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In mimic war; happy, if so content
360 The English stood, nor durst adventure now Near that death-doing foe. Amid their host Was one who well could from the stubborn yew Send his sharp shafts ; well skill'd in wood-craft he, Even as the
merry outlaws who their haunts 365 In Sherwood held, and bade their bugles rouse The sleeping stag, ere on the web-woven grass The dew-drops sparkled to the rising sun. He safe in distance at the warrior aim'd The feather'd dart; with force he drew the bow; Loud on his bracer struck the sounding string, 371 And swift and strong the well-fledged arrow flew. It pierced the shield, and reach'd, but reach'd in vain, The breast-plate: while he fitted to the bow A second arrow, Conrade raised his voice, 375 Shouting for timely succour to secure The entrance he had gain’d. Nor was the call Unheard, nor unobey'd; responsive shouts Announced assistance nigh; the Orleanites From St. Loup's captured fort along the wall 380 Sped to support him; cheering was the sound Of their near footsteps to the chief; he drew His falchion forth, and down the steps he went. Then terror seized the English, for their foes Press'd thro' the open portal, and the sword 385 Of Conrade was among them making way. Not to the Trojans, when their ships were lost More dreadful the Rutilian hero seem'd,
Then hoping well to right himself in arms;
Like some tall rock,
« On to Fort London! on!” Cried Conrade; “ Xaintrailles, while the day endures Once more advance to certain victory!
the lists, and fill the moat, and bring 420 The battering-ram against their gates and walls. Anon I shall be with you.” Thus he said ; Then to the damsel. “ Maid of Arc! awhile Let thou and I withdraw, and by short rest Renew our strength.” So saying he his helm 425 Unlaced, and in the Loire's near flowing stream Cool'd his hot face. The Maid her head unhelm'd, And stooping to the stream, reflected there Saw her white plumage staind with human blood ! Shuddering she saw, but soon her steady soul 430 Collected: on the banks she laid her down, Freely awhile respiring, for her breath Still panted from the fight: silent they lay, And gratefully the cooling breezes bathed Their throbbing temples.
Eve was drawing or : The sun-beams on the gently-waving stream 436 Danced sparkling. Lost in thought the warrior lay, Then as if wakening from a dream he said, 66 Maiden of Arc! at such an hour as this, Beneath the o'er-arching forest's chequer'd shade, With that lost woman have I wander'd on, 441 Talking of years of happiness to come ! Oh! hours for ever fed! delightful hopes Of the unsuspecting heart! I do believe If Agnes on a worthier one had fix'd
445 Her love, that though my heart had nurst till death Its sorrows, I had never on her choice Cast one upbraiding .. but to stoop to him! A harlot!..an adulteress!”
flash'd; anon of what she was 450 Ere the contagious vices of the court Polluted her, he thought. “Oh, happy age !" He cried, “ when all the family of man Freely enjoy'd their goodly heritage, And only bow'd the knee in prayer to God ! 455 Calm flow'd the unruffled stream of
years along, Till o'er the peaceful rustic's head the hair Grew grey in full of time. Then he would sit Beneath the coetaneous oak, while round, Sons, grandsons and their offspring join'd to form The blameless merriment; and learnt of him 461 What time to yoke the oxen to the plow, What hollow moanings of the western wind Foretell the storm, and in what lurid clouds The embryo lightning lies. Well pleased, he taught, A heart-smile glowing on his aged cheek, 466 Mild as the summer sun's decaying light. Thus quietly the stream of life flow'd on, Till in the shoreless ocean lost at length. Around the bed of death his numerous race 470 Listen'd, in no unprofitable grief, His last advice, and caught his latest sigh : And when he died, as he had fallen asleep, In his own ground, and underneath the tree Which, planted at his birth, with him had grown, And flourish'd in its strength when he decay'd, 476 They delved the narrow house: where oft at eve Their children's children gathered round to hear The example of his life and death impress'd. Maiden! and such the evening of my days 480
Fondly I hoped; and would that I had lived
Soothed by his words, the Maid
Then from the bank He sprung, and helm'd his head. The Maid arose Bidding awhile adieu to gentle thoughts. On to the fort they speed, whose name recall’d 500 England's proud capital to the English host, Now half subdued, anticipating death, And vainly wishing they from her white cliffs Had never spread the sail. Cold terror creeps Through every nerve: already they look round 505 With haggard eyes, as seeking where to fly, Though Talbot there presided, with their chief, The dauntless Salisbury.
“ Soldiers tried in arms!