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“ Not upon us cry out the innocent blood !”
But the rage
Of Suffolk swelld within him. “ Speed your work!”.
And now they bound
The host of France approach'd, And Suffolk eagerly beheld the fire Brought near the pile; when suddenly a shout Toward Orleans call’d his eye, and thence he saw A man-at-arms upon a barded steed
300 Come thundering on.
As when Chederles comes To aid the Moslem on his deathless horse, Swaying the sword with such resistless arm, Such mightiest force, as he had newly quaff*d The hidden waters of eternal youth,
305 Till with the copious draught of life and strength Inebriate; such, so fierce, so terrible, Came Conrade through the camp. Aright, aleft,
The affrighted foemen scatter from his spear;
66 Haste thee hence To Orleans,” cried the warrior. 66 Tell the chiefs There is confusion in the English camp.
315 Bid them come forth.” On Conrade's steed the youth Leapt up, and hasten'd onward. He the while Turn'd to the war.
Like two conflicting clouds, Pregnant with thunder, moved the hostile hosts. Then man met man, then on the batter'd shield 320 Rung the loud lance, and through the darken'd sky Fast fell the arrowy
storm. Amid his foes The Bastard's arm dealt irresistibly The strokes of death; and by his side the Maid Led the fierce fight, the Maid, though all unused To such rude conflict, now inspired by Heaven, 326 Flashing her flamy falchion through the troops, That like the thunderbolt, where'er it fell, Scatter'd the trembling ranks. The Saracen, Though arm’d from Cashbin or Damascus, wields A weaker sword; nor might that magic blade 331 Compare with this, which Oriana saw Flame in the ruffian Ardan's robber hand, When, sick and cold as death, she turn'd away Her dizzy eyes, lest they should see the fall 335 Of her own Amadis. Nor plated shield, Nor the strong hauberk, nor the crested casque, Stay that descending sword. Dreadful she moved,
Like as the Angel of the Lord went forth
Yet the fight
345 Towered Talbot. He, remembering the past day When from his name the affrighted sons of France Fled trembling, all astonish'd at their force And wontless valour, rages round the field Dreadful in anger; yet in every man
350 Meeting a foe fearless, and in the faith Of Heaven's assistance firm.
The clang of arms Reaches the walls of Orleans. For the war Prepared, and confident of victory, Forth speed the troops.
Not when afar exhaled The hungry raven snuffs the steam of blood 356 That from some carcass-cover'd field of fame Taints the pure air, flies he more eagerly To feed upon the slain, than the Orleanites, Impatient now for many an ill endured 360 In the long siege, to wreak upon their foes Due vengeance.
Then more fearful grew the fray; The swords that late flash'd to the evening sun Now quench'd in blood their radiance.
O'er the host Howl'd a deep wind that ominous of storms 365 Rolld on the lurid clouds. The blacken’d night Frown'd, and the thunder from the troubled sky
Roar'd hollow. Javelins clash'd and bucklers rang;
Lo! where the holy banner waved aloft, 380 The lambent lightnings play. Irradiate round, As with a blaze of glory, o'er the field It stream'd miraculous splendour. Then their hearts Sunk, and the English trembled; with such fear : Possess'd, as when the Canaanites beheld 385 The sun stand still on Gibeon, at the voice Of that king-conquering warrior, he who smote The country of the hills, and of the south, From Baal-gad to Halak, and their chiefs, Even as the Lord commanded. Swift they fled 390 From that portentous banner, and the sword Of France; though Talbot with vain valiancy Yet urged the war, and stemm'd alone the tide Of battle. Even their leaders felt dismay; Fastolffe fled first, and Salisbury in the rout
395 Mingled, and all impatient of defeat, Borne backward Talbot turns. Then echoed loud The cry of conquest, deeper grew the storm
And darkness, hovering o'er on raven wing,
Nor in the
camp 400 Deem themselves safe the trembling fugitives ; On to the forts they haste. Bewilder'd there Amid the moats by fear and the thick gloom Of more than midnight darkness, plunge the troops, Crush'd by fast following numbers who partake 405 The death they give. As swoln with vernal snows A mountain torrent hurries on its way, Till at the brink of some abrupt descent Arrived, with deafening clamour down it falls Thus borne along, tumultuously the troops 410 Driven by the force behind them, plunge amid The liquid death. Then rose the dreadful cries More dreadful, and the dash of breaking waters That to the passing lightning as they broke Open'd their depth.
Nor of the host so late 415 Exultant in the pride of long success, A remnant had escaped, had not their chief, Slow as he moved unwilling from the field, What most might profit the defeated ranks 419 Bethought him. He, when he had gain'd the fort Named from St. John, there kindled up on high The guiding fire. Not unobserved it rose ; The watchful guards on Tournelles, and the pile Of that proud city in remembrance fond Call’d London, light their beacons. Soon the fires Flame on the summit of the circling forts Which with their moats and crenellated walls, Included Orleans. Far across the plain