Friedrich Schiller.

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

. (page 22 of 37)
Online LibraryFriedrich SchillerThe works of Frederick Schiller, translated from the German (Volume 3) → online text (page 22 of 37)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Thib. . God save the King and France ! We're peaceful folk,

Who neither wield the sword, nor rein the steed.

— Let us await the King whom victory crowns ;

The fate of battle is the voice of God.

He is our Lord who crowns himself at Eheims,

And on his head receives the holy oil.

— Come, now to work! come! and let every one

Think only of the duty of the hour !

Let the earth's great ones for the earth contend,

Untroubled we may view the desolation.

For stedfast stand the acres which we till.

The flames consume our villages, our com

Is trampled 'neath the tread of warlike steeds ;

z i


With the new spring new harvests re-appear,
And our light huts are quickly rear'd again !

[They all retire, except the Mjideii


^OHANNA {alone).

Farewell, ye mountains, ye beloved glades.
Ye lone and peaceful valleys, fare ye well !
Through you Johanna never more may stray !
For aye Johanna bids you now farewell.
Ye meads which I have water'd, and ye trees
Which I have planted, still in beauty bloom !
Farewell ye grottos, and ye crystal springs !
Sweet echo, vocal spirit of the vale.
Who sang'st responsive to my simple strain,
Johanna goes, and ne'er returns again.

Ye scenes where all my tranquil joys I knew,
For ever now I leave you far behind !
Poor foldless lambs, no shepherd now have you ?
O'er the wide heath stray henceforth unconfin'd !
For I to danger's field, of crimson hue.
Am summon 'd hence, another flock to find.
Such is to me the Spirit's liigh behest ;
No earthly vain ambition fires my breast.

For who in gloiy did on Horeb's height
Descend to Moses in the bush of flame,
And bade him go and stand in Pharaoh's sight —
Who once to Israel's pious shepherd came,
And sent him forth, his champion in the fight, —
AVho aye hath loved the lowly shepherd train, —
He, from these leafy boughs, thus spake to me,
" Go forth ! Thou shalt on earth my witness be.

" Thou in rude armour must thy limbs invest,
A plate of steel upon thy bosom wear ;
Vain earthly love may never stir thy breast.
Nor passion's sinful glow be kindled there.
Ne'er with the bride-wreath shall thy locks be dress'd
Nor on thy bosom bloom an infant fair ;


But war's triumphant glory shall be thine ;
Thy martial fame all women's shall outshine.

" For when in fight the stoutest hearts despair,
When direful ruin thi'eatens France, forlorn,
Then thou aloft my oriflamme shalt bear,
And swiftly as the reaper mows the corn,
Thou shalt lay low the haughty conqueror ;
His fortune's wheel thou rapidly shalt turn,
To Gaul's heroic sons deliv'rance bring,
Relieve beleaguer'd Eheims, and crown thy king!"

The heavenly Spirit promised me a sign ;
He sends the helmet, it hath come from him.
Its iron filleth me with strength divine,
I feel the courage of the cherubim ;
As with the rushing of a mighty ■wind
It drives me forth to join the battle's din;
The clanging trumpets sound, the chargers rear.
And the loud war-cry thunders in mine ear.

[She (joes oiU


Scene I.

The royal Residence at Chinon.

DuNOis and Do Chatel.

BuNois No longer I'll endure it. I renounce

This recreant Monarch who forsakes himself.
My valiant heart doth bleed, and I could rain
Hot tear-drops from mine eyes, that robber-swords
Partition thus the royal realm of France ;
That cities, ancient as the monarchy,
Deliver to the foe the rusty keys.
While here in idle and inglorious ease
We lose the precious season of redemption.
— Tidings of Orleans' peril reach mine ear,
Hither 1 sped from distant Normandy,
Thinking, arrayed in panoply of war,
To find the jMonarch with his marshall'd hosts ;


And find him — here ! begirt with troubadours,
And juggling knaves, engaged in solving riddles,
And ^^lanning festivals in Sorel's honour,
As brooded o'er the land profoundest peace!
— The Constable hath gone, he will not brook
Longer the spectacle of shame. — I too
Depart, and leave him to his evil fate.
D 3CH. . Here comes the King.

Scene II.
King Charles. The same.

Chas . The Constable hath sent us back his sword

And doth renounce our service. Now, by Heaveii I
He thus hath rid us of a churlish man.
Who insolently sought to lord it o'er us.

DuNois. A man is precious in such perilous times ;
I would not deal thus lightly with his loss.

Chas. . Thou speakest thus from love of opposition ;

While he was here, thou never wert his friend

DuNois. He was a tiresome, proud, vexatious fool,

"\Mio never could resolve. — For once, however,
He hath resolved. Betimes he goeth hence,
"\Miere honour can no longer be achieved.

Chas. . Thou'rt in a pleasant humour ; undisturb'd

I'll leave thee to enjoy it. — Hark, Du Chatel !
Ambassadors are here from old king Eene,
Of tuneful song the master, far renowned.
— Let them as honour 'd guests be entertain'd,
And unto each present a chain of gold.

[To the bastard
Why smilest thou Dunois ?

DuNOis. That from thy mouth

Thou shakest golden chains.

DucHATEL. Alas ! my King !

No gold existeth in thy treasuiT.

Chas. . Then gold must be procured.— It must not be
That bards unhonour'd from our court depart.
'Tis they who make our barren sceptre bloom,
'Tis they who wreath around our ft-uitless crowu
Tiife's jo^-ous branch, of never-fading green.


Reignm<:;, they justly rank themselves as kings,
Of gentle wishes they erect theii- throne,
Their harmless realm existeth not in space ;
Hence should the bard accompany the king.
Life's higher sphere the heritage of both !

DocH. My royal Liege ! I sought to spare thine ear
So' long as aid and counsel could be found ;
Now dire necessity doth loose my tongue.
— Nought hast thou now in presents to bestow,
Thou hast not where\vithal to live to-morrow !
The spring-tide of thy fortune is run out,
And lowest ebb is in thy treasury !
The soldiers, disappointed of their pay,
With sullen murmurs, threaten to retire.
My counsel faileth, not with royal splendour
But meagerly, to furnish out thy household

Chas. . My royal customs pledge, and borrow gold
From the Lombardians.

DucHATEL. Sire, thy revenues,

Thy royal customs, are for three years pledg'd.

DuNOis. And pledge meanwhile and Idngdom both are lost

Chas. . Still many rich and beauteous lands are ours.

DuNOis. So long as God and Talbot's sword permit !
When Orieaus faileth into English hands
Then with King Rene thou may'st tend thy sheep '

CuAS. . Still at this King thou lov'st to point thy jest ;
Yet 'tis this lackland Monarch, who to-day
Hath with a princely crown invested me.

DtiNois. Not, in the name of heaven, with that of Naples,
Which is for sale, I hear, since he kept sheep.

Chas. It is a sportive festival, a jest.

Wherein he giveth to his fancy play.

To found a world all innocent and pure

In this barbaric, i*ude reality.

Yet noble — ay, right royal is his aim !

He -will again restore the golden age.

When gentle manners reigned, when faithful lo

The heroic hearts of valiant knights inspired,

And noble women, whose accomplished taste

Diffuseth grace around, in judgment sat.

The old man dwelleth in those bygone times,


And in our workday world would realize
The dreams of ancient bards, who picture life
'Mid liowers celcibtial, thron'd on golden clouds. —
He hath established hence a court of love,
Where valiant knights may dwell, and homage yield
To noble women, who are there enthroned,
And where pure love and true may find a home.
Me he hath chosen as the prince of Love.

DONOis. I am not such a base degenerate churl,
As Love's dominion rudely to assail.
I am her son, from her derive my name,
And in her kingdom lies my heritage.
The prince of Orleans was my sire, and while
No woman's heart was proof against his love,
No hostile fortress could withstand his shock !
Wilt thou, indeed, with honour name thyself
The prince of Love — be bravest of the brave !
As I have read in those old chronicles,
Love aye went coupled with heroic deeds.
And valiant heroes, not inglorious shepherds.
So legends tell us, graced king Arthur's board
The man whose valour is not beauty's shield,
Is all unworthy of her golden prize.
Here the arena ! —combat for the crown.
Thy royal heritage !— with knightly sword
Thy lady's honour and thy realm defend —
And hast thou with hot valour snatch'd the crown
From streams of hostile blood, — then is the time,
And it would well become thee as a prince.
Love's myrtle chaplet round thy brows to wreathe.

Chables [to a Page, who enters).
What is the matter ?

Page. Senators from Orleans

Entreat an audience, Sire.

Charles. Conduct them hither !

[Page retires
Doubtless they succour need ; what can I do,
Mvself all-succourless !


Scene III.

The same. Three Senators.

Chas. Welcome, my trusty citizens of Orleans !

What tidings bring ye from my faithful town ?
Doth she continue with her wonted zeal
Still bravely to withstand the leagueiing foe ?

Senat. , Ah, Sire ! the city's peril is exti-eme ;
And giant niin, waxing hour by hour,
Still onward strides. The bulwarks are destroyed- -
The foe, at each assault, advantage gains ;
Bare of defenders are the city walls,
For with rash valour forth our soldiers rush.
While few, alas ! return to view their homes,
And famines scourge impendeth o'er the town.
In this extremity, the noble Count
Of Rochepierre, commander of the town,
Hath made a compact with the enemy.
According to old custom, to yield up.
On the twelfth day, the city to the foe.
Unless, meanwhile, before the town appeeir
A host of magnitude to raise the siege.

[DtTNOis manifests the strongest indignation

Chas. . The interval is brief.

Senator We hither come,

Attended by a hostile retinue.
To implore thee, Sire, to pity thy poor town,
And to send succour ere the appointed day,
When, if still unrelieved, she must surrender.

DuNOis. And could Saiutrailles consent to give his voice
To such a shameful compact ?

Senator. Never, Sir!

Long as the hero liv'd. none dared to breathe
A single word of treaty, or surrender.

DuNOis. He then is dead ?

Senator The noble hero fell,

His Monarch's cause defending, on our walls.

Chas. . Wi\a.t ! Saiutrailles dead ! Oh, in that single man
A host is founder'd !

[A Knight enters and speaks apart with DuNOis,
\joho starts with suprrise.


DuNOis. That too !

Charles. Well! What is it?

Dubois. Count Douglas sendeth here. The Scottish troops
Revolt, and threaten to retire at once,
Unless their full arrears are paid to-day.

Chas. . Du Chatel!

Du Chatel [shrugs his shoulders).

Sire ! I know not what to counsel.

Chas. . Pledge, promise all, even unto half my realm. —

Chat. . 'Tis vain ! They have been fed with hope too often !

Chas. . They are the finest troops of all my host !
They must not now, not novv' abandon me !

Senator {throwing himself at the KiNo's/eef).

Oh, King, assist us ! Think of our distress !

Charles {in despair).

How ! Can I summon armies from the earth r
Or grow a cornfield on my open palm ?
Rend me in pieces ! — Pluck my bleeding heart
Forth from my breast, and coin it 'stead of gold !
I've blood for you, but neither coin, nor troops.

\H.e sees Sorel approach, and hastens touardt
her with outstretched arms.

Scene IV.
The same. Agnes Sorel, a casket in her hand

Chas . My Agnes ! Oh, my love ! my dearest life !

Thou comest here to snatch me from despair !

Refuge I take within thy loving arms ;

Possessing thee, I feel that nought is lost.
ScREL. My King, beloved !

[Looking around tvith an anxious, inquiring gaz«
Dunois ! Say, is it true,

Du Chatel ?
Du Chatei.. 'Tis alas !

SoREL. So great the need?

No treasure left ? The soldiers will disband ?
Chat. . Alas ! it is too true !
Sorel [giving him the casket). Here — here is gold,

Here too are jewels ! Melt my silver down !

Sell, pledge my castles — on my fair domains


In Provence, treasui'e raise — turn all to gold,
Appease the troops ! No time is to be lost !

[She urges him to depart

Chas. . Well now, Dunois ! Du Chatel ! Do ye still
Account me poor, when I possess the crown
Of womankind ? — She's nobly born as I ;
The royal blood of Valois not more pure ;
The most exalted throne she would adorn —
Yet she rejects it with disdain, and claims
No other title than to be my love.
No gift more costly will she e'er receive
Than early flower in winter, or rare fruit!
No sacrifice, on my part, she permits,
Yet sacrificeth all she hath to me !
With generous spirit she doth venture all
Her wealth and fortune in my sinking bark.

Dunois. Ay, she is mad indeed, my Eng, as thou ;
She throws her all into a burning house,
And draweth water in the leaky vessel
Of the Danaides. Thee she will not save,
And in thy ruin but involve herself. —

So3EL. . Believe him not ! Full many a time he hath
Perill'd his life for thee, and now forsooth,
Chafeth, because I risk my worthless gold!
How ? Have I freely sacrificed to thee
What is esteemed far more than gold and pearls,
And shall I now hold back the gifts of fortune ?
Oh, come ! Let my example challenge thee
To noble self-denial! Let 's at once
Cast off the needless ornaments of life !
Thy courtiers metamorphose into soldiers ;
Thy gold transmute to iron ; all thou hast,
With resolute daring, venture for thy crown !
Peril and want we will participate !
Let us bestride the war-horse, and expose
Our tender person to the fiery glow
Of the hot sun, take for our canopy
The clouds above, and make the stones our pillow.
The rudest warrior, when he sees his King
Bear hardship and privation like the meanest,
Will patiently endure his own hard lot!


Chart ES {laughing).

Ay ! now is realized an ancient word

Of prophecy, once uttered by a nun

Of Clairmont, in prophetic mood, wlio said,

That through a woman's aid I o'er my foes

Should triumph, and achieve my fatha/'s crown.

Far off 1 sought her in the English camp;

I strove to reconcile a mother's lieart ;

Here stands the heroine — mv guide to Rheims !

My Agnes ! I shall triumph through thy love !

SoREL. Thou'lt triumph through the valiant swords of friends

Chas. . And from my foes" dissensions much I hope —
For sure intelligence hath reach 'd mine ear,
That 'twixt these English lords and Burgundy
Things do not stand precisely as they did ; —
Hence to the duke I have despatch'd La Hire,
To try if he can lead my angry vassal
Back to his ancient loyalty and faith : —
Each moment now I look for his return.

Du Chatel [at the ivindoic).

A knight e'en now dismounteth in the court.

Chas. . A welcome messenger! We soon shall learn
Whether we're doomed to conquer or to yield.

Scene V.
The same. La Hire.

Charles (meeting hitii).

Hope bringest thou, or not ? Be brief. La Hire I
Out with thy tidings ! What must we expect ?

Hire. . Expect nought, Sire, save from thine own good

Chas . The haughty duke will not be reconciled !
Speak ! How did he receive my embassy ?

Hire. . His first and unconditional demand.

Ere he consent to listen to thine errand,

Is that Du Chatel be deliver'd up,

Whom he doth name the murderer of his Sire.

Chas . This base condition we reject with scorn !

Hire. . Then be the league dissolved ere it commence !

Chas. . Hast thou thereon, as I commanded thee.

.■<C. v.] THK MAID OF ORLEANS. 349

Challenged the duke to meet me in Mr fight
On J\Iontereau's bridge, -vN-hereon his father fell ?

Hire. Before him on the ground I flung thy glove,

And said : — " Thou wouldst forget thy majesty,
And like a knight do battle for thy realm."
He scornfully rejoined — " He needed not
To fight for that which he possess'd already.
But if thou wert so eager for the fray,
Before the walls of Orleans thou wouldst find him,
"Whither he purposed going on the morrow ;"
Thereon he laughing tum'd his back upon me.

Chas. Say, did not justice raise her sacred voice,
Within the precincts of my Parliament?

Hire. . The rage of party. Sire, hath silenc'd her.
An edict of the Parliament declares
Thee, and thy race, excluded from the throne

DuNOis. These upstart burghers' haughty insolence !

Chas. . Hast thou attempted with my mother aught ?

Hire. . With her?

Charles. Ay! How did she demean herself''

La Hire [after a few moments' reflection).

I chanced to step within St. Denis' walls

Precisely at the royal coronation.

The crowds were dress 'd as for a festival ;

Triumphal arches rose in eveiy street

Through which the English monarch was to pass.

The way was strewed with flowers, and with huzicaf

As France some brilliant conquest had achieved.

The people thronged around the royal car.

SoREL. They could huzza— huzza, while trampling thus
Upon a gracious sovereign's loving heait !

Hire. . 1 saw young HaiTy Lancaster — the boy —
On good St. Lewis' regal chair enthroned ;
On either side his haughty uncles stood,
Bedford and Gloucester, and before him kneeled.
To render homage for his lands, Duke Philip.

Chas. . O peer dishonour "d ! unworthy cousin !

Hire. . The child was timid, aod his footing lost

As up the steps he mounted towards the throne.
An evil omen ! murmured forth the crowd,
And scornful laughter burst on every sido.


Then forward stepped Queen Isabel— thy mother,
And — but it angers me to utter it !

Charles. Sav cm.

Hire. . Within her arms she clasped the boy.

And herself placed him on thy father's throne.

Chas. . Oh, mother ! mother !

La Hire. E'en the murderous bauds

Of the Burgundians. at this spectacle.
Evinced some tokens of mdignant shame.
The Queen perceived it, and addressed the crowds.
Exclaimmg with loud voice : " Be grate 1, French

That I engraft upon a sickly stock
A healthy scion, and redeem you from
The misbegotten son of a mad Sire '■ "

[The KiXG Jiides his face ; Agnes hastens t'.a-ardi
him and clasps him in her arms ; all the by-
standers express aversion and horror.

DuNois. She-wolf of France ! Rage-breathing Megara !

Charles (after a pause to the senators).

Yourselves have heard the posture ot affairs.
Delay no longer, back return to Orleans,
And bear this message to my faithful town •
I do absolve my subjects from their oath,
Their own best interests let them now consult.
And yield them to the Duke of Burgundy ;
'Yclept the Good, he needs must prove humane.

DuNOis. What say'st thou. Sire ? Thou wilt abandon Orleans 1

Senator (kneels down).

My King ! Abandon not thy faithful town !
Consign her not to England's harsh control
She is a precious jewel in thy crown,
And none hath more inviolate faith maintain'd
Towards the kings, thy royal ancestors.

DuNOis. Have we been routed? Is it lawful, Sire,
To leave the English masters of the iield.
Without a single stroke to save the town ?
And thinkest thnu, with careless breath, forsooth.
Ere blood hath flowed, rashly to give away
The fairest city from the heart of France '?

Chas Blood hath been poured forth freely, and in vain J





The hand tf Heaven is visibly against me :
In every battle is my host o'erthrown,
I am rejected of my parliament,
My capital, my people, hail my foe,
Those of my blood, — my nearest relatives,- -
Forsake me and betray — and my own mother
Doth nurture at her breast the hostile brood.
— Beyond the Loire we will retire, and yield
To the ermastering hand of destiny
Which sideth with the English.

God forbid

That we in weak despair should quit this realm !
This utterance came not from thy heait, my King
Thy noble heart, which hath been sorely riven
By the fell deed of thy unnatural mother !
Thou'lt be thyself again, right valiantly
Thou'lt battle with thine adverse destiny,
Which doth oppose thee with relentless ire.
Charles [lost in gloomy thought).

Is it not true ? A dark and ominous doom

Impendeth o'er the heaven-abandon'd house

Of Valois — there preside the avenging powers.

To whom a mothers crimes unbarr'd the way.

For thirty years my sire in madness rav'd ;

Already have three elder brothers been

Mow'd down by death ; 'tis the decree of Heaven,

The house of the Sixth Charles is doom'd to fall

In thee 'twill rise with renovated life !

Oh, in thyself have faith ! — Believe me, Tung,

Not vainly hath a gracious destiny

Redeem'd thee from the ruin of thy house.

And by thy brethren's death exalted thee.

The youngest boni, to an unlook'd for throne.

Heaven in thy gentle spirit hath prepared

The leech to remedy the thousand ills

By party rage inflicted on the land.

The flames of ci^'il discord thou wilt quench.

And my heart tells me, thou'lt establish peace,

And found anew the monarchy of France.

Not I ! The rude and storm-vexed times require

A pilot formed by nature to command.

A peaceful nation I could render happy,





\0T [.

A wild rebellious people not subduo

I never with the sword could open hearts

Against me closed in hatred's cold reserve.

SoREL. The people's eye is dimm'd, an error bliiids them,
But this delusion mil not long endure ;
The day is not far distant, when the love,
Deep rooted in the bosom of the French,
Towards their native monarch will revive,
Together with the ancient jealousy.
Which forms a barrier 'twixt the laostile nations.
The haughty foe precipitates his doom.
Hence, with rash haste abandon not the field.
With dauntless front contest each foot of ground.
As thine own heart defend the town of Orleans !
Let every boat be sunk beneath the wave,
Each bridge be burned, sooner than cany thoe
Across the Loire, the bound'ry of thy realm.
The Stygian flood, o'er which there's no return.

Cha? . What could be done I have done. I have oflfer'd,
In single fight, to combat for my crown. —
I was refused. In vain my people bleed,
In vain my towns are levell'd with the dust.
Shall I, like that unnatural mother, see
My child in pieces severed with the sword?
No ; I forego my claim, that it may live.

DuNOis. How, Sire ! Is this fit language for a king?

Is a cro^vn thus renounced? Thy meanest subject.
For his opinion's sake, his hate and love,
Sets property and life upon a cast ;
When civil war hangs out her bloody flag
Each private end is drowned in party zeal.
The husbandman forsakes his plough, the wife
Neglects her distaff; children, and old men,
Don the rude garb of war ; the citizen
Consigns his town to the devouring flames,
The peasant bums the produce of his fields ;
And all to injure or advantage thee.
And to achieve the pui-pose of his heart.
Men show no mercy, and they wish for none,
When they at honour's call maintain the fight,
Or for their idols or their gods contend.
A truce lo such etfeminate pity, then,


Which is not suited to a monarch's breast,
— Thou didst not heedlessly provoke the wax *.
As it commenced, so let it spend its fury.
It is the lavr of destiny that nations
Should for their monarchs immolate themselves,
We Frenchmen recognise this sacred law,
Nor would annul it. Base, indeed, the nation,
That for its honour ventures not its all.

Charles {to the Senators).

You've heard my last resolve — expect no other.
May God protect you ! I can do no more.

DuNOis. As thou dost turn thy back upon thy realm.
So may the God of battle aye avert
His visage from thee. Thou forsak'st thyself,
So I forsake thee. Not the power combined
Of England and rebellious Burgundy,
Thy own mean spirit hurls thee from the throne.
Bom heroes ever were the kings of France ;
Thou wert a craven even from thy birth.

[To the Sexatobs
The King abandons you. But I will throw
Myself into your town — my father's town —
And 'neath its mins find a soldier's grave.

[He is about to depart. — Agxes Sorel detains him

Sol [to the King).

Oh let him not depart in anger from thee !
Harsh words his lips have utter'd, but his heart
Is true as gold. Tis he, himself, my King,
Who loves thee, and hath often bled for thee.
Dunois I confess, the heat of noble wrath
Made thee forget thyself — and oh, do thou
Forgive a faithful friend's o'erhasty speech !
Oome ! let me quickly reconcile your hearts,
Ere anger bursteth forth in quenchless flame !

[DuNOis looks fixedly at the King, and appears to
await an answer.

Online LibraryFriedrich SchillerThe works of Frederick Schiller, translated from the German (Volume 3) → online text (page 22 of 37)