Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

THE MAID OF ORLEANS PLAY
by Friedrich Schiller

ACT I 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.]

RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS       Continue to ACT 1 SCENE 4 Maid of Orleans

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