These sad thoughts boot not. Welcome to our court,
Dunois! We yet can give the friendly feast,
And from the heavy cares of empire win
One hospitable day of merriment.»

« Lo these the walls of Chinon, this the abode Of Charles our monarch. Bere in revelry He of his armies vanquish'd, his fair towns Subdued, hears careless and prolongs the dance. And little marvel I that to the cares Of empire still he turns the unwilling car, For loss on loss, defeat His strong holds taken, and his bravest Chicfs Or dead or captured, and the hopes of youth All blasted, have subdued the royal mind, Undisciplined in Fortitude's stern school. So may thy voice arouse his sleeping virtues!»

upon defeat,

The mission d Maid replied, «Go thou, Dunois, Announce my mission to the royal ear ; I on the river's winding banks the while Would roam, collecting for the enterprise My thoughts, though firm, yet troubled. Who essays Achievements of great import will perforce Feel the heart heave; and in my breast I feel Such perturbation.»

On the banks of Vienne Devious the Damsel turu'd. Through Chinon's

gales The Son of Orleans press'd with rapid step, Seeking the King. Bim from the public view lle found secluded with his blameless Queen, And his partaker of the unlawful bed, The lofty-minded Agnes.

« Son of Orleans!» So as he entered cried the haughty Fair, « Thou art well come to witness the disgrace, The weak, uomanly, base despondency of this thy Sovereigo Liege. He will retreat To distant Dauphiny, 52 and fly the war! Go then, unworthy of thy raok! retreat To distant Dauphiny, and fly the war, Recreant from battle; I will not partake A fugitive's fate; when thou hast lost thy crown Thou hast lost Agnes.-Dost not blush, Dunois! To bleed in combat for a Prince like this, Fit only, like the Merovingian race On a May morning deck'd with flowers, 53 10 mount llis gay-bеdizen'd car, and ride abroad And make the multitude a holiday. Go, Charles-and liide thee in a woman's garb, And these long locks will not disgrace thee then!» 54

The Chief replied, «So may thy future years
Pass from misfortune free, as all these ills
Shall vanish like a vision of the night!
To thee and France I come the messenger
Of aid from Heaven. The delegated Maid
With me, whom all-wise Providence decrees
The Saviour of the realm ;-a holy Maid,
Bearing strange promise of miraculous things,
One whom it were not possible to hear
And disbelieve.»

Astonishid by his speech
Stood Charles. « Al one of meaner estimation
I should have smiled, Dunois. Thy well-known worth,
The loyalty of all thy noble house,
Compel me even to this, a most strange tale,
To lend a serious ear. A woman sent
From Heaven, the saviour of this wasted realm,
One whom it were not possible to hear,
And disbelieve! Dupois, ill now bescems
Aught wild and hazardous; the throne of France
Totters upon destruction. Is my person
Known to this woman?»

« She has lived retired,»
The Bastard answer'd, « ignorant of courts,
And little heeding, till the spirit of God
Koused her to this great work. »

To him the king :
« If then she knows me not, abide thou here,
And hither, by a speedy messenger,
Summon the Maiden. On the throne meantime,
I the while mingling with the Menial throng,
Some courtier shall be seated. If the Maid
Be by the spirit of God indeed inspired,
That holy spirit will gift her with the power
To pierce deception. But if strange of inind
Enthusiast fancy fire ber wilder'd brain,
She to obscurity again, thus proved,
May guiltlessly retire. Our English foes
Might well exult to see the sons of France
Led by a frenzied female.» 57 So lie said;
And, with a faith half-faltering at the proof,
Dunois dispatched a messenger, 10 seck
Beside the banks of Vienne, the Mission'd Maid.

« Nay, Agnes!» Charles replied, « refroach me not, I have enough of sorrow.

Look around, See this fair country ravaged by the foe, Ny strong holds taken, and my bravest Chiefs Fall'o in the field, or captives far away. Dead is the Douglas ; cold thy gallant heart, Illustrious Buchan! ye from Scotland's hills, Not mindless of your old ally distress'd, Rush'd to his succour: in his cause ye fought, For liim ye perish'd. Rash, impetuous Narbonne! Thy mangled corse waves to the winds of Heaven. 55 Cold, Graville, is thy sinewy arm in death; Falla is Ventadaur; silent in the grave Rambouillet sleeps: Bretagne's unfaithful chief Leagues with my foes, and Richemont, or in arms Defies my weak control, or from my side, A friend more dreaded than the

enemy, Drives my bests servants with the assassin sword. Soon must the towers of Orleans fall! But now

Soon is the court convened; the jewell'd crown Shines on a menial's head. Amid the throng The Monarch stands, and anxious for the event, llis heart beats high. She comes, the Maid inspired , And as the lastard led her to the throne, Quick glancing o'er the mimic Majesty Fix'd full her eye on Charles. 58

« Thou art the King! I come the avenging Delegate of Heaven, To wield the fated weapon, from whose death, Their stern hearts palsied by the arm of God, Far, far from Orleans shall the English wolves Speed their disastrous fliglit. Monarch of France! Spread the good tidings through thy ravaged realm! The Maid is come, the mission d Maid, whose hand Shall in the consecrated walls of Rheims Crown thee the anointed King.» 59


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In wonder mute Share with the Gouls their banquet. The courtiers heard. The astonish'd King exclaimed,

This perform'd, « This is indeed the agency of Heaven !

The Maid is summond. Round the holy vase llard, Maiden, were I of belief,» he cried,

Mark'd with the mystic tonsure and eurobed « Did I not now, with full and confirm'd faith,

In sacred vests, a venerable train, 'Thee the redeemer of this ravaged realm

They stand.

The delegated Maid obeys Believe. Not doubting therefore the strange will

Their summons.

As she came, a loveliest blush Of all-wise Providence, delay I now

O'er her fair cheek suffus d, such as became Instant to marsha! the brave sons of France

One mindful still of maiden modesty,
Bencath thy banners; but to satisfy

Though of her own worth conscious. Through the aisle
Those who al distance from this most clear proof The cold wind moaning, as it pass'd along
May hear and disbelieve, or yield at best

Waved her dark flowing locks. Before the train
A cold assent,—these fully to confirm

In reverent silence waiting their sage will, And more to manifest thy holy power,

With half-averted


she stood composed. Forth with with all due speed I shall convene

So have I seen the simple snow-drop rise The Doctors of Theology, fo wise men

Amid the russet leaves that lide the earth And skilful in the mysteries of Heaven.

In early spring, so seen it gently bend By these thy mission studied and approved,

In modest loveliness alone amid As needs it must, their sanction to all minds

The waste of winter. Sball bring conviction, and the firm belief

By the Maiden's side Lead on thy favour'd troops to mightiest deeds, The Son of Orleans stood, prepared to vouch Surpassing human credibility.»

That when on Charles the Maiden's eye had fix'd,

As led by power miraculous, no fraud, Well pleas'd the Maiden heard. Her the king leads Nor juggling artifice of secret sign From the disbanding throng, meantime to dwell Dissembled inspiration. As he stood With Mary. Watchful for her Lord's return,

Steadily viewing the mysterious rites, She sat with Agnes; Agnes, proud of heart,

Thus to the attentive Maid the Arclı-Priest spake Majestically fair, whose large full eye

Severe, Or flashing anger, or with scornful scowl,

« Woman, if any

fiend of hell Deformd her beauteous features. Yet with her Lurk in thy bosom, so to prompt the vaunt The lawless idol of the Monarch's heart,

Of inspiration, and to mock the power Mary, obedient to her husband's will,

Of God and boly Church, thus by the virtue Dwelt meekly in accord. The Maiden soon

Of water hallowed in the name of God
Loved the mild Queen, and sojourning with her, That damned spirit adjure I to depart
Expects the solemn summons.

From his possessed prey.»
Through the realm

Slowly be spake,
Meantime the King's convoking voice was heard, And sprinkled water on the virgio's face:
And from their palaces and monasteries

Indignant at the unworthy charge, ibe Maid Forth came the Doctors, men acute and deep,

Felt her cheek tlush ; but soon the transient glow Grown

grey in study; Priests and Bishops haste Fading, she answerd meek. To Chinon : teachers wise and with high names,

u Most holy Sires, Seraphic, Subtile or Irrefragable,

Ye reverend Fathers of the Christian church,

Most catholic! I stand before By their adıniring pupils dignificd.



A poor weak woman; of the grace vouchsafed, The Doctors met, from cloister gloom recluse,

How far unworthy, conscious : yet thougli mean, Or from the haunts luxurious of abode

Innocent of fraud, and chosen by bigb Heaven Episcopal, they met, and sought the place

The minister of aid. Strange vcices heard, Of judgment, in the ancient church assign'd.

The dark and shadowing visions of the night, The floor with many a monumental stone

Aud feelings which I may not dare to doubt, Was spread, and brass-ensculptured effigy

These portents make me conscious of the God
Of holy abbots honour'd in their day,

Within me; he who gifted my purged eye
Now to the grave gone down. The branching arms To kuow the Monarch 'mid the menial throng,
Of many a ponderous pillar met aloft,

Unseen before. Thus much it boots to say.
Wreath'd on the roof emboss'd. Through storied panes | The life of simple virgin ill deserves
of high archi'd windows came the tinctured light. To call your minds from studies wise and deep,
Pure water in a font beneath reflects

Not to be fathom'd by the weaker sease
The many-colour'd rays; around that font

Of man profane.» The fathers stand, and there with rites ordain'd

Thou speakest,» said the Priest, And signs symbolic strew the hallowing salt,

« Of dark and shadowing visions of the night. Wherewith the limpid water, thus imbued,

Canst thou remember, Maid, what vision first
So taught the church, became a spell approv'd Seem'd more than Fancy's shaping. From such tale,
Against the fiends of Satan's fallen crew:

Minutely told with accurate circumstance,
A licens'd spell of mightier potency

Best judgment might be formed.» Than e'er the hell-hags taught in Thessaly;

The Maid replied, Or they who sitting on the ritled grave,

« Amid the mountain valleys I had driven By the flue tomb-fire's lurid light dim seen,

My father's flock. The eve was drawing on,

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When by a sudden storm surprised, I sought
A chapel's neighbouring shelter; ruined now,
But I remember when its vesper bell
Was heard among the hills, a pleasant sound,
That made me pause upon my homeward road,
Awakening in me comfortable thoughts
Of holiness. The unsparing soldiery
Had sack'd the hamlet near, and none was left
Duly at sacred seasons to attend
Saint Agnes' chapel. In the desolate pile
I drove my flock, with no irreverent thoughts,
Nor mindless that the place on which I trod
Was holy ground. It was a fearful night!
Devoutly to the virgin Saint I pray'd,
Then heap'd the wither'd leaves which autumn winds
Had drifted in, and laid me down upon them,
And sure I think I slept. But so it was
Thal, in the dead of night, Saint Agnes stood 62
Before mine eyes, such and so beautiful
As when, amid the house of wickedness,
The Power whom with such fervent love she served
Veil'd her with glory. And she seem'd to point
To the moss-grown altar, and the crucifix
Half bid by weeds and grass ;.... and then I thought
I could have wither'd armies with a look,
For from the present Saint such divine power
I felt infused..... 'T was but a dream perhaps.
And yet methought that when a louder peal
Burst o'er the roof, and all was left again
Utterly dark, the bodily sense was clear
And accurate in every circumstance
Of time and place.»

Attentive to her words
Thus the Priest answer'd.

« Brethren, ye have heard The woman's tale. Peseems us now to ask Whether of holy Church a duteous child Before our court appears, so not unlike Heaven might vouchsafe its gracious miracle ; Or silly heretic, whose erring thoughts, Monstrous and vaio, perchance might stray beyond All reason, and conceit strange dreams and signs Impossible. Say, woman, from thy youth Hast thou, as rightly mother Church demands, Confess'd to holy Priest each secret sin, That, by the grace vouchsafed to him from Heaven, He might absolve thee?»

« Father,» she replied, « The forms of worship in mine carlier

years Wak'd my young mind to artificial awe, And made me fear my God. Warm with the glow Of health and exercise, wliene er I pass'd The threshold of the house of prayer, I felt A cold damp chill me ; I beheld the flame That with a pale and feeble glimmering Dimm'd the noon-light; I heard the solemn mass, And with strange feelings and mysterious dread Telling my beads, gave to the mystic prayers Devoulest meaning. Often when I saw The pictur'd flames writhe round a penanced soul, Have I retired, and knelt before the cross, And wept for grace, and trembled, and believed A Gop of Terrors. But ip riper years, When as my soul grew strong in solitude, I saw the eternal energy pervade The boundless range of nature, with the sun

Pour life and radiance from his flamy path,
And on the lowliest flowret of the field
The kindly dew-drops shed, And then I felt
That he who form'd this goodly frame of things
Must needs be good, and with a Fatuer's name
I callid on uim, and from my burtlen'd leart
Pourd out the yearnings of unmingled love.
Methinks it is not strange then, that I fled
The house of prayer, and made the lonely grove
My temple, at the foot of some old oak
Watching the little tribes that had their world
Within its mossy bark; or laid me down
Beside the rivulet whose murmuring
Was silence to my soul, 63 and mark'd the swarm
Whose light-edged shadows on the bedded sand
Mirror'd their mazy sports; the insect hum,
The flow of waters, and the song of birds
Making a holy music to mine car:
Oh! was it strange, if for such scenes as these,
Such deep devoutness, such intense delight
Of quiet adoration, I forsook
The house of worship? strange thai when I felt
How God had made my Spirit quick to feel
And love whare'er was beautiful and good,
And from aught evil and deformd to shrink
Even as with instinct; father! was it strange
That in my heart I had no thought of sin
And did not need forgiveness ?»

As she spake
The Doctors stood astonishd, and some while
They listen'd still in wonder. But at length
A Priest replied,

« Woman, thou seemst to scorn
The ordinances of our holy Church;
And, if I rightly understand thy words,
Thou sayst that Solitude and Nature taught
Thy feelings of religion, and that now
Masses and absolution and the use
Of mystic wafer, are to thee unknown.
How then could Nature teach thee true religion,
Deprived of these? Nature can teach to sin,
But it is the Priest alone can teach remorse,
Can bid St Peter the


of Heaven, And from the penal fires of purgatory Absolve the soul. Could Nature teach thee this? Or tell thee that St Peter holds the keys, And that his successor's unbounded power Exiends o'er either world? Although thy life Of sin were free, if of this holy truth Ignorant, thy soul in liquid flames must rue Its error.»

Thus he spake; the applauding look Went round, Nor dubious to reply the Maid Was silent.

« Fathers of the holy Church, If on these points abstrusc a simple maid Like me should err, impute not you the crime To self-will'd reason, vaunling its own strength Above the eternal wisdom. True it is That for long time I have not heard the sound Of mass bigh-chaunted, nor with trembling lips Fartook the mystic wafer : yet the bird Who to the matin ray prelusive pour'd His joyous song, methoughit did warble forth Sweeter thanksgiving to Religion's ear In luis wild melody of happiness,


pale blue flame rose from the trophied tomb
Beside her: aud within that house of death
A clash of arms was heard, as though below
The shrouded warrior shook his mailed limbs.

« Ilear ye?» the Damsel cried ; « these are the arms
Which shall flash terror o'er the hostile host.
These, in the presence of our Lord the King,
And of the assembled people, I will take
There from the sepulchre, where many an age,
Incorruptible, they have lain conceald,
For me preserved, the delegate of Heaven »

Than ever rung along the high-arch'd roofs
Of man:...

yet never from the bending vine
Pluck'd I its ripen'd clusters thanklessly,
Or of that God unmindful, who bestow'd
The bloodless banquet.

Ye have told me, Sirs,
That Nature only teaches man to sin!
If it be sin to seek the wounded lamb,
To bind its wounds, and bathe them with my tears,
This is what Nature laughit! No, Fathers ! no,
It is not Nature that can teach to sin :
Nature is all Benevolence, all Love,
All Beauty! In the greenwood's quiet shade
There is no vice that to the indignant cheek
Bids the red current rush; no misery there;
No wretched mother, who with pallid face
And famine-fall'n, hangs o'er her hungry babes,
With such a look, so wan, so woe-begone,
As shall one day, with damping eloquence,
Against the mighty plead!... Nature teach sin!
Oblasphemy against the Holy One,
Who made us in the image of Himself,
Who made us all for happiness and love,
Infinite happiness, infinite love,
Partakers of his own eternity.»

Recovering from amaze, the Priest replied:
«Thou art indeed the delegate of Heaven!
What thou hast said surely thou shalt perform!
We ratify thy mission. Go in peace.»


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Solemn and slow the reverend Priest replied, -
« Much, woman, do I doubt that all-wise Heaven
Would thus vouchsafe its gracious miracles
On one fore-doom'd to misery; for so doom'd
Is that deluded one, who, of the mass
Uuheeding, and the Church's saving power,
Deems nature sinless. Therefore, mark me well,
Brethren, I would propose this woman try
The holy ordeal. Let lier, bound and stript,
Lest haply in her clothes should be conceal'd
Some holy relic so profaned, be cast
In the deep pond; there if she float, no doubt
Some fiend upholds, but if she iostant sink,
Sure sign is that that Providence displays
ller free from witchcraft. This done, let her walk
Blinded and bare o'er ploughshares healed red,
And o'er these past, her naked arm plunge deep
lo scalding water. If from these she pass
Unhurt, to holy father of the church,
Most blessed Pope, we then refer the cause
For judgment: and this Chief, the Son of Orleans,
Who comes to vouch the royal person known
Dy her miraculous power, shall pass

with her The sacred trial.»

«Grace of God !» exclaim'd The astonish'd Bastard ; « plunge me in the pool! O'er red-hot ploughshares make me dance to please Your dotard fancies! Fathers of the church, Where is your gravity? what! elder-like Would ye this fairer than Susannalı eye? Ye call for ordeals; and I too demand The noblest ordeal, on the English host By victory to approve the mission sent From favouring Heaven. To the Pope refer For judgment! Know ye not that France even now Stands tottering on destruction!»

Starting wild, With a strange look, the mission'd Maid exclaim'd, « The sword of God is here! the grave shall speak To manifest me!»

Even as she spake,

The feast was spread, the sparkling bowl went roumi,
And to the assembled court the minstrel harp'd
The song of other days. Suddeu they heard
The horn's loud blast. « This is no time for cares;
Feast ye the messenger without!» cried Charles;

Enough is given of the wearying day
To the public weal.»

Obedient to the King,
The guard invites the traveller to his fare.
« Nay, I will see the monarch,» he replied,
« And he shall hear my lidings; duty-urged,
I have for many a long league hastend on,
And will not be repelld.» Then with strong armi
Removing him who barr'd his onward way,
| The hall he enter'd.

King of France! I come
From Orleans, speedy and effectual aid
Demanding for her gallant garrison,
Faithful to thee, though thinn'd in many a light,
And wither'd now by want.

Thee it beseems,
For ever anxious for thy people's weal,
To succour the brave men whose honest breasts
Bulwark thy throne. »

He said, and from the hall
With upright step departing, in amaze
At his so bold deportment left the court.
The King exclaim'd, « But little need to send
Quick succour to this gallant garrison,
If to the English half so firm a front
They bear in battle!»

« In the field, my liege,”
Dunois replied, «yon Knight has served thee well.
Iim have I seen the foremost of the fight,
Wielding so fearfully his death-red axe,
That wheresoe'er he turn'd, the affrighted foe
Let fall their palsied arms with powerless stroke,
Desperate of safety. I do marvel much
| That he is here : Orleans must be hard pressid,
To send the bravest of her garrison
On such commission.»

Swift the Maid exclaim d,
«I tell thee, Chief, that there the English wolves
Shall never pour their yells of victory!
The will of God defends those faled walls;
And resting in full faith on that liigh will,

I mock their efforts. But the night draws on;
Retire we to repose. To morrow's sun,
Breaking the darkness of the sepulchre,
Shall on that armour gleam, through many an age
Kept holy and inviolate by time.»
She said, and, rising from the board, retired.

Meantime the herald's brazen voice proclaim'd Coming solemnity, and far and wide Spread the strange tidings. Every labour ceased; The ploughman from the unfinish'd furrow hastes; The armourer's anvil beats no more the din Of future slaughter. Through the thronging streets The buzz of asking wonder hums along.

Thouglı zlistering they with gold and sparkling gems,
And their rich plumes high waving to the air,

The consecrated dome they reach,
Reard to St Catharine's holy memory.
Her tale the altar told; when Maximin,
His raised lip kindled with a savage smile,
In such deep fury bade che tenter'd wheel
Tear her life piecemcal, that the very face
Of the hard executioner relax'd
With horror; calm she heard, no drop of blood
Forsook her cheek, her steady aye was turu'd
Heaven-ward, and Hope and meekest Piety
Beam'd in that patient look. Nor vain lier trust,
For lo! the Angel of the Lord descends
And crumbles with his fiery touch the wheel!
One glance of holy triumph Catharine cast,
Then bow'd her to the sword of martyrdom.


On to St Catharine's sacred fane they go;
The holy fathers with the imaged cross
Leading the long procession. Next, as one
Suppliant for mercy to the King of Kings,
And grateful for the benefits of Heaven,
The Monarch pass'd; and by his side the Maid,
Her lovely limbs robed in a snow-white vest;
Wistless that every eye on her was fixd,
With stately step she moved : her labouring soul
To high thoughts elevate; and gazing round
With the wild eye, that of the circling throng
And of the visible world unseeing, saw
The shapes of holy fantasy. By hier
The warrior Son of Orleans strode along
Preeminent. He, nerving his young

With manly exercise, had scaled the cliff,
And dashing in the torrent's foaming tlood,
Stemm'd with broad breast its fury; so his form,
Sinewy and firm, and 'fit for loftiest deeds,
Tower'd high amid the throng effeminate;
No dainty bath had from his hardy limbs
Effaced the hauberk's honourable marks; 64
His helmet bore of hostile steel the dints
Many and deep; upon liis pictured shield
A Lion vainly struggled in the toils,
Whilst by his side the cub with pious rage,

young mane floating to the desert air,
Rends the fallen huntsman. Tremouille him behind,
The worthless favourite of the slothful Prince,
Stalk'd arrogant, in shining armour clasp'd,
Emboss'd with gold and gems of richest hue,
Gaudily graceful, by no hostile blade
Defaced, and rusted by no hostile blood;
Trimly accoutred court habiliments,
Gay lady-dazzling armour, fit to adorn
In dangerless manoeuvres some review,
The mockery of murder! follow'd bim
The train of courtiers, summer-flies that sport
In the sun-beam of favour, insects sprung
From the court dunghill, greedy blood-suckers,
The foul corruption-gender'd swarm of state.

Her eye averting from the storied woe, The delegated Damsel knelt and pour'd To Heaven the earnest prayer.

A trophied tomb Close to the altar rear'd its ancient bulk. Two pointless javelins and a broken sword, Time-mouldering now, proclaim'd some warrior slept The sleep of death beneath. A massy stone And rude-cosculptured effigy o'erlaid The sepulchre. To silent wonderment The expectant multitude with eager eye Gaze, listening as the mattock's heavy stroke Invades the tomb's repose : the heavy stroke Sounds hollow; over the bigh-vaulted roof Roll the repeated echoes : soon the day Dawns on the grave's long night, the slant sun-beam Beams on the inshrined arms, the crested helm, The baldrick's strength, the shield, the sacred sword. I sound of awe-repress'd astonishment Rose from the crowd. The delegated Maid Over her robes the hallowed breast-plate threw, Self-fitted to her form; on her helm d head The white plumes nod, majestically slow; She lifts the buckler and the sacred sword, Gleaming portentous light.

The wondering crowd Raise the loud shout of transport. «God of Heaven,» The Maid exclaimed, « Father all merciful! Devoted to whose holy will, I wield The sword of vengeance, go before our host! All-just avenger of the innocent, Be thou our Champion! God of Love, preserve Thosc whom po lust of glory leads to arms..



She ceased, and with an eager hush the crowd Still listen'd; a brief while throughout the dome Deep silence dwelt; then with a sudden burst Devout and full, they rais'd the choral hymn, « Thee, Lord, we praise, our God!» the throng without Catch the sirange tidings, join the hymn of joy, And thundering transport peals along the heavens.

As o'er some flowery field the busy bees Pour their deep music, pleasant melody To the tired traveller, under some old oak Stretch'd in the checquer'd shade; or as the sound Of many waters down the far off steep Dash'd with loud uproar, rose the murmur round

Of admiration. Every gazing, eye | Dwelt on the mission'd Maid; of all beside,

The long procession and the gorgeous train,

As through the parting crowd the Virgin passid, He who from Orleans on the yesternight Demanded succour, clasp'd with warmth her hand, And with a bosom-thrilling voice exclaim d, « Jll-omeu'd Maid! victim of thine own worth,

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