Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

THE MAID OF ORLEANS PLAY
by Friedrich Schiller

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.

RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS       Continue to ACT 2 SCENE 2 Maid of Orleans

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