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Her banner planted. Gladdisdale beheld,
And hastened from his well-defended post,
That where immediate danger more required
There he might take his stand ; against the Maid
He bent his way, and hoped one happy blow 206
Might end at once the new-raised hopes of France,
And by her death, to the English arms their old
Ascendancy restore. Nor did not Joan
Areed his purpose, but with lifted shield 210
Prepared she stood, and poised her sparkling spear.
The English chief came on; he raised his mace;
With circling force the iron weight swung high,
And Gladdisdale with his collected strength
Impell’d the blow. The man of lowly line 215
That instant rush'd between, and rear’d his shield
And met the broken stroke, and thrust his lance
Clean through the gorget of the English knight.
A gallant man, of no ignoble line,
Was Gladdisdale. His sires had lived in peace; 220
They heap'd the hospitable hearth, they spread
The feast, their vassals loved them, and afar
The traveller told their fame. In peace they died,
And to their ancient burial-place were borne 224
With book and bell, torches, and funeral chaunt;
And duly for their souls the neighbouring monks
The solemn office sung. Now far away
Their offspring falls, the last of all his race,
Slain in a foreign land, and doom'd to share
A common grave.

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

sways

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

I

VOL. I.

Fought not in that day's battle. Of success
Desperate, for from above the garrison 265
(Lest upon
friend and

enemy

alike
The indiscriminating blow should light)
Could give no aid, the English of that way
Bethought them; by that egress they forsook
St. Loup's, and the Orleanites with shouts of joy
Beheld the Virgin's banner on its height 271
In triumph planted. Swift along the wall
The English haste to St. John's neighbouring fort,
Flying with fearful speed. Nor from pursuit
The victors ceased, but with the fugitives 275
Mingled and waged the war; and combatants,
Lock'd in each other's grasp, together fell
Precipitate.

But foremost of the French,
Dealing destruction, Conrade made his way
Along the wall, and to the nearest fort

280
Came in pursuit ; nor did not then the chief
What most might serve bethink him; but he took
His stand in the portal, and first looking back,
Lifted his voice aloud; three times he raised,
Cheering and calling on his countrymen, 285
That voice o’er all the uproar heard afar,
Then to the strife addrest himself, assail'd
By numerous foes, who clamorously now
Menaced his single person. He the while
Stood firm, not vainly confident, or rash, 290
But in his vantage more than his own strength
Trusting ; for narrow was the portal way,
To one alone fit passage, from above
Not overbrow'd by jutting parapet,
Whence aught might crush him. He in double mail

1

The war.

Was arm’d; a massy burgonet, well tried 296
In many a hard-fought field, helming his head;
And fenced with iron plates, a buckler broad
Hung from his neck. Nor to dislodge the chief
Could the English bring their numbers, for the way
By upward steps presented from the fort 301
A narrow ascent, where one alone could meet

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
One who then never said her daily prayers
Of him forgetful; who to every tale
Of the distant war lending an eager ear,

330
Grew pale and trembled. At her cottage door
The wretched one shall sit, and with fix'd eye
Gaze on the path, where on his parting steps
Her last look hung. Nor ever shall she know
Her husband dead, but cherishing a hope,

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

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