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Her banner planted. Gladdisdale beheld,
Then terror seized the host, 230 Their chieftain dead. And lo! where on the wall, Maintain'd of late by Gladdisdale so well,
The Son of Orleans stands, and
around His falchion, keeping thus at bay the foe, Till on the battlements his comrades climb 235 And raise 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 240 Press'd forward. Nor the garrison within Durst let the ponderous portcullis fall, For in the entrance of the fort the fight Raged fiercely, and together through the gate The vanquish'd English and their eager foes 245 Pass'd in the flying conflict.
Well I deem And wisely did the heroic 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 251 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, 255 Fierce in vain valour, on their dreadful foes. There was a portal in the English fort Which open'd on the wall; a speedier path In the hour of safety, whence the soldier's eye Might overlook the river's pleasant course. 260 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
But foremost of the French,
Was arm’d; a massy burgonet, well tried 296
Yet were they of their numbers proud, Though useless numbers were in that strait path, Save by assault unceasing to out-last
305 A single warrior, who at length must sink Fatigued with slaughter, and by toil foredone Succumb.
There was amid the garrison A gallant knight who at Verneuil had fought, And good renown for feats of arms achieved 310 Had gain'd in that day's victory. For him His countrymen made way, and he his lance Thrust upward against Conrade, who perceived The intent, and as the weapon touch'd his shield Smote with his battle-axe the ashen shaft; 315 Then plucking from the shield the severed head, He threw it back. With wary bend the foe Shrunk from the flying death; yet not in vain From that strong hand the fate-fraught weapon flew: Full on the corslet of a meaner man
320 It fell, and pierced him where the heaving lungs, In vital play distended, to the heart Roll back their brighten'd tide: from the deep wound The red blood gush'd; prone on the steps he fell, And in the strong convulsive grasp of death 325 Grasp'd his long pike. Of unrecorded name
The soldier died; and yet he left behind
335 Whose falsehood inwardly she knows too well, Feel life itself with that false hope decay; And wake at night from miserable dreams Of his return, and weeping o'er her babe, Too surely think that soon that fatherless child 340 Must of its mother also be bereft.
Dropping his broken spear, the exasperate knight Drew forth the sword, and up the steps advanced, Like one who disregarded in his strength The enemy's vantage, destined to abide 345 That rashness dearly. Conrade stood prepared, Held forth his buckler, and his battle-axe Uplifted. Where the buckler was beneath Rounded, the falchion struck, a bootless blow To pierce its plated folds; more forcefully 350 Full on his crested helm the battle-axe Descended, driving in both crest and crown; From the knight's eyes at that death-stroke, the blood Started; with blood the chambers of the brain Were fill'd; his breast-plate with convulsive throes Heaved as he fell. Victorious, he the prize 356 At many a tournament bad borne away