Of all the stories of women, ancient or modern, that of Joan remains one of the most touching


Her appearances each day at this preposterous trial moved many observers. One, De Quincy, observed



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Her appearances each day at this preposterous trial moved many observers. One, De Quincy, observed,

Never from the foundations of the earth was there such a trial as this, if it were laid open in all its beauty of defense and all its hellishness of attack. Oh, child of France! shepherdess, peasant girl! trodden under foot by all around thee, how I honor thy flashing intellect, quick as God’s lightning, and true as God’s lightning to its mark...confounding the malice of the ensnarer, and making dumb the oracles of falsehood!
Yet, during this long period we must assume she was constantly verbally abused by her guards and threatened with torture. That she was nearing exhaustion is made clear when she finally accepted the demand of the clerics that she sign a document indicating that she would submit to the authority of the Church.

I Jeanne, called the Pucelle, a miserable sinner do revoke all my words and deeds which are contrary to the Church; I desire to live in unity with the Church, never more departing there from.
She did this after a terrifying scene in which she was dragged from prison and chained to a post in the cemetery of Saint-Ouen. Here, facing Cauchon and other dignitaries seated on a platform and the harangue of a preacher, she signed her mark, a circle with a cross within. The church officials now declared she was admitted into Grace, but immediately sentenced her to imprisonment for life.

Wherefore, that you may make salutary penance, we condemn you by this definitive sentence to perpetual imprisonment, with the bread of sorrow and the water of affliction, that you may weep for your sins, and nevermore commit them.
On May 24, when she arose to dress, she found her dress had been removed and only the forbidden clothes of a man remained in her cell. When she dressed in the only clothes available to her, the Church officials announced that she had technically relapsed into her old faults. The next morning a priest came to notify her that she must prepare herself to die by fire that very day.

In the market place two scaffoldings were erected, one for the dignitaries and the other with the necessary wood to burn the young girl. Cauchon read her act of condemnation, concluding, “Therefore, we pronounce you to be a rotten limb, and as such to be lopped off from the Church.” The executioner fastened her to the post, above which was a placard reading, “Heretic, relapser, apostate, idolater.” She requested only a crucifix and cried only as the first flames touched her body. When she was dead, one of the secretaries of the English king cried, “We are lost; we have burnt a saint!”






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