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And smote liis army, when the Assyrian king,
Yet the fight
The clang of arms Reaches the walls of Orleans. For the war Prepared, and confident of victory, Forth speed the troops. Not when a far cxbaled The hungry raven snuffs the steam of blood That from some carcass-cover'd field of fame Taints the pure air, wings he more eagerly To riot on the gore, than ruslı'd the ranks; Impatient now for many an ill endured In the long siege, to wreak upon their foes Due vengeance. Then more fearfulgrew the fray; The swords that late flashi'd to the evening sun 106 Now quench'd in blood their radiance.
O'er the liost
Even such a storm
Deem themselves safe the trembling fugitives.
Nor of the host, so late
Swift as the affrighted herd Scud o'er the plain, when frequent through the sky Flash the fierce lightnings, speed the routed host Of England. To the sheltering forts they haste, Though safe, of safety doubiful, still appail'd And trembling, as the pilgrim who by night, On his way wilder'd, 10 the wolf's deep howl lears the wood echo, when from the fell beast Escaped, of some small tree the topmast branch lle
grasps close clinging, still of that keen fang Fearful, his teeth jar, and the big drops stand On his cold quivering limbs.
Nor now the Mail
Lo! where the holy banner waved aloft,
the war, and stemmd alone the tide
Nor in the camp
Loud is the cry of conquest as they turn To Orleans. There what few to guard the town Unwilling had remain'd, haste forth to meet The triumph. Many a blazing torch they held, Which, raised aloft amid the inidniglic storm, Flashi'd far a festive light. The Maid advanced;
Deep through the sky the hollow thunders rollid; Circling the pile, a bulwark vast, as what Innocuous lightnings round the hallowd banner Round their dishearten'd camp and stranded ships Wreath'd their red radiance.
The Greeks uprear'd a common sepulchre
Through the open'd gate of thousands slaughter'd, and the doom'd death-place Slow past the laden convoy. Then was heard
Of many a chief, when Priam's patriot son The shout of exultation, and such joy
Rush'd in his wrath and scatter'd their pale tribes. The men of Orleans at that welcome sight Possess'd, as when, from Bactria late subdued,
But cowering now amid their sheltering forts The mighty Macedonian led his troops
Tremble the invading host. Their leader's care Amid the Sogilian desert, where no strcam
lo anxious vigilance prepares to ward Wastes on the wild its fertilizing waves.
Assault expected. Nor the Maid's intent Fearful alike to pause, or to proceed;
Did he not rightly areed; though vain his hope Scorch'd by the sun that b'er their morning marchi
To kindle in their breasts the wonted flame Steam'd his hot vapours, heart-subdued and faint; Of valour; for by prodigies unmann'd Such joy as ther they felt, when from the heighits They wait the morn. The soldiers' pride was gone, Burst the soul-gladdening sound! for thence was seen The blood was on their swords, their bucklers lay The evening sun silveriog the vale below,
Unburnish'd and defiled; "I they sharpen'd not Where Oxus rollid along.
Their blunted spears, the affrighted archier's hand Clamours of joy
Relax'd not his bent bow. To them, confused Echo along the streets of Orleans, wont
With fears of unknown danger, the long night Long time to hear the infant's feeble cry,
Was drcadful, but more dreadful dawn'd the day. The mother's frantic shriek, or the dread sound, When from the cannon burst its stores of death. The morning came. The martial Maid arose. Far flames the fire of joy on ruin'd piles,
Lovely in arms she moved.
Around the gate And high heap'd carcasses, whence scared away
Eager again for conquest throng the troops. From his abhorred meal, on clattering wing
High tower'd the Son of Orleans, in his strength Rose the pight-raven slow.
Poising the ponderous spear. His batter'd shield, In the English forts Witnessing the fierce fray of yesternight, Sad was the scene. There all the livelong night
Hung on his sinewy arm. Steals in the straggling fugitive; as when
« Maiden of Arc,» Past is the storm, and o'er the azure sky
So as he spake approaching, cried the Chief, Serenely shines the sun, with every breeze
«Well hast thou proved thy mission, as by words The waving branches drop their gather'd rain,
And miracles attested when dismay'd
The stern theologists forgot their doubts,
And seem as in their strength they mock'd our force.
Yet must they fall.»
« And fall they shall!» replied
The Maid of Orleans. Ere the sun be set, STRONG were the English forts, 109 by daily toil The lily on that shatter'd wall shall wave Of thousands rear'd on high, when arrogant
Triumphant.— Men of France! ye have fought well With hoped-for conquest Salisbury bade rise
On yon blood-reeking plain. Your humbled foes The mighty pile, from succour to include
Lurk trembling now amid their massy walls. Besieged Orleans. Round the city walls
Wolves that have ravaged the neglected flock! Stretch'd the wide circle, massy as the fence
The Shepherd—the Great Shepherd is arisen! Erst by the fearful Roman on the bounds
Ye fly! yet shall not ye by flight escape Of Caledonia raised, when soul-enslaved
Men of Orleans! it were vain Her hireling plunderers fear'd the car-borne chiefs By words to waken wrath within your breasts. Who rushd from Morven down.
Look round ! Your holy buildings and your liomes,
Strong battlements Ruins that choke the way! Your populous town, Crested the ample bulwark, on whose top
One open sepulchre! Who is there here Secure the charioteer might wheel along.
That does not mourn a friend, a brother slain, The frequent buttress at just distance rose
A parent famish'd-or his dear loved wife Declining from its base, and sixty forts
Torn from his bosom-outcast-broken-heartedLifted aloft their turrel-crested heads,
Cast on the mercy of mankind ?» All firm and massy. Bat of these most firm,
She ceased; As though of some large castle each the keep,
The cry of indignation from the host
Commands the first; Xaintrailles, who oft subdued The city, might, liimself the while unseen,
By adverse fortune to the captive chain, Through the long opening shower lfis winged deaths. Still more tremendous to the
enemy, Loire's waves diverted fill'd the deep-dug moat
Lifted his death-fraught lance, as erst from carth
Antæus vaunting in his giant bulk,
They rear'd the hostile band, for low the wall When graspt by force Herculean, down he fell
Where the bold Frenchman's upward-driven spear Vanquish'd, anon uprose more fierce for war.
Might pierce the foemen.
As Alençon moved, Gaucour o'er one presides, the steady friend
On his crown-crested helm 11$ with ponderous blow To long-imprison d Orleans; of bis town
Fell Gladdisdale's huge mace. Back he recoild Beloved guardian, he the dreadful siege
Astounded; soon recovering, his keen lance Firmly abiding, prudent still to plan
Thrust on the warrior's shield: there fast-infix'd, Irruption, and with youthful vigour swift
Nor could Alençon the deep-driven spear To lead the battle, from his soldiers' love
Recover, nor the foeman from his grasp Prompter obedience gained, than ever fear
Wrench the contended weapon. Fierce again Forced from the heart reluctant.
He lifts the mace, that on the ashen hilt
The third band Fell full; it shiver'd, and the Frenchman held Alençon leads: he on the fatal field
A pointless truncheon. Where the Bastard fought Verneuil, when Buchan and the Douglas died, The spear of Poynings through his plated mail Fell senseless. Guiltless he of that day's loss,
Pierced, and against the iron fence beneath 119 Worc undisgraced awhile the captive chain.
Blunted its point. Again he speeds the spear; The Monarch him mindful of his high rank
At once Dunois on his broad buckler bears Had ransom'd, once again to meet the foe
The uplarmiog stroke, and aims with better fate With better fortune.
Iis javelin. Through his sword-arın did it pierce, O'er the last presides
Maugre the mail.
Hot from the streaming wound Dunois the bastard, mighty in the war.
Again the weapon fell, and in his breast His prowess knew the foes, and his fair fame
Even through the hauberk drove. Confess'd, since when before his stripling arm
But there the war Fled Warwick; Warwick, he whose fair renown
Raged fiercest where the martial Maiden moved, Greece knew and Antioch and the holy soil
The minister of wrath; for thither throng'd Of Palestine, since there in arms he pass'd
The bravest champions of the adverse host: Oo gallant pilgrimage; yet by Danois
And on her either side two warriors stood Baftled, and yielding him the conqueror's praise.
Of upmatch'd prowess, still with eager eye And by his side the martial Maiden passid,
Shielding her form, and aiming at her foes Lovely in arms as that Arcadian boy
Their deadly weapons,
of themselves the while Parthenopaus, when, the war of beasts 112
Little regarding. One was that bold man Disdaining, he to murder man rush'd forth,
Who bade defiance to the English chiefs. Bearing the bow, and those Dictæan shafts
Firmly he stood, untired and undismay'd, Diana gave, when she the youth's fair form
Though on his burgonet the frequent spear Saw softend, and forgave the mother's fault.
Drove fierce, and on his arm the buckler hung
Heavy, thick-bristled with the hostile shafts, St Loup's strong fort stood first. Here Gladdisdale 113 Even like the porcupine when in his rage, Commands the fearful troops.
Roused, he collects within him all his force,
As lowering clouds Himself a quiver. And of loftier port
Had sunk. Untired the conflict he endured,
Not the strong buckler nor the plated mail
Guarding ascent. The herald and the Maid For the death-blow prepared. Alençon here,
Follow'd, and soon the exulting cry of France And here the Bastard strode, and by the Maid
Along the lists was heard, as waved aloft That daring man who to the English host,
The holy banner. Gladdisdale beheld, "Then insolent of many a conquest gain'd,
And hasting from his well-defended post Bore her bold bidding. A rude coat of mail 16 Sped to the fiercer conflict. To the Maid Uphosed, unbooded, as of lowly line,
He strode, on her resolved to wreak his rage, Arm'd him, though here amid the high-born chiefs With her to end the war. Nor did not JOAN Pre-eminent for prowess. On his head
Areed his purpose : lifting up her shield A black plume shadow'd the rude-featured helm. '17 Prepared she stood, and poised her sparkling spear. Then was the war of men, when front to front | The English Chief came on; he raised his mace;
With circling force, the iron weight swung high, 121
Now far away
Then terror seized the host, Their Chieftain dead. And lo! where on the wall, Bulwarkd of late by Gladdisdale so well, The Son of Orleans stood, and sway'd around His falchion, keeping thus at bay the foe, Till on the battlements his comrade sprang, And raised the shout of conquest. Then appallid The English fled: nor fled they unpursued, For mingling with the foremost fugitives, The gallant Conrade rush'd ; and with the throng The knights of France together o'er the bridge Rushd forward. Nor the garrison within Darst let the ponderous portcullis fall, For in the entrance of the fort the fight Raged fiercely, and together throngh the gate The vanquish'd English and their eager foes Pass'd in the flying conflict.
Well I deem And wisely did that daring Spaniard act * At Vera-Cruz. when he, his yet sound ships Dismantling, left no spot where treacherous fear Might still with wild and wistful eye look back. For knowing no retreat, his desperate troops In conquest sought their safety; victors hence At Tlascala, and o'er the Cholulans, And by Otompan, on that bloody field When Mexico her patriot thousands pour'd, Fierce in vain valour on their dreadful foes. There was a portal to the English fort Which opend on the wall;122 a speedier path In the hour of safety, whence the charmed eye Might linger down the river's pleasant course. Fierce in the gate-way raged the deadly war; For there the Maiden strove, and Conrade there, And he of lowly line, bravelier than whom Fought not in that day's battle. Of success Desperate, for from above the garrison Could wield no arms, so certain to bestow Equal destruction, of the portal's aid The foe bethought them : then with lesser force Their weapons fell; abandon'd was the gate; And soon from Orleans the glad citizens Beheld the hallow'd banner on the tower Triumphant. Swift along the lofty wall The English haste to St John's neighbouring fort, Flying with fearful speed. Nor from pursuit The victors ceased, but with the fugitives Mingled and waged the war : the combatants, Lock'd in the bostile grasp, together fall
But foremost of the French,
Yet were they of their numbers proud,
There was amid the garrison
The exasperate knight Drew his keen falchion, and with dauntless step Moved to the closer conflict. Then the Frank Held forth his buckler, and his battle-axe Uplifted. Where the buckler was below
Rounded, the falchion struck, but impotent
That hung on high the bridge. The impetuous troops, To pierce its plated folds; more forceful driven, By Gaucour led, rush'd o'er to victory. Fierce on his crested helm the Frenchiman's stroke Fell; the belm shiver'd; from his eyes the blood The banner'd lilies on the captured wall Started; with b!ood the chambers of the brain
Toss'd to the wind. « On to the neighbouring fort!» Were fill d; his breast-plate with convulsive throes Cried Conrade; « Xaintrailles! ere the night draws on, Heaved as he fell. Victorious, he the prize
Once more to conquest lead the troops of France! At many a tournament had borne away
Force ye the lists, and fill the deep-dug moat, In mimic war : happy, if so content
And with the ram shake down their batter'd walls; With bloodless glory, he had never left
Anon I shall be with you. Thus he said;
Then to the Damsel : « Maid of Arc! awhile
Cease we from battle, and by short repose
Renew our strength.» So saying he his helm Near that death-doing man. Amid their host
Unlaced, and in the Loire's near flowing stream Was one who will could from the stubborn bow Cool'd his hot face. The Maid her head unhelm'd, Shower his sharp shafts: well skill'd in wood-craft he, And stooping to the stream, reflected there Even as the merry outlaws who their haunts
Saw her white plumage staind with human blood! Jo Sherwood held, and bade their bugles rouse Shuddering she saw, but soon her steady soul The sleeping stay, ere on the web-woven grass
Collected : on the banks she laid her down, The dew-drops sparkled to the rising sun.
Freely a while respiring, for her breath
Quick panted from the fight : silent they lay,
It was now the noon :
Danced sparkling. Lost in thought the warrior lay, Nor was the call unheard; the troops of France, Then as his countenance relax'd he cried, From St Loup's captured fort along the wall
« Maiden of Arc! at such an hour as this, Haste to the porial; cheering was the sound
Beneath the o'er-arching forest's chequer'd shade, Of their near footsteps to the Chief; he drew
With that lost woman havc I wander'd on,
Oh, hours for ever fled ! delightful dreams
Not more fierce
If Agócs on a worthier one had fix'd The injured Turnus sway'd his angry arm,
Her love, that though my heart had nurst till death Slaughtering the robber fugitives of Troy;
Its sorrows, Lhad never on her choice
A harlo!! ... au adulteress! » 126
Red anger flash d ; anon of what she was
Ere yet the foul pollution of the court Waste their wild fury, stood the unshaken man; Stain'd her fair fame, he thought. « Oh, happy age!» Though round him prest his foemen, by despair lle cried, « when all the family of man Hearten'd. He, mowing through the throng his path, Freely enjoy'd their goodly heritage, Call’d on the troops of France, and bade them haste And only bowd the knee in prayer to God! Where he shoull lead the way. A daring band
Calm flow'd the unruffled stream of
years along, Follow'd the adventurous chieftain; be moved on Till o'er the peaceful rustic's licad the hair Unterrified, amid the arrowy shower,
in full of time. Then he would sit Though on his shield and belm the darts fell fast Beneath the coctaneous oak, while round, As the seard leaves that from the trembling tree Sons, grandsons, and their offspring join d to form The autumnal whirlwind shakes.
The blameless merriment; and learnt of him
Nor Conrade paused; What time to yoke the oxen to the plough, Still through the fierce fight urging on his way, What hollow moanings of the western wind Till to the gate he came, and with strong hand Foretel the storm, and in what lurid clouds Seized on the massy bolts. These as he drew,
The embryo lightning lies. Well pleased, he taught, Full on bis helm the weighty English sword
The heart-smile clowing on his aged cheek, Descended; swift he turn' to wreak his wrath, Mild as the summer sun's decaying light. When lo! the assailant gasping on the ground, Thus quietly the stream of life flowd on, Cleft by the Maiden's falchion : she herself
Till in the shoreless ocean lost at length.
Around the bed of death his numerous race
Ilis last advice, and caugbt liis latest sigh :
And when he died, as he had fallen asleep, The bolts: the gate turn'd slow: forth leapt the Chief, Beneath the aged tree thai grew with him And shiverd with his battle-axe the chains
They delved the narrow house : there oft at ove
In his eye