his sword).
I am your prisoner, sir.

CHARLES (returning his sword).
                Not so! Rude war
Respects each pious office; you are free
To render the last honors to the dead,
Go now, Duchatel--still my Agnes trembles--
Hasten to snatch her from anxiety--
Bring her the tidings of our victory,
And usher her in triumph into Rheims!

        [Exit DUCHATEL.]

SCENE VIII.

        The same. LA HIRE.

DUNOIS.
La Hire, where is the maiden?

LA HIRE.
                That I ask
Of you; I left her fighting by your side.

DUNOIS.
I thought she was protected by your arm,
When I departed to assist the king.

BURGUNDY.
Not long ago I saw her banner wave
Amidst the thickest of the hostile ranks.

DUNOIS.
Alas! where is she? Evil I forebode?
Come, let us haste to rescue her. I fear
Her daring soul hath led her on too far;
Alone she combats in the midst of foes,
And without succor yieldeth to the crowd.

CHARLES.
Haste to her rescue!

LA HIRE.
                Come!

BURGUNDY.
                We follow all!

        [Exit.]

        [They retire in haste. A deserted part of the
        battle-field. In the distance are seen the towers
        of Rheims illumined by the sun.]

SCENE IX.

        A KNIGHT in black armor, with closed visor. JOHANNA follows
        him to the front of the stage, where he stops and awaits her.

JOHANNA.
Deluder! now I see thy stratagem!
Thou hast deceitfully, through seeming flight,
Allured me from the battle, doom and death
Averting thus from many a British head.
Destruction now doth overtake thyself.

BLACK KNIGHT.
Why dost thou follow after me and track
My steps with quenchless rage? I am not doomed
To perish by thy hand.

JOHANNA.
                Deep in my soul
I hate thee as the night, which is thy color;
To blot thee out from the fair light of day
An irresistible desire impels me.
Who art thou? Raise thy visor. I had said
That thou wert Talbot had I not myself
Seen warlike Talbot in the battle fall.

BLACK KNIGHT.
Is the divining-spirit mute in thee?

JOHANNA.
His voice speaks loudly in my spirit's depth
The near approach of woe.

BLACK KNIGHT.
                Johanna D'Arc!
Borne on the wings of conquest, thou hast reached
The gates of Rheims. Let thy achieved renown
Content thee. Fortune, like thy slave, till now
Hath followed thee; dismiss her, ere in wrath
She free herself; fidelity she hates;
She serveth none with constancy till death.

JOHANNA.
Why check me in the midst of my career?
Why bid me falter and forsake my work?
I will complete it and fulfil my vow!

BLACK KNIGHT.
Nothing can thee, thou mighty one, withstand,
In battle thou art aye invincible.
But henceforth shun the fight; attend my warning.

JOHANNA.
Not from my hand will I resign this sword
Till haughty England's prostrate in the dust.

BLACK KNIGHT.
Behold! there Rheims ariseth with its towers,
The goal and end of thy career. Thou seest
The lofty minster's sun-illumined dome;
Thou in triumphal pomp wouldst enter there,
Thy monarch crown, and ratify thy vow.
Enter not there! Return! Attend my warning!

JOHANNA.
What art thou, double-tongued, deceitful being,
Who wouldst bewilder and appal me? Speak!
By what authority dost thou presume
To greet me with fallacious oracles?

        [The BLACK KNIGHT is about to depart, she steps in his way.]

No, thou shalt speak, or perish by my hand!

        [She endeavors to strike him.]

BLACK KNIGHT (touches her with his hand, she remains motionless).
Slay what is mortal!

        [Darkness, thunder and lightning. The KNIGHT sinks into the earth.]

JOHANNA (stands at first in amazement, but soon recovers herself).
'Twas nothing living. 'Twas a base delusion,
An instrument of hell, a juggling fiend,
Uprisen hither from the fiery pool
To shake and terrify my steadfast heart.
Wielding the sword of God, whom should I fear!
I will triumphantly achieve my work.
My courage should not waver, should not fail
Were hell itself to champion me to fight!

        [She is about to depart.]

SCENE X.

        LIONEL, JOHANNA.

LIONEL.
Accursed one, prepare thee for the fight!
Not both of us shall quit this field alive.
Thou hast destroyed the bravest of our host
The noble Talbot hath his mighty soul
Breathed forth upon my bosom. I'll avenge
The hero, or participate his doom.
And wouldst thou know who brings thee glory now,
Whether he live or die,--I'm Lionel,
The sole survivor of the English chiefs,
And still unconquered is this valiant arm.

        [He rushes upon her; after a short combat she strikes
        the sword out of his hand.]

Perfidious fortune!

        [He wrestles with her. JOHANNA seizes him by the crest
        and tears open his helmet; his face is thus exposed;
        at the same time she draws her sword with her right hand.]

JOHANNA.
                Suffer, what thou soughtest!
The Virgin sacrifices thee through me!

        [At this moment she gazes in his face. His aspect
        softens her, she remains motionless and slowly lets
        her arm sink.

LIONEL.
Why linger, why withhold the stroke of death?
My glory thou hast taken--take my life!
I want no mercy, I am in thy power.

        [She makes him a sign with her hand to fly.]

How! shall I fly and owe my life to thee?
No, I would rather die.

JOHANNA (with averted face).
        I will not know
That ever thou didst owe thy life to me.

LIONEL.
I hate alike thee and thy proffered gift.
I want no mercy--kill thine enemy
Who loathes and would have slain thee.

JOHANNA.
                Slay me, then,
And fly!

LIONEL.
                Ha! What is this?

JOHANNA (hiding her face).
                Woe's me!

LIONEL (approaching her).
        'Tis said
Thou killest all the English whom thy sword
Subdues in battle--why spare me alone?

JOHANNA (raises her sword with a rapid movement as if to strike him,
        but lets it fall quickly when she gazes on his face).
Oh, Holy Virgin!

LIONEL.
                Wherefore namest thou
The Holy Virgin? she knows naught of thee;
Heaven hath no part in thee.

JOHANNA (in the greatest anxiety).
                What have I done?
Alas! I've broke my vow!

        [She wrings her hands in despair.]

LIONEL (looks at her with sympathy and approaches her).
                Unhappy maid!
I pity thee! Thy sorrow touches me;
Thou hast shown mercy unto me alone,
My hatred yielded unto sympathy!
Who art thou, and whence comest thou?

JOHANNA.
                Away!

LIONEL.
Thy youth, thy beauty, move my soul to pity!
Thy look sinks in my heart. I fain would save thee!
How may I do so? tell me. Come! oh, come!
Renounce this fearful league--throw down these arms!

JOHANNA.
I am unworthy now to carry them!

LIONEL.
Then throw them from thee--quick! come, follow me!

JOHANNA (with horror).
How! follow thee!

LIONEL.
        Thou may'st be saved. Oh, come!
I will deliver thee, but linger not.
Strange sorrow for thy sake doth seize my heart,
Unspeakable desire to rescue thee----

        [He seizes her arm.]

JOHANNA.
The Bastard comes! 'Tis they! They seek for me!
If they should find thee----

LIONEL.
                I'll defend thee, maid.

JOHANNA.
I die if thou shouldst perish by their hands!

LIONEL.
Am I then dear to thee?

JOHANNA.
                Ye heavenly powers!

LIONEL.
Shall I again behold thee--hear from thee?

JOHANNA.
No! never!

LIONEL.
        Thus this sword I seize in pledge
That I again behold thee!

        [He snatches her sword.]

JOHANNA.
                Madman, hold!
Thou darest?

LIONEL.
Now I yield to force--again
I'll see thee!
        [He retires.]

SCENE XI.

        JOHANNA, DUNOIS, LA HIRE.

LA HIRE.
                It is she! The maiden lives!

DUNOIS.
Fear not, Johanna! friends are at thy side.

LA HIRE.
Is not that Lionel who yonder flies?

DUNOIS.
Let him escape! Maiden, the righteous cause
Hath triumphed now. Rheims opens wide its gates;
The joyous crowds pour forth to meet their king.

LA HIRE.
What ails thee, maiden? She grows pale--she sinks!

        [JOHANNA grows dizzy, and is about to fall.]

DUNOIS.
She's wounded--rend her breastplate--'tis her arm!
The wound is not severe.

LA HIRE.
                Her blood doth flow.

JOHANNA.
Oh, that my life would stream forth with my blood!

        [She lies senseless in LA HIRE'S arms.]



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