Joan of Arc and her Judge

Judge . After due hearing in our court supreme
Of temporal and spiritual lords,
Condemn'd art thou to perish at the stake
By fire, forerunner of the flames below.
Hearest thou? Art thou stunn'd? Art thou gone mad?
Witch! think not to escape and fly away,
As some the like of thee, 'tis said, have done.
Joan . The fire will aid my spirit to escape.
Judge . Listen, ye lords. Her spirit! Hear ye that?
She owns, then, to have her Familiar.
And whither ( to J OAN ) — whither would the spirit, witch,
Bear thee?
Joan . To Him who gave it.
Judge . Lucifer?
Joan . I never heard the name until thus taught.
Judge . He hath his imps.
Joan . I see he hath.
Judge . My lords!
Why look ye round, and upward at the rafters?
Smile not, infernal hag! for such thou art,
Altho' made comely to beguile the weak,
By thy enchantments and accursed spells.
Knowest thou not how many brave men fell
Under thy sword, and daily?
Joan . God knows best
How many fell — may their souls rest in peace!
We wanted not your land, why want ye ours?
France is our country, England yours; we hear
Her fields are fruitful: so were ours before
Invaders came and burnt our yellowing corn,
And slew the labouring oxen in the yoke,
And worried, in their pasture and their fold,
With thankless hounds, more sheep than were devour'd.
Judge . Thou wast a shepherdess. Were those sheep thine?
Joan . Whatever is my country's is mine too —
At least to watch and guard; I claim no more.
Ye drove the flocks adrift, and we the wolves.
Judge . Thou shouldst have kept thy station in the field,
As ours do.
Joan . Nobles! have I not? Speak out.
In the field too, — the field ye shared with me —
The cause alone divided us.
Judge . My lords!
Must we hear this from peasant girl, a witch?
Wolves we are call'd. ( To J OAN .) Do wolves, then, fight for glory?
Joan . No; not so wicked, tho' by nature wild,
They seek their food, and, finding it, they rest.
Judge . Sometimes the devil prompts to speak a truth
To cover lies, and to protect his brood.
But, we turn'd into wolves! — we Englishmen!
Tell us, thou knowing one, who knowest well —
Tell us, then, who are now the vanquishers.
Joan . They who will be the vanquished, and right soon.
Judge . False prophets there have been, and thou art one,
And proud as he that sent thee here inspired.
Who ever saw thee bend before the high
And mighty men, the consecrate around —
They whom our Lord exalted, they who wear
The mitre on their brows?
Joan . One — one alone —
Hath seen me bend, and may he soon more nigh,
Unworthy as I am! I daily fall
Before the Man (for Man he would be call'd)
Who wore no mitre, but a crown of thorns
Wore he; upon his hands no jewel'd ring,
But in the centre of them iron nails,
Half-hidden by the swollen flesh they pierced.
Judge . Alert to play the pious here at last,
Thou scoffest Mother Church in these her sons,
Right reverend, worshipful, Beatitude's
Creation, Christ's and Peter's lawful heirs.
Joan. My mother Church enforced no sacrifice
Of human blood; she never made flames drink it
Ere it boil over. Dear were all her sons,
Nor unforgiven were the most perverse.
Judge . Seest thou not here thy hearers sit aghast?
Joan . Fear me not, nobles! Ye were never wan
In battle; ye were brave to meet the brave.
I come not now in helm or coat of mail,
But bound with cords, and helpless. God incline
Your hearts to worthier service!
Judge . Darest thou,
After such outrages on knight and baron,
To call on God, or name his holy name?
'Tis mockery.
Joan . 'Tis too often, not with me.
When first I heard his holy name I thought
He was my Father. I was taught to call
My Saviour so, and both my parents did
The like, at rising and at setting sun
And when they shared the oaten cake at noon.
Judge . So thou wouldst babble like an infant still?
Joan . I would be silent, but ye bade me speak.
Judge . Thou mayst yet pray — one hour is left for prayer.
Edify, then, the people in the street.
Joan . I never pray in crowds; our Saviour hears
When the heart speaks to him in solitude.
May we not imitate our blessed Lord,
Who went into the wilderness to pray?
Judge . Who taught thee tales like this? They are forbidden.
Hast thou no supplication to the court?
Joan . I never sued in vain, and will not now.
Judge . We have been patient; we have heard thee prate
A whole hour by the bell; we have endured
Impiety; we have borne worse affronts.
My lords, ye have been bantered long enough.
The sorceress would have turned us into wolves,
And hunt us down; she would be prophetess.
Joan . I am no sorceress, no prophetess;
But this, O man in ermine, I foretell:
Thou and those round thee shall ere long receive
Your due reward. England shall rue the day
She entered France — her empire totters.
Ye sentinels, who guard those hundred heads
Against a shepherdess in bonds — pile high
The faggots round the stake that stands upright,
And roll the barrel gently down the street,
Lest the pitch burst the hoops, and mess the way.
( To the court .)
Ye grant one hour; it shall be well employed.
I will impore the pardon of our God
For you. Already hath He heard my prayer
For the deliverers of their native land.
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