Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

by Friedrich Schiller



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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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

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.

'Tis hard in foreign lands to die unwept.

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!

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.]

RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS       Continue to ACT 2 SCENE 8 Maid of Orleans

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