Friedrich Schiller.

The works of Frederick Schiller, translated from the German (Volume 3) online

. (page 24 of 37)
Online LibraryFriedrich SchillerThe works of Frederick Schiller, translated from the German (Volume 3) → online text (page 24 of 37)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


In an indissoluble bond with England.
BuBG Far is my thought from treaty \\dth the Dauphin ;

But the contempt and insolent demeanour

Of haughty England I will not endure.
Isabel. Come, noble Duke ! Excuse a hasty word.

Heavy the grief which bows the general down,

And weL you know, misfortune makes unjust.

Come ! come ! embrace ; let me this fatal bretwih

Repair at once, ere it becomes eternal.
Talbot. What think you. Burgundy? A noble heart,

By reason vanquish 'd, doth confess its fault.

A wise and prudent word the Queen hath spoken

Come, let my hand, with friendly pressure, heal

The wound inflicted by my angry tongue.
Burg. . Discreet the counsel offered by the Queen !

My just wrath yieldeth to necessity.
Isabel. 'Tis well ! Now, with a brotherly embrace.

Confirm and seal the new-established bond;

And may the winds disperse what hath been spoken
[Burgundy and Talbot embrace
Lionel {contemplating the group aside).

Hail to an union by the Furies planned !
Isabel. Fate hath proved adverse, we have lost a battle

But do not, therefore, let your courage sink.

The Dauphin, in despair of heavenly aid.

Doth make alliance mth the powers of Hell ;

Vainly his soul he forfeits to the Devil,

For Hell itself cannot deliver him.

A conquering maiden leads the hostile force ;

Yours, I, myself, will lead ; to you I'll stand

In place of maiden or of prophetess
Lionel. Madame, return to Paris ! We desire

To war with trusty weapons, not with women.
Talbot. Go! go! Since your arrival in the camp.

Fortune hath fled our banners, and our course

Hath still been retrograde



8C. II. <■



THE MAID OF ORLEANS.



369



Burgundy. Depart at once !

Your presence here doth scandalize the host.
Isabel (looks from one to the other ivith astonishment).

This, Burgundy, from you ? Do you take part

Against me with these thankless English lord;? '
Burg. . Go ! go ! The thought of combating for you

Unnerves the courage of the bravest men.
Isabel. I scarce among you have establish'd peace,

And you already form a league against me I
Talbot. Go, in God's name. When you have left the camp

No devil will again appal our troops,
I SABEL. Say am I not your true confederate ?

Are we not banded in a common cause ?
Talbot. Thank God ! your cause of quarrel is not oui's.

We combat in an honourable strife.
Burg. . A father's bloody murder I avenge ;

Stern filial duty consecrates my arms.
Talbot. Confess at once ! Your conduct towards the Dauphin.

Is an offence alike to God and man.
Isabel. Curses blast him and his posterity !

The shameless son who sins against his mother I
Burg. . Ay ! to avenge a husband and a father !
Isabel. To judge his mother's conduct he presumed!
Lionel. That was, indeed, irreverent in a son !
Isabel. And me, forsooth, he banish'd from the realm !
Talbot. Urged to the measure by the public voice.
Isabel. A curse light on him if I e'er forgive him !

Rather than see him on his father's throne —
Talbot. His mother's honour you would sacrifice !
Isabel. Your feeble natures cannot comprehend

The vengeance of an outrag'd mother's heart.

Who pleasures me, I love ; who wrongs, I hate.

If he who wrongs me chance to be my son,

All the more worthy is he of my hate.

The life I gave, I will again take back

From him wlio doth, with ruthless violence,

The bosom rend which bore and nourish'd him.

Ye, who do thus make war upon the Dauphin,

What rightful cause have ye to plunder him?

What crime hath he committed against you ?

What insult are you call'd on to avenge ?

B B



870 THE MAID OF ORLEANS. [aCT II.

Ambition, paltry envy, goad yo** on ;

I have a right to hate him — he's my son.

Talbot. He feels his mother in her dire revenge !

Isabel. Mean hypocrites ! I hate you and despise.

Together with the ^Yorld, you cheat yourselves !

"With robber-hands you English seek to clutch

This realm of France, where you have no just right.

Nor equitable claim, to so much earth

As could be cover'd by your charger's hoof.

—This Duke, too, whom the people style The Good

Doth to a foreign lord, his country's foe,

For gold betray the birthland of his sires.

And yet is justice ever on your tongue.

— Hypocrisy I scorn. Such as I am,

So let the world behold me !

BuRGUNDT. It is true !

Your reputation you have well maintain'd.

Isabel. I've passions and warm blood, and as a queen
Came to this realm to live, and not to seem.
Should I have lingered out a joyless life
Because the curse of adverse destiny
To a mad consort join'd my blooming youth ?
More than my life I prize my liberty.
And who assails me here — But why should I
Stoop to dispute with you about my rights ?
Your sluggish blood flows slowly in your veins !
Strangers to pleasure, ye know only rage I
This duke too — who, throughout his whole career.
Hath waver 'd to and fro, 'twixt good and ill —
Can neither hate nor love with his whole heart
— I go to Melun. Let this gentleman,

[Pointing to Lionfj,.
Who doth my fancy please, attend me there,
To cheer my solitude, and you may work
Your own good pleasure ! I'll inquire no more
Concerning the Burgundians or the English.

[She beckons to her Page, aiid is about to re-
tire

Lionel. Rely upon us, we will send to Melun

The fairest youths whom we in battle take.

[Comijiff bnc^'-



SC. ni.] THE MAID OF OB1.EANS. 8T1

Isabel. Skilful your arm to -wield the sword of death,

Tlie French alone can round the polish 'd phrase.

[She goes out

Scene III.
Talbot, Burcjundy, Lionel

Talbot. Heavens ! What a woman !

Lionel. Now, brave generals-

Your counsel ! Shall we prosecute our flight,
Or turn, and with a bold and sudden stroke
Wipe out the foul dishonour of to-day ?

Burg. We are too weak, our soldiers are dispersed,
The recent terror still uunei-ves the host.

Talbot Blind terror, sudden impulse of a moment.
Alone occasioned our disastrous rout.
This phantom of the terror-stricken brain,
More closely view'd, will vanish into air.
My counsel, therefore, is, at break of day.
To lead the army back, across the stream,
To meet the enemvy

Burgundy Consider well —

Lionel. Your pardon I Here is nothing to consider
What we have lost we must at once retrieve,
Or look to be eternallv disgraced.

Talbot. It is resolved. To-morrow mom we fight,
This dread-inspiring phantom to destroy.
Which thus doth blind and terrify the host
Let us in fight encounter this she-devil.
If she oppose her person to our sword,
Trust me, she never will molest us more ;
If she avoid our stroke — and be assured
She will not stand tlie hazard of a battle —
Til en is the dire enchantment at an end !

Lionel. So be it ! And to me, my general, leave
This easy, bloodless combat, for I hope
Alive to take this ghost, and in my arms.
Before the Bastard's eyes — her paramour —
To bear her over to the English camp,
To be the sport and mockeiy of the host.

Burg. Make not too sure

Talbot. If she encounter me,

H B 3



872 THE MAID OF ORLEANS. iAOl II

I shall not give her such a soft embrace.
Come now, exhausted nature to restore
Through gentle sleep. At daybreak we set forth.

[They fjo out

SCEN-E IV.

Johanna, with her banner, in a helmet and breast-plate, other-
wise attired as a woman. Dunois, La Hire, Knights, and
Soldiers, appear above upon the rocky path, pass silently
over, and appear immediately after on the scene.

Johanna [to the Knights, who surround her, while the proces
sion continues above).

The wall is scaled, and we are in the camp !

Now fling aside the mantle of still niglit,

Which hitherto hath veil'd your silent march,

And your dread presence to the foe proclaim

By your loud battle cry — God and the Maiden !
AxL [exclaim aloud, amidst the loud clang of anris).

God and the Maiden ! [Drums and trumpets

Sentinels [behind the scene). The foe ! The foe ! The foe !
Johan. Ho ! torches here ! Hurl fire into the tents !

Let the devouring flames augment the horror,

While threatening death doth compass them siround '.
[Soldiers hasten on, she is about to follow.
Ddnois (holding her bach).

Thy part thou hast accomplish'd now, Johanna !

Into the camp thou hast conducted us.

The foe thou hast deliver'd in our hands.

Now from the rush of war remain apart !

The bloody consummation leave to us.
Hike. . Point out the path of conquest to the host ;

Before us, in pure hand, the banner bear.

But wield the fatal weapon not thyself;

Tempt not the treacherous god of battle, for

He rageth blindly, and he spareth not.
Johan. Who dares impede my progress ? Who presume

The Spirit to control, which guideth me ?

Still must the arrow wing its destin'd flight !

Where danger is, there must Johanna be ;

Nor now, nor here, am I foredoom'd to fiall ;



SC. v.] THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 373

Our Monarch's royal brow I first must see
Invested with the round of sovereignty.
No hostile power can rob me of my life,
Till I've accomplish 'd the commands of God.

[She goes oitt.
Hire. Come, let us follow after her, Dunois,

And let our valiant bosoms be her shield ! [Exit.

Scene V
English Soldieks hurry over the stage Afterwards TiXBOT
1 Sol. . The Maiden in the camp !
•2 Soldier. Impossible !

It cannot be ! How came she in the camp ?

3 Sol. . Why through the air! The devil aided her!

4 AND 5 Soldiers.

Fly ! fly ! We are dead men !

Talbot [enters).

They heed me not ! — They stay not at my call !

The sacred bands of discipline are loosed !

As Hell had poured her damned legions forth,

A wild distracting impulse whirls along.

In one mad throng, the cowardly and brave.

I cannot rally e'en the smallest troop

To form a bulwark 'gainst the hostile flood,

"\^Tiose raging billows press into our camp !

— Do I alone retain my sober senses.

While all around in wild delirium rave ?

To fly before these weak degenerate Frenchmen

Whom we in twenty battles have o'eithrown? —

Who is she then — the irresistible —

The dread-inspiring goddess, who doth turn

At once the tide of battle, and transform

To lions bold, a herd of timid deer?

A juggling minx, who plays the well-leam'd part

Of heroine, thus to appal the brave ?

A woman snatch from me all martial fame ?

Soldier [rushes i?i).

The Maiden comes ! Fly, general ! fly I fly '

TalKOT [Strikes him down).

Fly thou, thyself, to Hell ! This sword shall pierce
Who talks to me of fear, or coward flight !

[He goes out



374 THE MAfD Off" OfvLfiASS. fACT II.

Scene VI.
The prospect opens. The English camp is seen in flames.
Drums,flight and pursuit. After a uhile, Montgomery enters.

Montgomery {alone).

Whore shall I flee? Foes all around and death! Lo'

here
The furious general, who, with threatening sword,

prevents
Escape, and drives us back into the jaws of death.
The dreadful Maiden there— the terrible — who, like
Devouring flame, destruction spreads ; while all around
Appeal's no bush wherein to hide — no sheltering cave!
Oh, would that o'er the sea I never had come here '
Me miserable ! Empty dreams deluded me —
Cheap glory to achieve on Gallia's martial fields •
And I am guided by malignant destiny
Into this mm-d'rous fight. — Oh, were I far, far hence.
Still in my peaceful home, on Severn's flowery banks,
^^^lere in my father's house, in sorrow and in tears,
I left my mother and my fair young bride.

[Johanna appears in the distance
Wo's me ! What do I see I The dreadful form ap-
pears !
Arrayed in lurid light, she from the raging fire
Issues, as from the jaws of hell, a midnight ghost.
^Vllere shall I go ? — where flee ? Already from afar
She seizes on me with her eye of fire, and flings
Her fatal and unerring coil, whose magic folds
With ever-tightenmg pressure bind my feet, and

make
Escape impossible ! Howe'er my heart rebels,
I am compell'd to follow with my gaze that form
Of dread !

[Johanna advances towards him some steps ; and
again remains standing.

She comes ! I will not passively await
Her furious onset ! Imploringly 111 clasp
Her knees I I'll sue to her for life. She is a woman
1 may perchance to pity move her by my tears !

\While he is on the point of approaching her, sht
draws near



SC VII. 1 THE MAJD OF ORLEANS. 375

Scene VI T.
Johanna, Montgomery.

JoHAN. Prepare to die ! A British mother bore thee I

MoNTGOMERy {falls at her feet).

Fall back, terrific one ! Forbear to strike
An unprotected foe ! ]\Iy sword and shield
I've flung aside, and supplicating fall
Defenceless at thy feet. A ransom take !
Extinguish not the precious light of life !
With fair possessions crown'd, my father dwells
Tn Wales' fair land, where among verdant meuds
The winding Severn rolls his silver tide,
And fifty villages confess his sway.
With heavy gold he will redeem his son.
When he shall hear I'm in the camp of France

JoHAN Deluded mortal ! to destiniction doomed !

Thou'rt fallen in the Maiden's hand, from which

Redemption or deliverance there is none.

Had adverse fortune given thee a prey

To the fierce tiger or the crocodile —

Hadst robbed the lion-mother of her brood —

Compassion thou mightst hope to find and pity ,

But to encounter me is certain death.

For my dread compact with the sphit realm —

The stem, inviolable — bindeth me,

To slay each living thing whom battle's God,

Full charged with doom, delivers to my sword.

Mont Thy speech is fearful, but thy look is mild ;
Not dreadful art thou to contemplate near ;
My heart is drawn towards thy lovely form.
! by the mildness of thy gentle sex.
Attend my pi'ayer. Compassionate my youth.

JoHAN. Name me not woman ! Speak not of my sex !
Like to the bodiless spirits, who know nought
Of earth's humanities, J own no sex ;
Beneath this vest of steel there beats no heart

MovT. . ! by Love's sacred all pervading power,

To whom all hearts yield homage, I conjure thee
At home I left behind a gentle bride.
Beauteous as thou, and rich in blooming grace ;
Weepmg she waiteth her betrothed's return



376



THE MAID or ORLEANS.



.ACT IL



! if thvself dost ever hope to love,
If in thy love thou hopest to be happy,
Then ruthless sever not two gentle hearts,
Together linked in love's most holy bond !

JoQAN. Thou dost appeal to earthly, unkno\vn gods,

To whom I yield no homage. Of Love's bond.
By which thou dost conjure me, I know nought.
Nor ever will I know his empty semce.
Defend thy life, for death doth summon thee.

Mont. . Take pity on my sorrowing parents, whom

I left at home. Doubtless thou, too, hast left
Parents, who feel disquietude for thee.

JoHAN. Unhappy maji I thou dost remember me

How many mothers, of this land, your arms

Have rendered childless and disconsolate ;

How many gentle children fatherless ;

How many fair young brides dejected widows !

Let England's mothers now be taught despair.

And learn to weep the bitter tear, oft shed

By the bereav'd and sorrowing wives of Fmnce.

Mont. . 'Tis hard, in foreign lands to die unwept.

JoHAK Who call'd you over to this foreign land,

To waste the blooming culture of our fields.

To chase the peasant from his household he^artli

And in our cities' peaceful sanctuary

To hurl the direful thunderbolt of war ?

In the delusion of your hearts ye thought

To plunge in servitude the freeborn French,

And to attach their fair and goodly realm.

Like a small boat to your proud English bark !

Ye fools ! The royal arms of France are hung

Fast by the throne of God ; and ye as soon

From the bright wain of heaven might snatch a star

As rend a single village from this realm,

"Which shall remain in\'iolate for ever!

— The day of vengeance is at length arrived ;

Not living shall ye measure back the sea.

The sacred sea — the boundary set by God

Betwixt our hostile nations — and the which

Ye ventur'd impiously to overpass.

Montgomery [lets go her Jia)icls).

0, I must die ! I feel the grasp of death !



80. VTII.l THE MAID OF ORLEANS. S77



JoHAN. Die, friend ! Why tremble at the approach of death.
Of mortals the irrevocable doom?
Look upon me ! I'm bom a shepherd maid ;
This hand, accustom "d to the peaceful crook,
Is all unused to -wield the sword of death,
Yet, snatch'd away from childhood's peaceful haunts,
From the fond love of father and of sisters,
Ui'ged by no idle dream of earthly glory,
But Heaven-appointed to achieve your ruin,
Like a destroying angel I must roam.
Spreading dire havoc round me, and at length
Myself must fall a sacrifice to death !
Never again shall I behold my home!
Still many of your people I must slay,
Still many widows make, but I at length
Myself shall perish, and fulfil my doom.
— Now thine fulfil. Arise ! resume thy sword,
And let us fight for the sweet prize of life.

MOKTGOMERT {stajlds Up).

Now, if thoa art a mortal like myself,

Can weapons wound thee, it may be assign 'd

To this good arm to end my country's wo,

Thee sending, sorceress, to the depths of Hell.

In God's most gracious hands I leave my fate.

Accursed one! to thine assistance call

The fiends of Hell ! Now combat for thy life !

[He seizes his sword and shield, and ruahes njjon

her; martial music is heard in the distance.

— After a short confiict Montgomery /a^Zs.

Scene VIII.

Johanna (alone).

To death thy foot did bear the — fare thee well !

[She steps an ay from him and remains absorbed
in thought.
Virgin, thou workest mightily in me !
My feeble arm thou dost endue with strength,
And steep 'st my woman's heart in cruelty.
In pity melts the soul and the hand trembles.
As it did violate some sacred fane,
To mar the goodb' cerson of the foe.



878 THE MAID OF ORLEANS. [AOa fl.

Once I did shudder at the polish 'd sheath,
But when 'tis needed, I'm possess'd with strength,
And as it •were itself a thing of life,
The fatal weapon, in my trembling grasp,
Self-swayed, inflicteth the unerring stroke.

Scene IX.
A Knight icith closed visor, Johanna.

Knight. Accursed one ! thy hour of death is come !
Long have I sought thee on the battle field,
Fatal delusion ! get thee back to hell.
Whence thou didst issue forth.

Johanna. Say, who art thou.

Whom his bad genius sendeth in my way?
Princely thy port, no Briton dost thou seem.
For the Burgundian colours stripe thy shield,
Before the which my sword inclines its point.

Knight. Vile castaway ! Thou all imworthy art
To fall beneath a prince's noble hand.
The hangman's axe should thy accursed head
Cleave from thy trunk, unfit for such vile use
The royal duke of Burgimdy's brave sword.

JoHAN. Art thou indeed that noble duke himself?

Knight {raises his viso)-).

I'm he, vile creature, tremble and despair!
The arts of hell shall not protect thee more,
Thou hast till now weak dastards overcome ;
Now thou dost meet a man.

Scene X.
DuNois and La Hiee. The same.
DuNois. Hold, Burgundy !

Turn ! combat now vnth. men, and not with maid^''
Hire. . We will defend the holy prophetess ;

First must thy weapon penetrate this breast. —
Bubo. . I fear not this seducing Circe ; no.

Nor you, whom she hath changed so shamefully!

Oh blush, Dunois ! and do thou blush. La Hire I

To stoop thy valour to these hellish arts —

To be shield-bearer to a sorceress !



SC. X.] THE MAID OF ORLfUNS. S79

Come one — come all ! He only who despairs
Of Heaven's protection, seeks the aid of Hell.

[They prepare for combat, Johanna steps be-
tween

JoHAN. Forbear !

BoRGUNDT. Dost tremble for thy lover ? Thus

Before thine eyes he shall —

[He makes a thrust at DuNOis

Johanna. Dunois. forbear !

Part them, La Hire ! no blood of France must flow :
Not hostile weapons must this strife decide.
Above the stars "tis otherwise decreed.
Fall back ! I say — Attend and venerate
The Spirit, which hath seized, which speaks through
me !

Dunois. Why, Maiden, now hold back my upraised arm ?
Why check the just decision of the sword ?
My weapon pants to deal the fatal blow
Which shall avenge and heal the woes of France.
[She j)laces herself in the midst and separates tht
parties.

loHAN. Fall back, Dunois! Stand where thou art, La Hire •
Somewhat I have to say to Burgundy.

[Whe7i all is quiet
What wouldst thou, Burgundy ? Who is the foe
WTiom eagerly thy murderous glances seek ?
This pifince is, like thyself, a son of France, —
This hero is thy countryman, thy friend ;
I am a daughter of thy fatherland.
We all, whom thou art eager to destroy.
Are of thy friends ; — our longing arms prepare
To clasp, our bending knees to honour thee. —
Our sword 'gainst thee is pointless, and that face
E'en in a hostile helm is dear to us,
For there we trace the features of our Idng.

Burg. Wliat, syren ! wilt thou with seducing words
Allure thv victim ? Cunnincr sorceress.
Me thou deludest not. Mine ears are closed
Against thy treacherous words ; and vainly dart
Thy fiery glances 'gainst this mail of proof.



S80



THE MAtD OK ORLEANS



[ACT r:



OHAN,



To arms, Dunois !

With weapons let us fight, and not with words.
Dunois. First words, then weapons, Burgundy ! Do words

Witli dread inspire thee ? Tis a coward's fear.

And the betrayer of an evil cause.

'Tis not imperious necessity

Which throws us at thy feet ! We do not come

As suppliants before thee. — Look around !

The English tents are level with the ground,

And all the field is cover 'd with your slain.

Hark ! the war-trumpets of the French resound :

God hath decided — ours the victory !

Our new-cull'd laurel garland with our friend

We fain would share. — Come, noble fugitive !

Oh come where justice and where victory dwell !

Even 1, the messenger of Heaven, extend

A sister's hand to thee. I fain would save

And draw thee over to our righteous cause !

Heaven hath declared for France ! Angelic powers,

Unseen by thee, do battle for our King ;

With lilies are the holy ones adom'd.

Pure as this radiant banner is our cause ;

Its blessed symbol is the Queen of Heaven.

Falsehood's fallacious words are full of guile,

But hers are pure and simple as a child's.

If evil spirits borrow this disguise.

They copy innocence triumphantly.

I'll hear no more. To arms, Dunois ! to arms !

Mine ear, I feel, is weaker than mine arm.
JoHAN. You call me an enchantress, and accuse

Of hellish arts. — Is it the work of Hell

To heal dissension and to foster peace ?

Comes holy concord from the depths below ?

Say, what is holy, innocent, and good,

If not to combat for our fatherland?

Since when hath nature been so self-opposed.

That Heaven forsakes the just and righteous cause,

Wliile Hell protects it ? If my words are true,

Whence could I draw them but from Heaven above ?

Who ever sought me in my shepherd-walks,



Burg.



4CT UI., 8C. r.l THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 381

To teach the humble maid affairs of state ?
I ne'er have stood with princes, to these Hps
Unknown the arts of eloquence. Yet now,
When I have need of it to touch thy heart,
Insight and varied knowledge I possess ;
The fate of empires and the doom of kings
Lie clearly spread before my childish mind,
And words of thunder issue from my mouth.
BoBGUNDY {greatly moved, looks at her tcith emotion and

astonisJwient).
How is it with me ? Doth some ^eavenly power
Thus strangely stir my spirit's inmost depths ?
— This pure, this gentle creature cannot lie !
No, if enchantment blinds me, 'tis from Heaven.
My spirit tells me she is sent from God.
JoEiAN. Oh he is mov'd! I have not pray'd in vain.

Wrath's thundercloud dissolves in gentle tears.
And leaves his brow, while mercy's golden beams
Break from his eyes and gently promise peace.
— Away with arms, now clasp him to your hearts.
He weeps — he's conquer'd, he is ours once more !
[Her sword and banner fall ; she hastens to him
with . outstretched arms, and embraces him in
great agitation. La Hire aiid Dunois throw
down their swords, and hasten also to embrace
him.



ACT IIL

Residence of the King at Chalons on the Marrce.

SCEXE I.

Dunois, La Hire.

Dunois. We have been true heart-friends, brothers in arms.
Still have we battled in a common cause,
And held together amid toil and death.
Let not the love of woman rend the bond
Which hath resisted every stroke of fate.

Hire. . Hear me, my Prince 1

Dunois. You love the wondrous maid.



582 THE MAID OF ORLEANS. [aCT III.

And well I know the purpose of your heart

You think without delay to seek the King,

And to entreat him to bestow on you

Her hand in marriage. — Of your bravery

The well-earn'd guerdon, he cannot refuse

But know, — ere I behold her in the arms

Of any other —
La Hire. Listen to me, Prince !



Online LibraryFriedrich SchillerThe works of Frederick Schiller, translated from the German (Volume 3) → online text (page 24 of 37)