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Who made me to be happy.'
‘Did that God,' Cried Conrade, “form thy heart for happiness, When Desolation royally careers Over thy wretched country? did that God Form thee for Peace when Slaughter is abroad, When her brooks run with blood, and Rape, and Murder, Stalk through her flaming towns live thou in peace, Young man! my heart is human : I do feel For what my brethren suffer. While he spake Such mingled passions character'd his face Of fierce and terrible benevolence, That I did tremble as I listen'd to him: And in my heart tumultuous thoughts arose Of high achievements, indistinct, and wild, And vast, yet such they were as made me pant As though by some divinity possess'd.
“But is there not some duty due to those
“Hard is it, Conrade cried, “Aye, hard indeed, to part from those we love; And I have suffer'd that severest pang. I have left an aged mother; I have left One, upon whom my heart has center'd all Its dearest, best, affections. Should I live Till France shall see the blessed hour of Peace, I shall return; my heart will be content, My highest duties will be well discharged And I may then be happy. There are those Who deem these thoughts the fancies of a mind Strict beyond measure, and were well content, If I should soften down my rigid nature Even to inglorious ease, to honour me. But pure of heart and high of self-esteem I must be honour’d by myself: all else, The breath of Fame, is as the unsteady wind worthless.'
So saying from his belt he took The encumbering sword. I held it, listening to him, And wistless what I did, half from the sheath Drew forth its glittering blade. I gazed upon it And shuddering, as I touch'd its edge, exclaim'd, How horrible it is with the keen sword To gore the finely-fibred human frame! I could not strike a lamb.
He answer'd me, ‘Maiden, thou hast said well. I could not strike A lamb, . . But when the invader's savage fury Spares not grey age, and mocks the infant's shriek As it doth writhe upon his cursed lance, Aud forces to his foul embrace, the wife Even on her murder'd husband's gasping corse! Almighty God! I should not be a man If I did let one weak and pitiful feeling Make mine arm impotent to cleave him down. Think well of this, young Man!” he cried, and seized The hand of Theodore; “think well of this, As you are human, as you hope to live In peace, amid the dearest joys of home; Think well of this! you have a tender mother, As you do wish that she may die in peace, As you would even to madness agonize
To hear this maiden call on you in vain
• When we had all betaken us to rest, Sleepless I lay, and in my mind revolved The high-soul’d warrior's speech. Then Madelon Rose in remembrance; over her the grave Had closed; her sorrows were not register'd In the rolls of Fame: but when the tears run down The widow's cheek, shall not her cry be heard In Heaven against the oppressor? will not God In sunder smite the unmerciful, and break The sceptre of the wicked?” ... thoughts like these Possess'd my soul, till at the break of day I slept; nor did my heated brain repose Even then, for visions, sent, as I believe, From the Most High, arose. A high-tower'd town Hemm'd in and girt with enemies, I saw, Where Famine on a heap of carcasses, Half envious of the unutterable feast, Mark'd the gorged raven clog his beak with gore. I turn'd me then to the besieger's camp. And there was revelry : the loud lewd laugh Burst on mine ear, and I beheld the chiefs Sit at their feast, and plan the work of death. My soul grew sick within me; I look'd up, Reproaching Heaven,... lo! from the clouds an arm As of the avenging Angel was put forth, And from his hand a sword, like lightning, fell.
“From that night I could feel my burthend soul Heaving beneath incumbent Deity. I sate in silence, musing on the days To come, unheeding and unseeing all Around me, in that dreaminess of thought When every bodily sense is as it slept, And the mind alone is wakeful. I have heard Strange voices in the evening wind; strange forms Dimly discover'd throng d the twilight air. The neighbours wonder'd at the sudden change, And call d me crazed; and my dear Uncle, too, Would sit and gaze upon me wistfully, A heaviness upon his aged brow, And in his eye such trouble, that my heart Sometimes misgave me. I had told him all, The mighty future labouring in my breast, But that the hour methought not yet was come.
* At length I heard of Orleans, by the foe Wall'd in from human succour; there all thoughts, All hopes were turn'd; that bulwark once beat down, All was the invaders'. Now my troubled soul Grew more disturb'd, and, shunning every eye, I loved to wander where the forest shade Frown'd deepest; there on mightiest deeds to brood Of shadowy vastness, such as made my heart Throb loud : anon I paused, and in a state Of half expectance, listend to the wind.
“There is a fountain in the forest call'd The Fountain of the Fairies: 14 when a child With a delightful wonder I have heard Tales of the Elfin tribe who on its banks Hold midnight revelry. An ancient oak, The goodliest of the forest, grows beside; Alone it stands, upon a green grass plat, By the woods bounded like some little isle. It ever hath been deem'd their favourite tree; They love to lie and rock upon its leaves,” And bask in moonshine. Here the Woodman leads His boy, and, showing him the green-sward mark'd With darker circlets, says their midnight dance Hath trac'd the ring, and bids him spare the tree. Fancy had cast a spell upon the place, And made it holy; and the villagers Would say that never evil thing approach'd Unpunish'd there. The strange and fearful pleasure Which fill'd me by that solitary spring, Ceased not in riper years; and now it woke Deeper delight and more mysterious awe.
* Lonely the forest spring: a rocky hill Rises beside it, and an aged yew Bursts from the rifted crag that overbrows The waters; cavern'd there unseen and slow And silently they well. The adder's tongue, Rich with the wrinkles of its glossy green, Hangs down its long lank leaves, whose wavy dip Just breaks the tranquil surface. Ancient woods Bosom the quiet beauties of the place; Nor ever sound profanes it, save such sounds As Silence loves to hear, the passing wind, Or the low murmuring of the stream scarce heard. A blessed spot! oh how my soul enjoy'd Its holy quietness, with what delight Escaping from mankind I hasten’d there To solitude and freedom! thitherward On a spring eve I had betaken me, And there I sate, and mark'd the deep red clouds Gather before the wind . . the rising wind, Whose sudden gusts, each wilder than the last, Appear'd to rock my senses. Soon the night Darken'd around, and the large rain drops fell Heavy; anon tempestuously the gale Howl'd o'er the wood. Methought the heavy rain Fell with a grateful coolness on my head, And the hoarse dash of waters, and the rush Of winds that mingled with the forest roar, Made a wild music. On a rock I sat; The glory of the tempest fill'd my soul; And when the thunders peal’d, and the long flash Hung durable in heaven, and on my sight Spread the grey forest, memory, thought, were gone, 16 All sense of self annihilate, I seem'd Diffus'd into the scene. At length a light Approach'd the spring; I saw my Uncle Claude: His grey locks dripping with the midnight storm. . He came, and caught me in his arms, and cried, “My God! my child is safe" I felt his words Pierce in my heart; my soul was overcharged; I fell upon his neck and told him all; God was within me; as I felt, I spake,
And he believed.
Aye, Chieftain, and the world Shall soon believe my mission; for the Lord Will raise up indignation, and pour out His wrath, and they shall perish who oppress.”
And now beneath the horizon westering slow
• Strangers, your fare is homely,” said their Host; But such it is as we poor countrymen Earn with hard toil: in faith ye are welcome to it! I too have borne a lance in younger days; And would that I were young again to meet These haughty English in the field of fight! Such as I was when on the fatal plain Of Agincourt I met them.”
i to Wert thou, then, A sharer in that dreadful day's defeat?» Exclaim'd the Bastard : « Didst thou know the Lord Of Orleans?» a Know him 'w cried the veteran,
* I saw him ere the bloody fight began
“No tongue but speaketh honour of that name!»
His head away to hide the burning shame Which flush'd his face. “But he shall live, Dunois,” Exclaim'd the mission'd Maid; “ but he shall live To hear good tidings; hear of liberty, of his own liberty, by his brother's arm Achieved in hard-fought battle. He shall live Happy: the memory of his prison'd years '9 Shall heighten all his joys, and his grey hairs Go to the grave in peace.” • I would fain live To see that day,” replied their aged host: • How would my heart leap to behold again The gallant generous chieftain! I fought by him When all the hopes of victory were lost, And down his batter'd arms the blood stream'd fast From many a wound. Like wolves they hemm'd usin, Fierce in unhoped-for conquest: all around Our dead and dying countrymen lay heap'd; Yet still he strove;—I wonder'd at his valour! There was not one who on that fatal day Fought bravelier.” • Fatal was that day to France,” Exclaim'd the Bastard; othere Alençon fell, Valiant in vain; there D'Albert, whose mad pride Brought the whole ruin on. There fell Brabant, Vaudemont, and Marle, and Bar, and Faquenberg, Our noblest warriors; the determin'd foe Fought for revenge, not hoping victory, Desperately brave; ranks fell on ranks before them; The prisoners of that shameful day out-summ'd Their conquerors!» " * Yet believe not,” Bertram cried, • That cowardice disgraced thy countrymen: They by their leader's arrogance led on With heedless fury, found all numbers vain, All efforts fruitless there; and hadst thou seen, Skilful as brave, how Ilenry's ready eye Lost not a thicket, not a hillock's aid; From his hersed bowmen how the arrows flew a Thick as the snow flakes and with lightning force, Thou wouldst have known such soldiers, such a chief, Could never be subdued. But when the field was won, and they who had escaped the fight had yielded up their arms, it was foul work to glut on the defenceless prisoners” The blunted sword of conquest. Girt around I to their mercy had surrender'd me, When lo! I heard the dreadful cry of death. Not as amid the fray, when man met man And in fair combat gave the mortal blow; Here the poor captives, weaponless and bound, Saw their stern victors draw again the sword, And groan'd and strove in vain to free their hands, And bade them think upon their plighted faith, And pray'd for mercy in the name of God, In vain: the King had bade them massacre, And in their helpless prisoners' naked breasts They drove the blade. Then I expected death, And at that moment death was terrible— For the heat of fight was over; of my home I thought, and of my wife and little ones In bitterness of heart. The gallant man, To whom the chance of war had made me thrall, Had pity, loosed my hands, and bade me fly. It was the will of Heaven that I should live
Childless and old to think upon the past,
The old man
The Maid replied,
* So by Heaven preserved,
From the disastrous plain of Agincourt 13
“Ah me! when war the masters of mankind,
Still we strove,
Thou would'st have deem'd Roan must have fallen an easy sacrifice, Young warrior, hadst thou seen our meagre limbs And pale and shrunken cheeks, and hollow eyes; Yet still we struggled nobly' Blanchard still Spake of the savage fury of the foe, of Harfleur's wretched race cast on the world” Houseless and destitute, while that fierce King Knelt at the altar,” and with impious prayer Gave God the glory, even while the blood That he had shed was reeking up to Heaven. He bade us think what mercy they had found who yielded on the plain of Agincourt, And what the gallant sons of Caen, by him In cold blood murder'd.” Then his scanty food sharing with the most wretched, he would bid us Bear with our miseries bravely.
Lest all should perish thus, our chiefs decreed
That I might lose remembrance!
• And happy,” cried the delegated Maid, • And happy they who in that holy faith }ow meekly to the rod. A little while - | Shall they endure the proud man's contumely, The injustice of the great. A little while Though shelterless they feel the wintry wind, The wind shall whistle o'er their turf-grown grave, | And all be peace below. But woe to those, i woe to the Mighty Ones who send abroad t Their train’d assassins, and who give to Fury The flaming firebrand; these indeed shall live The heroes of the wandering minstrel's song; But they have their reward; the innocent blood
Steams up to Heaven against them. God shall hear
* I saw him,” Bertram cried,
So spake the old man,
And then his guests betook them to repose.
FAIR dawn'd the morning, and the early sun
And drank the running waters.
For the Court, Dunois?» exclaim'd the aged Knight;
* I left the town,”
| With strangest and most unexpected aid