Joan…from St. Joan

Joan…from St. Joan

Modern – Women

By George Bernard Shaw (Penguin Books: pp.137-38)

(End of sc. vi: Joan is being tried for heresy. She has signed a confession, but learning that she is still to be imprisoned for life, she tears up the document.)

JOAN: …they told me you were fools, and that I was not to listen to your fine words nor trust to your charity. You promised me my life, but you lied. You think that life is nothing but not being stone dead. It is not the bread and water I fear. I can live on bread. When have I asked for more? It is no hardship to drink water if the water be clean. Bread has no sorrow for me, and water no affliction. But to shut me from the light of the sky and the sight of the fields and the flowers; to chain my feet so that I can never again ride with the soldiers nor climb the hills; to make me breathe foul damp darkness, and keep me from everything that brings me back to the love of God when your wickedness and foolishness tempt me to hate him: all this is worse than the furnace in the Bible that was heated seven times. I could do without my warhorse; I could drag about in a skirt; I could let the banners and the trumpets and the knights and soldiers pass me and leave me behind as they leave the other women, if only I could still hear the wind in the trees, the larks in the sunshine, the young lambs crying through the healthy frost, and the blessed blessed church bells that send my angel voices floating to me on the wind. But without these things I cannot live; and by your wanting to take them away from me, or from any human creature, I know that your counsel is of the devil, and that mine is of God.