SPEECH BY JOAN OF ARC FROM THE PLAY ‘SAINT JOAN’
GEORGE BERNARD SHAW
JOAN: (rising in consternation and terrible anger)
Am I not then to be set free?
Give me that writing. (She rushes to the table; snatches up the paper; and tears it into fragments)
Light your fire: do you think I dread it as much as the life of a rat in a hole? My voices were right. Yes: they told me you were fools, and that I was not to listen to your fine words nor trust 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 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 from me 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 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.
HIS WAYS ARE NOT YOUR WAYS. He wills that I go through the fire to His bosom; for I am His child, and you are not fit that I should live among you.
That is my last word to you.