Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

by Friedrich Schiller


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

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.

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

                'Tis, alas!

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

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.

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.

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.

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!

Thou'lt triumph through the valiant swords of friends.

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.

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

RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS       Continue to ACT 1 SCENE 5 Maid of Orleans

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