Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

THE MAID OF ORLEANS PLAY
by Friedrich Schiller

ACT II 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.]

RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS       Continue to ACT 3 SCENE 1 Maid of Orleans

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