Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

Joan of Arc Play
by J.A. Sargant

Act 3 - Scene 1
Field of Battle

  Arlington.   Officer.

  Off. Here let us rest till morning. Like ourselves,
The foe are glad to seek that needful rest
Which victory and defeat alike demand.

  Arl. No, let us on. We yet may find it hard
To reach our friends, and Richemont hovers near us.

  Off. Whate'er the peril, here I swear to rest me.
See! the bright moon looks down upon the field,
As if in scorn to view such waste of life.

  Arl. It is a ghastly sight. Not drops of heaven
Bedew the earth, but blood of men; and blood
Has dyed the stream so deep, that thirsty lip
Of death rejects the draught it craved so wistfully.

  Off. Wide is the difference 'twixt the gallant scene
Ere fight begins, and that which marks its close:
Bright shields and dancing plumes, and brighter eyes,
And animating speech abrupt, and tramp
Of martial steed, and neigh, impatient sent,
And spirit-stirring trumpet, and the drum;
The banner waving wide, and heavy sound
Of mighty engines breathing fire, showed life
This morn in brightest mood and proudest pomp;
Now Death sits centinel in horrid silence.

  Arl. Our loss is great, and will be greater still
If we continue this unhallowed war:
Many brave men this day have breathed their last:—
Most I regret young Talbot.

  Off. Is he dead?
I saw brave Warwick rushing to his rescue.

  Arl. He came too late. From heaps of slain he snatched him,
Then bore him to a distance, yet alive;
But dews of death were gathering on his brow,
And his dim eye betrayed departure near.
He dared not turn him on his side, lest life
From that deep welling wound should 'scape too fast.
He watched the sun go down, and darker shades
O'erspread his face. Impatient now become,
Often he murmured to himself and said,
"It is too late; he will not come, and I
Must die at last without my father's blessing."

  Off. Many brave hearts will mourn for him: he was
A noble scion of a noble stem.

  Arl. We thought that he was gone, when the quick step
Of his despairing father sounded near.
Stern death relaxed his hold, and for short space
Allowed his spirit to reanimate
His chilly frame. He raised him on his side,
Clung round his father's neck, and looking on him,
Feebly he said, "Have I done well, my father?
Am I John Talbot's son?" "Too well! too well!
My brave"—was all the father could reply;
But 'twas enough—the young man caught the sound.
And dropping back his head, he smiled and died.

  Off. And his brave sire?

  Arl. As if transfixed, he gazed,
And mute—then by the body of his son
He threw him down, kissed his cold lips, and oft,
Midst sobs, he cried, "And art thou gone so soon?
Thy morning ended ere thy noon begun;
And such a noon!" but sudden on his hands
He saw the crimson stain of that dear blood,
And like a lion maddened at the sight,
His grief was checked, and springing on his feet
He seized his massy sword, and wildly rushed
Into the fight.

  Off. See figures in the dusk
Moving apace. (Two soldiers appear.)

  Arl. Let's draw aside.

  Off. They make
For yonder cottage.

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