THE VOICES OF JEANNE D'ARC
SOME of our old English historians write of Jeanne d'Arc, the Pucelle, as 'the Puzel.' The author of the 'First Part of Henry VI.,' whether he was Shakespeare or not, has a pun on the word:
'Pucelle or puzzel, dolphin or dogfish,'
the word 'puzzel' carrying an unsavoury sense. (Act I. Scene 4.) A puzzle, in the usual meaning of the word, the Maid was to the dramatist. I shall not enter into the dispute as to whether Shakespeare was the author, or part author, of this perplexed drama. But certainly the rôle of the Pucelle is either by two different hands, or the one author was 'in two minds' about the heroine. Now she appears as la ribaulde of Glasdale's taunt, which made her weep, as the 'bold strumpet' of Talbot's insult in the play. The author adopts or even exaggerates the falsehoods of Anglo-Burgundian legend. The personal purity of Jeanne was not denied by her judges. On the other hand the dramatist makes his 'bold strumpet' a paladin of courage and a perfect patriot, reconciling Burgundy to the national cause