Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

THE MAID OF ORLEANS PLAY
by Friedrich Schiller

ACT IV SCENE XI.

        THIBAUT comes forth from the crowd, and stands opposite to her.
        Many voices exclaim,--

Her father!

THIBAUT.
        Yes, her miserable father,
Who did beget her, and whom God impels
Now to accuse his daughter.

BURGUNDY.
                Ha! What's this?

DUCHATEL.
Now will the fearful truth appear!

THIBAUT (to the KING).
                Thou think'st
That thou art rescued through the power of God?
Deluded prince! Deluded multitude!
Ye have been rescued through the arts of hell!

        [All step back with horror.]

DUNOIS.
Is this man mad?

THIBAUT.
                Not I, but thou art mad.
And this wise bishop, and these noble lords,
Who think that through a weak and sinful maid
The God of heaven would reveal himself.
Come, let us see if to her father's face
She will maintain the specious, juggling arts
Wherewith she hath deluded king and people.
Now, in the name of the blest Trinity,
Belongst thou to the pure and holy ones?

        [A general silence; all eyes are fixed upon her;
        she remains motionless.]

SOREL.
God! she is dumb!

THIBAUT.
                Before that awful name,
Which even in the depths of hell is feared,
She must be silent! She a holy one,
By God commissioned? On a cursed spot
It was conceived; beneath the Druid tree
Where evil spirits have from olden time
Their Sabbath held. There her immortal soul
She bartered with the enemy of man
For transient, worldly glory. Let her bare
Her arm, and ye will see impressed thereon
The fatal marks of hell!

BURGUNDY.
                Most horrible!
Yet we must needs believe a father's words
Who 'gainst his daughter gives his evidence.

DUNOIS.
The madman cannot be believed
Who in his child brings shame upon himself.

SOREL (to JOHANNA).
Oh, maiden, speak! this fatal silence break!
We firmly trust thee! we believe in thee!
One syllable from thee, one single word
Shall be sufficient. Speak! annihilate
This horrid accusation. But declare
Thine innocence, and we will all believe thee.

        [JOHANNA remains motionless; AGNES steps back with horror.]

LA HIRE.
She's frightened. Horror and astonishment
Impede her utterance. Before a charge
So horrible e'en innocence must tremble.

        [He approaches her.]

Collect thyself, Johanna! innocence
Hath a triumphant look, whose lightning flash
Strikes slander to the earth! In noble wrath
Arise! look up, and punish this base doubt,
An insult to thy holy innocence.

        [JOHANNA remains motionless; LA HIRE steps back;
        the excitement increases.]
DUNOIS.
Why do the people fear, the princes tremble?
I'll stake my honor on her innocence!
Here on the ground I throw my knightly gage;
Who now will venture to maintain her guilt?

        [A loud clap of thunder; all are horror-struck.]

THIBAUT.
Answer, by Him whose thunders roll above!
Give me the lie! Proclaim thine innocence;
Say that the enemy hath not thy heart!

        [Another clap of thunder, louder than the first;
        the people fly on all sides.]

BURGUNDY.
God guard and save us! What appalling signs!

DUCHATEL (to the KING).
Come, come, my king! Forsake this fearful place!

ARCHBISHOP (to JOHANNA).
I ask thee in God's name. Art thou thus silent
From consciousness of innocence or guilt?
If in thy favor the dread thunder speaks,
Touch with thy hand this cross, and give a sign!

        [JOHANNA remains motionless. More violent peals of thunder.
        The KING, AGNES SOREL, the ARCHBISHOP, BURGUNDY, LA HIRE,
        DUCHATEL retire.]

RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS       Continue to ACT 4 SCENE 12 Maid of Orleans

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