St. Joan's Notable Quotables

French to English Translation of the Famous Sayings of Joan of Arc

By Allen Williamson

Will be followed by

SAINT JOAN'S NOTABLE QUOTABLES

 

 

The following quotations shed light on her character or beliefs, or examples of the sort of things that she said frequently.

"Je me attens a Dieu, mon createur, de tout; je layme (l'ayme) de tout mon cuer"

"I place trust in God, my creator, in all things; I love Him with all my heart."

 

"Je suis cy envoiée de par Dieu, le roy du ciel"

"I am sent here by God, the King of Heaven".

 

"Je me attens a mon juge, cest (c'est) le roy du ciel et de la terre"

"I trust in my Judge, who is the King of Heaven and Earth".

 

"Aide toy, Dieu te aidera"

"Help yourself and God will help you" - the medieval French equivalent of - " God helps those who help themselves"

 

"Je le sçay aussi bien comme vous estes ici"

"I know this [that the English will be driven out of France] as well as (I know that) you are here." addressed to Cauchon at the trial.

 

"Elles ayment ce que nostre Seigneur ayme, et haient ce que Dieu hait"

"They [Saints Catherine and Margaret] love that which our Lord loves, and hate that which God hates".

 

"Gentil Dauphin, j'ai nom Jehanne la Pucelle"

"Gentle Dauphin [Charles VII], I am called Joan, the Maid."

 

Since she didn't swear, she used two mild expressions as a substitute, and tried to force the men in charge of her army to do the same:

"Par mon martin!"

"By my staff!"

 

"En nom Dieu!"

"In God's name!"

 

The questioning at this trial was often tedious, repetitive and of little relevance, and one gets the impression that she often grew weary from the process. She used the following phrases frequently in response to the more monotonous or pointless questions:

"Vous dictes que vous estes mon juge, je ne sçay si vous l'estes; mais advisez bien que ne jugés mal, que vous vous mectriés en grant danger; et vous en advertis, afin que se (si) nostre, Seigneur vous en chastie, que je fais mon debvoir de le vous dire".

"You say that you are my judge, I don't know if you are [or not]; but take care not to judge wrongly, lest you place yourself in great danger; and [I] notify you of this, so that if our Lord punishes you for it, I will have done my duty in telling you." This was no idle comment: Bishop Cauchon had always been something of a revolutionary (despite the aura of orthodoxy he tried to project), and his conduct during the trial earned him the censure of Inquisitor Jean Bréhal (who essentially accused him of heresy) when the case was retried.

 

"Il est bon a savoir"

"It's good to know." While this phrase is usually translated as an affirmative response, I think she also sometimes used it when a question was so absurd that she felt there was little point in giving a straight answer.

 

"Passez-oultre"

"Move on [to the next one]." Something she said whenever she had already answered a question.

 

"Ce n'est pas de votre procès"

"That does not concern your trial." Another recurring statement, which she said whenever they asked her a question which had no relevance at all.


JOAN AT VAUCOULEURS

Asked about her mission she replied: "...I was born for this."

"Nevertheless, before mid-Lent, I must be with the Dauphin, even if I have to wear my legs down to my knees!"

Asked who her Lord was, she replied: "He is the King of Heaven!"

"For even if I had had a hundred fathers and mothers and were a king's daughter, still would I go!"

Asked when she would like to leave: "Today rather than tomorrow and tomorrow rather than later."

Asked if she was afraid: "I fear nothing for God is with me!"

JOAN AT CHINON

Joan's greeting to Charles at Chinon: "Gentle Dauphin, my name is Joan, the Maid. The King of Heaven has sent me to bring you and your kingdom help."

JOAN AT POITIERS

Asked by the priests why God needed soldiers: "In the name of God! The soldiers will fight and God will give the victory!"

"In the name of God! I have not come to Poitiers to give signs but take me to Orleans and I shall show you signs for which I have been sent!"

Asked what language her Voices spoke: "They speak better French than you!" '

Asked if she believe in God: "Indeed, yes, better than you do!"

Joan reassured the Duke d' Alençon's wife, Thérèse, that her husband would not be killed or injured if he returned to the fight. "I give you my solemn word that no harm will come to your beloved husband. Madame, have no fear! He shall indeed return to you. As well as he is now, or perhaps even better!"

Joan's motto: "It is God Who commands it!"

JOAN AT ORLEANS

Joan's reprimand to Dunois, the Bastard of Orléans: "In God's name! The counsel of our Lord is wiser and safer than yours. You have thought to deceive me but it is you who are deceived. I bring you better help than has ever come to any general or town, for the help I bring comes from the King of Heaven!"

"Bastard! Bastard! In God's name! I command you that as soon as you learn of Falstaff's arrival that you will inform me. For if he passes by without my knowledge, I promise you that I shall have your head cut off!"

Joan's reprimand to her page: "Ah, you bloody boy, you did not tell me that the blood of France was being shed!"

"Ha! Never did I see French blood flow but my hair did not stand on end!"

"Gaucourt, you are indeed a wicked man to prevent these people from departing. Whether you will or no, they shall go out and will succeed just as well as they did the other day!"

Joan's reply to the Captain's request not to fight the next day: "Go back to that council and tell them this! You have been to your council and I have been to mine. Now, believe me when I say that the Counsel of God will be accomplished and succeed and that yours will fail!"

Joan's refusal to use a charm to heal her wound: "No friend, I cannot. I would rather die than do a thing which I know to be a sin."

Joan encouraging her troops: "Be not afraid! The English will have no more power over you."

Joan's request for surrender to the English commander Glasdale: "Classidas! Classidas! Yield, yield to the King of Heaven! You called me harlot, but I have great pity on your soul and for the souls of your men."

JOAN AT LOCHES

"I shall last a year and a little more."

" 'Daughter of God, go on, go on, go on! I will be your help. Go on!' When I hear this voice, I feel such great joy that I wish I could always hear it!"

JOAN BEFORE THE BATTLE OF PATAY

Joan encouraging her troops: "In God's name, we must fight them! Even if the English hang from the clouds, yet we shall have them! For God sends us to punish them. Today the gentle Dauphin will have the greatest victory he has won for a long time! My Voices have told me that the enemy will be ours."

AT THE TOWN OF TROYES

Joan addresses Brother Richard: "Take heart and come on! I will not fly away."

AT THE TOWN OF CHALONS

Joan speaking to a friend from Domremy: "I fear nothing, except treason."

AT THE TOWN OF BOURGES

Joan speaking to Madame Touroulde: "You touch them!" (meaning the religious items that some people brought for Joan to bless by her touch) "Your touch will do them as much good as mine."

BEFORE THE WALLS OF SAINT PIERRE-LES-MOUTIERS

Joan addressing to her squire: "I am not alone! I have fifty thousand of my own company to fight with me!"

COMPIEGNE

"By my staff! We are enough! I shall go to see my good friends in Compiegne!"

JOAN'S REPLY TO THE COUNT OF LUXEMBOURG

(The Count tried to tempt Joan with an offer of freedom.) "In God's name, Count, you mock me! Ransom? How you jest. You have neither the will nor the power to do so! "

"I know well that these English will put me to death, because they think that after I'm dead, they will win the Kingdom of France. But even if there were hundred thousand more Godons than there are now, still they will never have the Kingdom!"

JOAN'S REPLIES TO THE ECCLESIASTICAL JUDGES OF ROUEN

"It is true that I have wished to escape and I still do! It is lawful for any prisoner to try to escape if he can."

"I came from God. There is nothing more for me to do here! Send me back to God, from Whom I came!"

Asked if she was in God's grace: "If I am not, may God put me there, and if I am, may God so keep me! I should be the saddest creature in the world if I knew I was not in His grace."

Joan's warning to Bishop Cauchon: "You say that you are my judge. I do not know if you are! But I tell you that you must take good care not to judge me wrongly, because you will put yourself in great danger. I warn you, so that if God punishes you for it, I would have done my duty by telling you!"

Asked why her standard had a place of honor at the coronation: "It had borne the burden; it was only right that it should have the honor."

Asked if she told her troops that copies of her pennant would be luck, she replied: "What I said was: 'Go boldly among the English,' and I went among them, too!"

"The poor folk gladly came to me, for I did them no unkindness, but helped them as much as I could."

"Everything I have said or done is in the hands of God. I commit myself to Him! I certify to you that I would do or say nothing against the Christian faith."

"Ha! You take great care to put down in your trial everything that is against me, but you will not write down anything that is for me!"

"I am a good Christian, properly baptized and I will die.., a good Christian."

Asked if God hated the English: "Of the love or hate God may have for the English I know nothing, but I know well that they will all be driven out of France, except those who will die here."

Asked why she refused to do woman's work: "There are plenty of other women to do it."

Asked how she summoned her voices: "Most sweet Lord, in honor of Your Holy Passion, I implore You, if You love me, to instruct me in what I am to say to these churchmen. As regards to my clothes, I fully understand the order by which I accepted them, but I do not know how I am to set them aside. In this, may it please You to teach me."

Joan's reply to the threat of torture: "Truly, if you were to tear me limb from limb and separate my soul from my body, I would not say anything more. If I did say anything, afterwards I would always declare that you made me say it by force!"

"And if I were condemned and brought to the place of judgment and I saw the torch lit and the faggots ready, and the executioner ready to kindle the fire, and if I were within the fire, yet I would say nothing else and I would maintain unto death what I have said in this trial!"

"Through His Saints, God informed me of His great sorrow for the treason that I had committed by signing the abjuration. To save my life I betrayed Him and in so doing I damned myself!" ( In the margin of his paper the court notary wrote: "Responsio Mortifera" which means, "fatal answer.")

"My Voices have since told me that I did a great evil in declaring that what I had done was wrong. All that I said and revoked that Thursday, I did for fear of the fire!"

JOAN IS INFORMED OF HER INPENDING DEATH

"Alas! Am I to be so horribly and cruelly treated? Alas! That my body, clean and whole, which has never been corrupted, should this day be consumed and burned to ashes! Ah! I would far rather have my head chopped off seven times over, than to be burned!"

"Alas! Had I been in the Church prison, to which I submitted myself, and been guarded by the Clergy instead of my enemies, as I was promised, this misfortune would not have come to me! Ah! I appeal to God, the Great Judge, for the great injuries done to me!"

"Bishop, I die because of you!"

(Bishop Cauchon strongly protested his guilt.) Joan replied: "If you had placed me in the Church's prison and gave me into the hands of competent and suitable Church guardians, this would not have happened. That is why I appeal to God for justice against you!"

JOAN'S LAST WORDS

"Rouen! Rouen! Must I die here? Ah, Rouen, I fear you will have to suffer for my death!"

"I ask you priests of God, to please say a Mass for my soul's salvation. I beg all of you standing here to forgive me the harm that I may have done you. Please pray for me."

As soon as Joan noticed that the fire had been lit she urgently warned Brother Martin: "Good Brother Martin, I thank you for comforting me, but you must leave this place.., now."

"My Voices did come from God and everything that I have done was by God's order."

"Hold the crucifix up before my eyes so I may see it until I die."

"Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!"


UP ARROW Go up one level
Virginia Frohlick
stjoan@nmia.com