ページの画像
PDF
ePub

Came we to desolate this goodly land,

20 Making the drench'd earth rank with human blood, Scatter pollution on the winds of Heaven? Oh! that the sepulchre had closed its jaws On the proud prelate, that blood-guilty man, Who, trembling for the church's ill-got wealth, 25 Bade our Fifth Henry claim the crown of France ! Oh! that the grave had swallow'd him, ere he Stirr'd up the sleeping claim, and sent him forth To slaughter! Sure that holy hermit spake The Almighty's bidding, who in his career 30 Of conquest met the King, and bade him cease The work of death, before the wrath'divine Fell heavy on his head... Full soon it fell And sunk him to the grave; .. and soon that wrath On us, alike in guilt, alike shall fall;

35 For thousands and ten thousands, by the sword Cut off, and sent before the Eternal Judge, With all their unrepented crimes upon them, Cry out for vengeance; for the widow's groan, Though here she groan unpitied or unheard, 40 Is heard in heaven against us; o'er this land For hills of human slain, unsepulchred, Steam pestilence, and cloud the blessed sun! The wrath of God is on us,.. God hath raised This Prophetess, and goes before her path ;. 45 Our brethren, vainly valiant, fall beneath them, Clogging with gore their weapons, or in the flood Whelm'd like the Egyptian tyrant's impious host, Mangled and swoln, their blacken'd carcasses Float on the tainted current!

We remain, For yet our rulers will pursue the war,

50

We still remain to perish by the sword,
Soon to appear before the throne of God,
Conscious, too late, of folly and of guilt,
Uninjured, unprovoked, who dared to risk 55
The life His goodness gave us, on the chance
Of war, and in obedience to our chiefs
Durst disobey our God.”

Then terror seized
The troops and late repentance; and they thought
The spirits of the mothers and their babes 60
Famish'd at Roan sat on the clouds of night,
Circling the forts, to hail with gloomy joy
The hour of vengeance.

Nor the English chiefs Heard these loud murmurs heedless; counselling They met despondent. Suffolk, now their chief, 65 Since Salisbury fell, began.

« It now were vain Lightly of this our more than mortal foe To speak contemptuous. She hath vanquish'd us, Aided by Hell's leagued powers, nor aught avails Man unassisted 'gainst Infernal powers

70 To dare the conflict. Were it best remain Waiting the doubtful aid of Burgundy, Doubtful and still delay'd ? or from this place, Scene of our shame, retreating as we may, Yet struggle to preserve the guarded towns 75 Of the Orleannois ?”

He ceased, and with a sigh, Struggling with pride that heaved his gloomy breast, Talbot replied, “ Our council little boots ; For by their numbers now made bold in fear

The soldiers will not fight, they will not heed 80
Our vain resolves, heart-wither'd by the spells
Of this accursed sorceress.

Soon will come
The expected host from England; even now
Perchance the tall bark scuds across the deep
That bears my son: young Talbot comes,.. he comes
To find his sire disgraced ! But soon mine arm, 86
By vengeance nerved, and shame of such defeat,
Shall from the crest-fall’n courage

of

yon witch, Regain its ancient glory. Near the coast Best is it to retreat, and there expect

90 The coming succour."

Thus the warrior spake. Joy ran through all the troops, as though retreat Were safety. Silently in order'd ranks They issue forth, favour'd by the thick clouds Which mantled o'er the moon. With throbbing hearts Fearful they speeded on; some in sad thoughts 96 Of distant England, and now wise too late, Cursing in bitterness the evil hour That led them from her shores; some in faint hope Thinking to see their native land again; 100 Talbot went musing on his former fame, Sullen and stern, and feeding on dark thoughts, And meditating vengeance.

In the walls Of Orleans, though her habitants with joy Humbly acknowledged the high aid of Heaven, 105 Of many a heavy ill and bitter loss Mindful, such mingled sentiments they felt As one from shipwreck saved, the first warm glow Of transport past, who contemplates himself

Preserved alone, a solitary wretch,

110 Possess'd of life indeed, but reft of all That makes man love to live. The chieftains shared The social bowl, glad of the town relieved, And communing of that miraculous Maid, Who came the saviour of the realm of France, 115 When vanquish'd in the frequent field of shame Her bravest warriors trembled.

Joan the while Fasting and silent to the convent pass'd, Conrade with her, and Isabel; both mute, Yet gazing on her oft with anxious eyes, 120 Looking the consolation that they fear'd To give a voice to. Now they reach'd the dome: The glaring torches o'er the house of death Stream'd a sad splendour. Flowers and funeral herbs Bedeck'd the bier of Theodore, .. the rue, 125 The dark green rosemary, and the violet, That pluck'd like him wither'd in its first bloom. Dissolved in sorrow, Isabel her grief Pour'd copiously, and Conrade also wept: Joan only shed no tears, from her fix'd eye 130 Intelligence was absent, and she seem'd, Though listening to the dirge of death, to hear And comprehend it not, till in the grave, .. In his last home, .. now Theodore was laid, And earth to earth upon the coffin thrown; 135 Then the Maid started at that mortal sound, And her lip quiver'd, and on Isabel, Trembling and faint, she leant, and pale as death.

Then in the priest arose an earnest hope,

That weary of the world and sick with woe, 140
The Maid might dwell with them a virgin vow’d.
“ Ah, damsel !” slow he spake, and cross'd his breast, .
" Ah, damsell favour'd as thou art of heaven,
Let not thy soul beneath its sorrow sink
Despondent; Heaven by sorrow disciplines 145
The froward heart, and chastens whom it loves.
Therefore, companion of thy way of life,
Shall sorrow wean thee from this faithless world,
Where happiness provokes the traveller's chase,
And like the midnight meteor of the marsh 150
Allures his long and perilous pursuit,
Then leaves him dark and comfortless. O Maid !
Fix thou thine eyes upon that heavenly dawn
Beyond the night of life! Thy race is run,
Thou hast deliver'd Orleans: now perfect 155
Thyself, accomplish all, and be the child
Of God. Amid these sacred haunts the groan
Of woe is never heard ; these hallow'd roofs
Re-echo only to the pealing quire,
The chaunted mass, and virgin's holy hymn, 160
Celestial sounds! Secluded here, the soul
Receives a foretaste of her joys to come;
This is the abode of piety and peace;
Oh! be their inmate, Maiden! Come to rest, 164
Die to the world, and live espoused to Heaven!”

Then Conrade answered, “Father! heaven has callid This Maid to active duties."

6 Active !” cried The astonish'd Monk; “thou dost not know the toils This holy warfare asks; thou dost not know

« 前へ次へ »