Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

Joan of Arc Play
by J.A. Sargant

Act 1 - Scene 5
French Camp at Orleans

  Du Nois.   Xaintrailles.

  Du N. I tell thee
It is a gross affront, and such he means it.
A woman too to lead my gallant soldiers,
And point the path of duty to myself!
I choke with indignation.

  Xaint. Hear but all.

  Du N. What more have I to hear? Behold the scrawl
That marks his folly, my disgrace. Canst read,
Or are thy eyes, like mine, made dim and blistered?
Hast nought to say? art dumb?

  Xaint. (reads the letter.) I own 'tis strange.
That she should supersede thee in command
Is more than I had thought.

  Du N. I understand
The cause too well! Charles had not dared insult me
Had I been other than I am.

  Xaint. Been other!
Who honour'd as thyself? Whose fame fills Europe?

  Du N. I tell thee truth, and this the scourge that lashes me.
The bar of bastardy is on my shield;
The bar of alienation, mock alliance,
Pride trampling on the outraged laws of decency.
Witness me, Heaven! I would prefer to date
Honest descent from humblest parentage,
Than trace within these veins the highest blood
Illegal mixed.

  Xaint. Think on thy own brave deeds—
Deeds that——

  Du N. More widely spread the guilt that shames me,
Spreading the name of bastard through the world.

  Xaint. Why, you've looked on good till 'tis become evil.
Men love distinction, or in camp or state;
And he has fortune won whose kin may serve
As staves to mount ambition's proudest ladder.

  Du N. I have no kin. What owe I to their love
That I should claim them such? The life I have?
The debt is cancelled by the shame entailed.
To me my country is both sire and mother;
And I for her such gallant deeds will work,
That should I ever boast the name of father,
My children shall exult in their descent,
And swear by France, by honour, and their sire.

  Xaint. No more! She comes! Now smooth thy ruffled brow;
And let thy courtesy, at least, ne'er blush
For thy neglect.

  Du N. I will not meet her here.
If I be mocked, 't shall be where all may see it,
And learn with me to ridicule the cheat.


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