English Literature

The Maid of Orleans by Friedrich Schiller

The Maid of Orleans by Friedrich Schiller.jpg

PROLOGUE.

   A rural District. To the right, a Chapel with an Image of the Virgin; to
   the left, an ancient Oak.

SCENE I.

      THIBAUT D'ARC. His Three Daughters. Three young Shepherds,
      their Suitors.

   THIBAUT.
   Ay, my good neighbors! we at least to-day
   Are Frenchmen still, free citizens and lords
   Of the old soil which our forefathers tilled.
   Who knows whom we to-morrow must obey?
   For England her triumphal banner waves
   From every wall: the blooming fields of France
   Are trampled down beneath her chargers' hoofs;
   Paris hath yielded to her conquering arms,
   And with the ancient crown of Dagobert
   Adorns the scion of a foreign race.
   Our king's descendant, disinherited,
   Must steal in secret through his own domain;
   While his first peer and nearest relative
   Contends against him in the hostile ranks;
   Ay, his unnatural mother leads them on.
   Around us towns and peaceful hamlets burn.
   Near and more near the devastating fire
   Rolls toward these vales, which yet repose in peace.
   Therefore, good neighbors, I have now resolved,
   While God still grants us safety, to provide
   For my three daughters; for 'midst war's alarms
   Women require protection, and true love
   Hath power to render lighter every load.
      [To the first Shepherd.
   Come, Etienne! You seek my Margot's hand.
   Fields lying side by side and loving hearts
   Promise a happy union!
      [To the second.
               Claude! You're silent,
   And my Louison looks upon the ground?
   How, shall I separate two loving hearts
   Because you have no wealth to offer me?
   Who now has wealth? Our barns and homes afford
   Spoil to the foe, and fuel to the fires.
   In times like these a husband's faithful breast
   Affords the only shelter from the storm.

   LOUISON.
   My father!

   CLAUDE MARIE.
         My Louison!

   LOUISON (embracing JOHANNA).
                My dear sister!

   THIBAUT.
   I give to each a yard, a stall and herd,
   And also thirty acres; and as God
   Gave me his blessing, so I give you mine!

   MARGOT (embracing JOHANNA).
   Gladden our father—follow our example!
   Let this day see three unions ratified!

   THIBAUT.
   Now go; make all things ready; for the morn
   Shall see the wedding. Let our village friends
   Be all assembled for the festival.

      [The two couples retire arm in arm.

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Categories: English Literature

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