Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

THE MAID OF ORLEANS PLAY
by Friedrich Schiller

ACT V SCENE XI.

        ISABEL, JOHANNA, SOLDIERS.

JOHANNA.
Ay! that I will! no power can hinder me.
Hark to that sound, the war-march of my people!
How its triumphant notes inspire my heart!
Ruin to England! victory to France!
Up, valiant countrymen! The maid is near;
She cannot, as of yore, before you bear
Her banner--she is bound with heavy chains;
But freely from her prison soars her soul,
Upon the pinions of your battle-song.

ISABEL (to a SOLDIER).
Ascend the watch-tower which commands the field,
And thence report the progress of the fight.

        [SOLDIER ascends.]

JOHANNA.
Courage, my people! 'Tis the final struggle--
Another victory, and the foe lies low!

ISABEL.
What see'st thou?

SOLDIER.
                They're already in close fight.
A furious warrior on a Barbary steed,
In tiger's skin, leads forward the gens d'armes.

JOHANNA.
That's Count Dunois! on, gallant warrior!
Conquest goes with thee.

SOLDIER.
                The Burgundian duke
Attacks the bridge.

ISABEL.
                Would that ten hostile spears
Might his perfidious heart transfix, the traitor!

SOLDIER.
Lord Fastolfe gallantly opposes him.
Now they dismount--they combat man to man
Our people and the troops of Burgundy.

ISABEL.
Behold'st thou not the Dauphin? See'st thou not
The royal wave?

SOLDIER.
                A cloud of dust
Shrouds everything. I can distinguish naught.

JOHANNA.
Had he my eyes, or stood I there aloft,
The smallest speck would not elude my gaze!
The wild fowl I can number on the wing,
And mark the falcon in his towering flight.

SOLDIER.
There is a fearful tumult near the trench;
The chiefs, it seems, the nobles, combat there.

ISABEL.
Still doth our banner wave?

SOLDIER.
                It proudly floats.

JOHANNA.
Could I look through the loopholes of the wall,
I with my lance the battle would control.

SOLDIER.
Alas! What do I see? Our general's
Surrounded by the foe!

ISABEL (points the dagger at JOHANNA).
                Die, wretch!

SOLDIER (quickly).
                He's free!
The gallant Fastolfe in the rear attacks
The enemy--he breaks their serried ranks.

ISABEL (withdrawing the dagger).
There spoke thy angel!

SOLDIER.
                Victory! They fly.

ISABEL.
Who fly?

SOLDIER.
                The French and the Burgundians fly;
The field is covered o'er with fugitives.

JOHANNA.
My God! Thou wilt not thus abandon me!

SOLDIER.
Yonder they lead a sorely wounded knight;
The people rush to aid him--he's a prince.

ISABEL.
One of our country, or a son of France?

SOLDIER.
They loose his helmet--it is Count Dunois.

JOHANNA (seizes her fetters with convulsive violence).
And I am nothing but a fettered woman!

SOLDIER.
Look yonder! Who the azure mantle wears
Bordered with gold?

JOHANNA.
                That is my lord, the king.

SOLDIER.
His horse is restive, plunges, rears and falls--
He struggles hard to extricate himself.

        [JOHANNA accompanies these words with passionate movements.]

Our troops are pressing on in full career,
They near him, reach him--they surround him now.

JOHANNA.
Oh, have the heavens above no angels more!

ISABEL (laughing scornfully).
Now is the time, deliverer--now deliver!

JOHANNA (throws herself upon her knees, and prays with passionate
        violence).
Hear me, O God, in my extremity!
In fervent supplication up to Thee,
Up to thy heaven above I send my soul.
The fragile texture of a spider's web,
As a ship's cable, thou canst render strong;
Easy it is to thine omnipotence
To change these fetters into spider's webs--
Command it, and these massy chains shall fall,
And these thick walls be rent, Thou, Lord of old,
Didst strengthen Samson, when enchained and blind
He bore the bitter scorn of his proud foes.
Trusting in thee, he seized with mighty power
The pillars of his prison, bowed himself,
And overthrew the structure.

SOLDIER.
                Triumph!
ISABEL.
                How?
SOLDIER.
The king is taken!

JOHANNA (springing up).
                Then God be gracious to me!

        [She seizes her chains violently with both hands, and
        breaks them asunder. At the same moment rushing upon the
        nearest soldier, she seizes his sword and hurries out.
        All gaze after her, transfixed with astonishment.

RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS       Continue to ACT 5 SCENE 12 Maid of Orleans

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