« 前へ次へ »
Again exclaim'd the soldier: “ Thus they fall,
Nor to draw them from the fort
Then the Maid Spake to the son of Orleans, “ Let our troops Fall back, so shall the English in pursuit Leave this strong fortress, thus an easy prey.” 575 Time was not for long counsel. From the court, Obedient to Dunois, the French retire As if at the irruption of their foes Dishearten'd; they, with shouts and loud uproar, Haste to their fancied conquest: Joan, the while Placing a small but gallant garrison,
581 Bade them secure the gates; then sallying forth, With such fierce onset charged them in the rear, That terror smote the English, and they wish'd Again that they might hide them in their walls 585 Rashly abandoned, for now wheeling round Dunois attack'd their flank. All captainless, Ill-marshall’d, ill-directed, in vain rage They waste their furious efforts, falling fast Before the Maid's good falchion and the arm 590 Of Conrade: loud was heard the mingled sound Of arms and men; the soil, that trampled late
By multitudes, sent up its stifling clouds
On the fort's summit Talbot mark'd the fight, And calling for his arms impatiently,
596 Eager to issue forth, was scarce withheld, For now, dishearten'd and discomfited, The troops took flight.
Upon the bridge there stood A strong-built tower, commanding o'er the Loire. The traveller sometimes linger'd on his way, 601 Marking the playful tenants of the stream, Seen in its shadow, sten the sea-ward tide; This had the invaders won in hard assault, Before the delegate of Heaven came forth 605 And made them fear who never fear'd till then. Thither the English troops with hasty steps Retired, not utterly defeated yet, But mindful of defence : the garrison Them thus retreating saw, and open threw 610 Their guarded gates, and on the Gallic host, Covering their vanquish'd fellows, pour'd their shafts. Check'd in pursuit they stop. Then Graville cried, “ III, Maiden, hast thou done! those valiant troops Thy womanish pity has dismiss'd, with us 615 Conjoin'd might press upon the vanquish'd foe, Though aided thus, and plant the lilied flag Victorious on yon tower.”
“ Dark-minded man!" The Maid of Orleans answer'd, “ to act well Brings with itself an ample recompence.
620 I have not rear'd the Oriflamme of death..
Now God forbid! The banner of the Lord
She said, and suddenly threw off her helm; Her bosom heaved,.. her cheek grew red,. . her eyes Beam'd with a wilder lustre. “ Thou dost deem That I have illy spared so large a band, Disabling from pursuit our weaken'd troops ;.. 635 God is with us !" she cried..“ God is with us ! Our champion manifest !”
Even as she spake, The tower, the bridge, and all its multitudes, Sunk with a mighty crash.
Astonishment Seized on the French; an universal cry 640 Of terror burst from them. Crush'd in the fall, Or by their armour hopelessly weigh'd down, Or while they plied their unencumber'd arms, Caught by some sinking wretch, who grasp'd them fast, Shrieking they sunk, while frequent fragments huge Fell in the foaming current. From the fort 646 Talbot beheld, and gnash'd his teeth, and cursed The more than mortal Virgin ; whilst the towers Of Orleans echoed to the loud uproar,
And all who heard trembled, and cross'd their breasts, And as they hasten'd to the city-walls,
651 Told fearfully their beads.
'T was now the hour When o'er the plain the fading rays of eve Their sober light effuse; when the lowing herd, Slow as they move to shelter, draw behind 655 Their lengthening shadows; and toward his nest, As heavily he flaps the dewy air, The hoarse rook breathes his melancholy note. “ Now then, Dunois, for Orleans !” cried the Maid, “ And give we to the flames these monuments 660 Of sorrow and disgrace. The ascending flames Will to the dwellers of yon rescued town Rise with a joyful splendour, while the foe Behold and tremble.”
As she spake, they ran 664 To burn the forts; they shower their wild fire there, And high amid the gloom the ascending flames Blaze up; then joyful of their finish'd toil The host retire. Hush'd is the field of fight As the calm’d ocean, when its gentle waves Heaye slow and silent, wafting tranquilly
670 The shatter'd fragments of some midnight wreck.
JO AN OF ARC.
THE NINTH BOOK.
Far through the shadowy sky the ascending flames