Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

Joan of Arc Play
by J.A. Sargant

Act 5 - Scene 3
An Apartment in the same. - Two Soldiers bearing Armour

  First Sol. What does it mean?

  Second Sol. What mean!—that she must die,
And some new charge too must be found against her,
Let her but wear this once again, and—

  First Sol. Folly!
How's this to tempt her?

  Second Sol. How! Do we not hang
The captive linnet who denies to sing,
In sight of his own fields and native woods,
To cheat him into song?

  First Sol. A cursed deed
Is this, and 'tis the curse of villany
To be a villain's tool—an honest man
Had ne'er received such charge.

  Second Sol. Fool—lay it down.
See what dents are in this breastplate!—observe
How bloody 'tis within: a foul wound.—

  First Sol. Peace!
A choking's in my throat, a swelling here
I might mistake for pity, if, damned thought,
Pity and I had not too long been strangers.
The prey comes!—See, the tiger's to his lair!

Enter   Beauvais.

  Beau. Begone. (Exit   Sol.) She hath withstood all former trials.
All fails to move her. Weary hours I've passed
Within her dungeon, urging all arguments,
Painting all horrors, sundry deaths to fright her.
Confession she denies—all ghostly aid,
(Sold though to hell,) and all reproof rejects.
Baffled as yet in each attempt to snare her,
This shall succeed, or be she fiend or woman.

Enter   Joan.

[  Beauvais conceals himself.
  Joan. What may this mean? Hath pity touched their breast?
Why has the dungeon's gloom been changed for light
That cheers, for air that wakens life, not chills?
Oh, beauteous light! oh, sweet and balmy breeze!
Thy Maker's smile, thy Maker's breath art thou,
And I am in His presence. Tears! the dungeon
Scarce forced one drop, one sigh of sorrow;
But now for very happiness I weep.
Surely I never felt till now the luxury
That conscious being can confer. Oh, death!
I've looked upon thee till thy form's familiar;
E'en till thy ugliness had almost vanished,
So well hath darkness and thyself agreed;
But now this gentle gale, these sunny beams,
This perfumed scent of flowers do tell a tale
Of home—of loved companions, and I sigh
To be, as I was once, a joyous child;
Although I would not live my life again
For all that sight or smell or hope could offer.
And, hark! the sound of trumpet clanging shrill—
I hear the tramp of martial feet—of horse!
My spirit bursts these walls! My country's voice
Is echoed in that swell, and my full heart
Heaves with tumultuous force to answer her.
Hours of past glory, are ye gone for ever?
Crowd ye upon my mind alone to torture me,
Or are ye pledge of wonders yet to come?
Ha!—armour here!—would that—it is my own!
Welcome, thrice welcome!—But how dimmed its brightness!
[  Beauvais advances.
And the vile spider's cast her web across it.
Off, off, and let me wipe this rust away.
I gaze, and the whole field is now before me—
Proud steeds and gallant forms, war's panoply!
Oh! happy hours, when thus I clasped thee on me—
Thus kneeling, prayed for thee, my king, my country,
Thus rising bade—defiance to the foe!

  Beau. Offspring of hell, accursed, shame of thy sex!
Incorrigible wretch! Guards, to the council,
Thus arrayed, conduct her. Hence!

  Joan. Oh! hear me!

  Beau. Not if thou wert to plead.

  Joan. I plead for nought.
Think not, howe'er, I cannot now decipher
What thy malice had suggested. I see it;
See it and pity thee.

RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS       Continue to ACT 5 SCENE 4 Joan of Arc Play

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