Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

Joan of Arc Play
by J.A. Sargant

Act 3 - Scene 2
A Cottage

  Widow of Camouse.

  Wid. Half light, half dark. Oh, would that reason's lamp
Were utterly extinct, and I could lose
The sense that thus I am a tomb to self,
Where the dim taper only shows its gloom.
Then I should feel no more, no longer mourn,
And my poor heart would cease to throb, my head
To burn. One,—three are gone, and now the last.
I have no more to lose!
I'll lay him in the bed these hands have dug,
(I've kiss'd his eyes to sleep,) and then I'll seek
The spirits of my lord and other boys,
And bring them here to see, how, e'en in poverty,
I've made a home fitting Camouse's son.
E'en now I lose myself, and at my folly
Smile while I weep. But hark! what steps are these?
I must within and guard.

Enter   Two Soldiers.

  First Sol. Stay! we are hungry and thirsty.—What have you to give us to eat?

  Wid. My food is woe; and such my appetite
I am not to be cloyed, though e'en to surfeit
I've been supplied.

  Second Sol. Her words are strange—her manner is stranger still.—
Hunger is not nice, to be sure.

  First Sol. I see but little chance of satisfying hunger here.

  Second Sol. Ho! there is a smell of wine!—produce it!—come! quick!
Our master is at hand.

  Wid. Those arms upon their shields!
Away! no longer blast me with your sight.

  First Sol. When we have got what we wish, we will.—The wine, the wine, or look, this shall find it. (draws his sword.)

  Wid. Think you I care for threat of you, or yours?
Back with your sword; I fear ye not, I tell you;
And mark! a fiercer thirst ye all shall have,
Nor find one drop to cool your burning tongue.

  Second Sol. Don't exasperate her; these are strange times, and—

  First Sol. Pshaw! the wine we'll have!

  Wid. Search for it, then—so wondrous keen your longing.
No need have ye of guide. [  Soldiers enter the inner apartment.
Does vengeance sleep?
Or will not e'en the dead arise in wrath,
And punish the intrusion? [  Soldiers return.
Why that look?
What have ye seen to discompose ye thus?
A ghastly corpse? What's that to men like you?
Hast found the wine? I see ye have.
[  Soldiers shuddershe laughs.
How now!
What! was it not delicious to the taste?
The flavour surely should have charmed your palate;
Quick to detect its excellence and merit.
Know ye what 'tis? 'Tis blood! blood of my son,
Whose sire your treacherous master slew: for blood
Ye thirsted once, and blood ye now have drunk.

  Sol. She's mad! She does not know what she says.

  Wid. I tell ye truth. If I be mad, 'tis ye
Have made me so.

  Sol. 'Tis false! we do not even know you.

  Wid. No matter if ye don't.
I know you well—too well! Ye're Richemont's slaves.
Yon was my son: time was when I had four;
Where are they now? With him your master murdered!
Do maniacs know what wakes their frenzy?
Why then is madness cursed, accursed doubly.
Saw ye his wounds? gaped they not wide? didst mark?
I would have washed them in the stream hard by,
Had it not crimson flowed, and the foul taint
Of many a blackened corpse corrupted it.
What could I do? I washed them in the wine
I had reserved to cheer his bridal day.
I never, never thought ye would have pledged him
On his cold bier. Now from my sight be gone,
Lest haply I should wither you with curses
Before the time. [Exeunt   Soldiers.
I am alone—'tis well!
But, oh! this burning brow, the weight that's here!
I'll to the dead—would I were dead also!
But said they not that Richemont too was near?
I'll hang upon his steps, and breathe my vengeance
On his head before I die.

RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS       Continue to ACT 3 SCENE 3 Joan of Arc Play

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