Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

THE MAID OF ORLEANS PLAY
by Friedrich Schiller

ACT V SCENE XIV.

        Soldiers with flying banners occupy the background. Before them the
        KING and the DUKE OF BURGUNDY appear, bearing JOHANNA in their arms;
        she is mortally wounded, and apparently lifeless. They advance
        slowly to the front of the stage. AGNES SOREL rushes in.

SOREL (throwing herself on the bosom of the KING).
You're free--you live--I have you back again!

KING.
Yes, I am free--I am so at this price!

        [Pointing to JOHANNA.]

SOREL.
Johanna! God! she's dying!

BURGUNDY.
                She is gone
An angel passeth hence! See, how she lies,
Easy and tranquil, like a sleeping child!
The peace of heaven around her features plays,
The breath of life no longer heaves her breast,
But vital warmth still lingers in her hand.

KING.
She's gone! She never will awaken more,
Her eye will gaze no more on earthly things.
She soars on high, a spirit glorified,
She seeth not our grief, our penitence.

SOREL.
Her eyes unclose--she lives!

BURGUNDY (in astonishment).
                Can she return
Back from the grave, triumphant e'en o'er death?
She riseth up! She standeth!

JOHANNA (standing up, and looking round).
                Where am I?

BURGUNDY.
With thine own people, maiden--with thy friends!

KING.
Supported by thy friend, and by thy king.

JOHANNA (after looking at him fixedly for some time).
No! I am not a sorceress! Indeed
I am not one.

KING.
                Thou'rt holy, as an angel;
A cloud of error dimmed our mental sight.

JOHANNA (gazing round her with a joyful smile).
And am I really, then, among my friends,
And am no more rejected and despised?
They curse me not--kindly they look on me!
--Yes, all around me now seems clear again!
That is my king!--the banners these of France!
My banner I behold not--where is it?
Without my banner I dare not appear;
To me it was confided by my Lord,
And I before his throne must lay it down;
I there may show it, for I bore it truly.

KING (averting his face).
Give her the banner!

        [It is given to her. She stands quite unsupported,
        the banner in her hand. The heaven is illumined
        by a rosy light.]

JOHANNA.
See you the rainbow yonder in the air?
Its golden portals heaven doth wide unfold,
Amid the angel choir she radiant stands,
The eternal Son she claspeth to her breast,
Her arms she stretcheth forth to me in love.
How is it with me? Light clouds bear me up--
My ponderous mail becomes a winged robe;
I mount--I fly--back rolls the dwindling earth--
Brief is the sorrow--endless is the joy!

        [Her banner falls and she sinks lifeless on the ground.
        All remain for some time in speechless sorrow. Upon a
        signal from the KING, all the banners are gently placed
        over her, so that she is entirely concealed by them.]

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