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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
‘We love?" said Theodore; ‘Is there an employ
More righteous than to cheer declining age,
And thus with filial tenderness repay
Parental care?'

“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
For aid, and see her dragg'd, and hear her scream
In the blood-reeking soldier's lustful arms,
Think that there are such horrors; ' ' that even now,
Some city flames, and haply as in Roan,
Some famish'd babe on his dead mother's breast
Yet hangs and pulls for food so ... woe be to those
By whom the evil comes! and woe to him, ..
For little less his guilt, ... who dwells in peace,
When every arm is needed for the strife!'

• 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.”

BOOK II.

And now beneath the horizon westering slow
Had sunk the orb of day: o'er all the vale
A purple softness spread, save where the tree
Its giant shadow stretch'd, or winding stream
Mirror'd the light of Heaven, still traced distinct
When twilight dimly shrouded all beside.
A grateful coolness freshen'd the calm air,
And the hoarse grasshoppers their evening song
Sung shrill and ceaseless, 8 as the dews of night
Descended. On their way the travellers wend,
Cheering the road with converse, till at length
They mark a cottage lamp, whose steady light
Shone through the lattice: thitherward they turn.
There came an old man forth : his thin grey locks
Waved on the night breeze, and on his shrunk face
The characters of age were written deep.
Them, louting low with rustic courtesy,
He welcomed in; on the white-ember'd hearth
Heapt up fresh fuel, then with friendly care
Spread out the homely board, and fill d the bowl
With the red produce of the vine that arch'd
His evening seat; they of the plain repast
Partook, and quaff d the pure and pleasant draught.

• 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
Riding from rank to rank, his beaver up,
The long lance quivering in his mighty grasp.
His eye was wrathful to an enemy,
But for his countrymen it had a smile
Would win all hearts. Looking at thee, Sir Knight,
Methinks I see him now ; such was his eye,
Gentle in peace, and such his manly brow.”

“No tongue but speaketh honour of that name!»
Exclaimed Dunois. « Strangers and countrymen
Alike revered the good and gallant Chief.
His vassals like a father loved their Lord;
His gates stood open to the traveller;
The pilgrim when he saw his towers rejoiced,
For he had heard in other lands the fame
Of Orleans... And he lives a prisoner still
Losing all hope because my arm so long
Hath fail'd to win his liberty!”

He turn’d

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,
And wish that I had perish'd to

The old man
Wept as he spake. “Ye may perhaps have heard
Of the hard siege so long by Roan endured.
I dwelt there, strangers; I had then a wife,
And I had children tenderly beloved,
Who I did hope should cheer me in old age
And close mine eyes. The tale of misery
May-hap were tedious, or I could relate
Much of that dreadful time.”

The Maid replied,
Anxious of that devoted town to learn.
Thus then the veteran:—

* So by Heaven preserved,

From the disastrous plain of Agincourt 13
I speeded homewards and abode in peace.
Henry as wise as brave had back to England **
Led his victorious army; well aware
That France was mighty, that her warlike sons,
Impatient of a foreign victor's sway,
Might rise impetuous and with multitudes
Tread down the invaders. Wisely he return'd,
For the proud barons in their private broils
Wasted the strength of France. I dwelt at home,
And, with the little I possessed content,
Lived happily. A pleasant sight it was
To see my children, as at eve I sate
Beneath the vine, come clustering round my knee,
That they might hear again the oft-told tale
Of the dangers I had past: their little eyes
Did with such anxious eagerness attend
The tale of life preserved, as made me feel
Life's value. My poor children! a hard fate
Had they! but oft and bitterly I wish
That God had to his mercy taken me
In childhood, for it is a heavy lot
To linger out old age in loneliness!

“Ah me! when war the masters of mankind,
Woe to the poor man! if he sow the field,
He shall not reap the harvest; if he see
His offspring rise around, his boding heart
Aches at the thought that they are multiplied
To the sword! Again from England the fierce foe
Rush'd on our ravaged coasts. In battle bold,
Merciless in conquest, their victorious King
Swept like the desolating tempest round.
Dambieres submits; on Caen's subjected wall
The flag of England waved. Roan still remain'd,
Embattled Roan, bulwark of Normandy;
Nor unresisted round her massy walls
Pitch'd they their camp. I need not tell Sir Knight
How oft and boldly on the invading host
We burst with fierce assault impetuous forth,
For many were the warrior Sons of Roan.”
One gallant Citizen was famed o'er all
For daring hardihood pre-eminent,
Blanchard. He, gathering round his countrymen,
With his own courage kindling every breast,
Had bade them vow before Almighty God”
Never to yield them to the usurping foe.
Before the God of Hosts we made the vow:
And we had baffled the besieging power,
Had not the patient enemy drawn round
His strong entrenchments. From the watch-tower's top
In vain with fearful hearts along the Seine
We strain'd the eye, and every distant wave
Which in the sun-beam glitter'd fondly thought
The white sail of supply. Alas! no more
The white sail rose upon our aching sight;
For guarded was the Seine, and that stern foe
Had made a league with Famine.” Ilow my heart
Sunk in Ine when at night I carried home
The scanty pittance of to-morrow's meal!
You know not, strangers! what it is to see
The asking eye of hunger!

Still we strove,
Expecting aid; nor longer force to force,
Valour to valour in the fight opposed,
But to the exasperate patience of the foe
Desperate endurance.” Though with Christian zeal
Ursino would have pour'd the balm of peace
Into our wounds, Ambition's ear, best pleased
With the war's clamour and the groan of Deatlı,
was deaf to prayer. Day after day fled on;
We heard no voice of comfort. From the walls
Could we behold the savage Irish Kernes”9
lousfians half-clothed, haif-human, half-baptized,”
Come with their spoil, minglint; their hideous shouts
With moan of weary flocks, and piteous low
Of kine sore-laden, in the mirthful camp
Scattering abundance; while the loathliest food
We prized above all price; while in our streets
The dying troan of hunger, and the scream
Of famishing infants echoed,—and we heard,
With the strange selfishness of misery,
We heard and heeded not.

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.

Thus distress'd,

Lest all should perish thus, our chiefs decreed
Women and children, the infirm and old,
All who were useless in the work of war,
Should forth and take their fortune. Age, that makes
The joys and sorrows of the distant years
Like a half-remember'd dream, yet on my heart
Leaves deep impress d the horrors of that hour.
Then as our widow wives clung round our necks,
And the deep sob of anguish interrupted
The prayer of parting, even the pious Priest
As he implored his God to strengthen us,
And told us we should meet again in Heaven,
He groan'd and cursed in bitterness of heart 34
That merciless man. The wretched crowd pass'd on:
My wife—my children—through the gates they pass'd,
Then the gates closed—Would I were in my grave,

That I might lose remembrance!
What is man,
That he can hear the groan of wretchedness
And feel no fleshy pang? Why did the All-Good
Create these warrior scourges of mankind,
These who delight in slaughter? I did think
There was not on this earth a heart so hard
Could hear a famish'd woman cry for bread,
And know no pity. As the outcast train
Drew near, relentless Henry bade his troops
Force back the miserable multitude.85
They drove them to the walls, it was the depth
Of winter, we had no relief to grant.
The aged ones groan'd to our foe in vain,
The mother pleaded for her dying child,
And they felt no remorse!»
The mission'd Maid
Starts from her scat—“The old and the infirm,
The mother and her babes!—and yet no lightning
Blasted this man!”
“Ay, Lady,” Bertram cried;
« And when we sent the herald to implore
His mercy 3° on the helpless, his steru face
Assumed a sterner smile of callous scorn,
And he replied in mockery. On the wall
I stood and mark'd the miserable outcasts,
And every moment thought that Henry's heart,
Hard as it was, would melt. All night I stood, -
Their deep groans came upon the midnight gale,
Fainter they grew, for the cold wintry wind
slew bleak; fainter they brew, and at the last
All was still, save that ever and amon
Some mother shriek'd o'er her expiring child
The shriek of frenzying anguish.37
From that hour
On all the busy turmoil of the world
I gazed with strange indifference; bearing want
With the sick patience of a mind worn out.
Nor when the traitor yielded up our town 38
Ought heeded I as through our ruin'd streets, .
Through putrid heaps of famish'd carcasses,
Pass'd the long pomp of triumph. One keen pang
I felt, when by that bloody King's command
The gallant Blanchard died.”9 Calmly he died;
And as he bow'd beneath the axe, thank'd God
That he had done his duty.
I survive,
A solitary, friendless, wretched one,
Knowing no joy save in the faith I feel
I hat I shall soon be gather'd to my sires,
And soon repose, there where the wicked cense {e
From troubling, and the weary are at rest.”

• 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
The widow's groan.”

* I saw him,” Bertram cried,
« Henry of Agincourt, this conqueror King,
Go to his grave. The long procession past
Slowly from town to town, and when I heard
The deep-toned dirge, aud saw the banners wave
A pompous shade,41 and the high torches glare
In the mid-day sun a dim and gloomy light,4-
I thought what he had been on earth who now
was gone to his account, and blest my God
I was not such as he 'w

So spake the old man,

And then his guests betook them to repose.

BOOK III.

FAIR dawn'd the morning, and the early sun
Pour'd on the latticed cot a cheerful gleam,
And up the travellers rose, and on their way
IIastened, their dangerous way,43 through fertile tracks
The waste of war. They pass'd the Auxerrois;
The autumnal rains had beaten to the earth #4
The unreap'd harvest, from the village church
No even-song bell was heard, the shepherd's dog
Prey'd on the scatter'd flock, for there was now
No haud to feed him, and upon the hearth
Where he had slumber d at his master's feet
The rank weed flourish'd. Did they sometimes find
A welcome, he who welcomed them was one
Who linger'd in the place where he was born,
For that alone was left him now to love.
They pass'd the Yonne, they pass'd the rapid Loire,
Still urging on their way with cautious speed,
Shunning Auxerre, and i'ar's embattled wall,
And Romorantin's towers.

Sojourneying on,
Fast by a spring, which welling at his feet
With many a winding crept along the mead,
A Knight they saw, who there at his repast
Let the west wind play round his ungirt brow.
Approaching near, the Bastard recognized
The gallant friend of Orleans, the brave chief
Du Chastel; and, the mutual greeting pass'd,
They on the streamlet's mossy bank reclined
Beside him, and his frugal fare partook,

And drank the running waters.
“Art thou bound

For the Court, Dunois?» exclaim'd the aged Knight;
I deem'd thee far away, coop'd in the walls
of Orleans; a hard siege her valiant sons
Right loyally endure”

* I left the town,”
Dunois replied, a thinking that my prompt speed
Might seize the hostile stores, and with fresh force
Re-enter. Fastolfe's better fate prevail'd,{*
And from the field of shame my maddening horse
Bore me, for the barb’d arrow gored his flank.
Fatigued and faint with that day's dangerous toil,
My deep wounds bleeding, vainly with weak hand
I check'd the powerless rein. Nor aught avail'd
when heal’d at length, defeated and alone
Again to enter Orleans. In Lorraine
I sought to raise new powers, and now return'd

| With strangest and most unexpected aid
Sent by high Heaven. I seek the Court, and thence
To that beleaguer'd town shall lead such force,
That the proud English in their fields of blood
| Shall perish.”
* I too,” Tanneguy replied,
In the field of battle once again perchance
May serve my royal Master; in his cause
\ly youth adventured much, nor can my age
Find better close than in the clang of arms
To die for him whom I have lived to serve. 46
Thou art for the Court; Son of the Chief I loved!
He wise by my experience. He who seeks
Court favour, ventures like the boy who leans
Over the brink of some high precipice
To reach the o'erhanging fruit. #7 Thou seest me here
A banish'd man, Dunois is so to appease
| Richemont, 49 who, jealous of the royal ear,
With midnight murder leagues, and down the Loire
Rolls the black carcase of his strangled foe.
Now confident of strength, at the King's feet
He stabs the King's best friends, and then demands,
As with a conqueror's imperious tone,
| The post of honour. Son of that loved Chief
Whose death my arm avenged, * may all thy days
He happy! serve thy country in the field,
And in the hour of peace amid thy friends
| Dwell thou without ambition.”
So he spake. .
But when the Bastard told the wonderous tale,
How interposing Heaven had its high aid
Vouchsafed to France, the old man's eyes flash'd fire,
And rising from the bank, the stately steed
That grazed beside he mounts. “Farewell, Dunois,
| Thou too the Delegate of Heaven, farewell!
I go to raise the standard ' we shall meet
At Orleans.” O'er the plain he spurr'd his steed.
| They journey on their way till Chinon's towers
Rose to the distant view; imperial seat
Of Charles, for Paris with her servile sons,
A headstrong, mutable, ferocious race,
Bow'd to the invader's yoke, since that sad hour 5:
When Faction o'er her streets with giant stride
Strode terrible, and Murder and Revenge,
As by the midnight torches lurid light
They mark'd their mangled victims writhe convulsed.
Laugh'd at the deep death groan. Ill-fated scene!
Through many a dark age drench'd with innocent blood,
And one day doom'd to know the damning guilt
Of Brissor murder d, and the heroic wife
Of Roland! Martyrd patriots, spirits pure,
Wept by the good ye fell! Yet still survives,
Sown by your toil and by your blood manured,
| The imperishable seed; and still its roots
Spread, and strike deep, and yet shall it become
| That Tree beneath whose thade the Sons of Men
Shall pitch their tents in peace.

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