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Bow'd down; their lances shiver'd with the shock:
To earth their coursers fell: at once they rose,
He from the saddle bow his falchion caught 475
Rushing to closer combat, and she bared
The lightning of her sword. In vain the youth
Essay'd to pierce those arms which even the power
Of time was weak to injure: she the while 479
Through many a wound beheld her foeman's blood
Ooze fast. “ Yet save thyself !” the Maiden cried.
“ Me thou canst not destroy: be timely wise,
And live!” He answer'd not, but lifting high
His weapon, smote with fierce and forceful arm
Full on the Virgin's helm: fire from her eyes 485
Flash'd with the stroke: one step she back recoil'd,
Then in his breast plunged deep the sword of death.

Talbot beheld his fall; on the next foe,
With rage and anguish wild, the warrior turn'd;
His ill-directed weapon to the earth

490
Drove down the unwounded Frank : he strikes again
And through his all-in-vain imploring hands
Cleaves the poor suppliant. On that dreadful day
The sword of Talbot, clogg'd with hostile gore,
Made good its vaunt. Amid the heaps his arm 495
Had slain, the chieftain stood and sway'd around
His furious strokes : nor ceased he from the fight,
Though now discomfited the English troops
Fled fast, all panic-struck and spiritless,
And mingling with the routed, Fastolffe fled, 500
Fastolffe, all fierce and haughty as he was,
False to his former fame ; for he beheld
The Maiden rushing onward, and such fear

Ran through his frame, as thrills the African,
When, grateful solace in the sultry hour, 505
He rises on the buoyant billow's breast,
And then beholds the inevitable shark
Close on him, open-mouth'd.

But Talbot now
A moment paused, for bending thitherward
He mark'd a warrior, such as well might ask 510
His utmost force. Of strong and stately port
The onward foeman moved, and bore on high
A battle-axe, in many a field of blood
Known by the English chieftain. Over heaps 514
Of slaughter'd, he made way, and bade the troops
Retire from the bold earl: then Conrade spake.
“ Vain is thy valour, Talbot ! look around,
See where thy squadrons fly! but thou shalt lose
No honour, by their cowardice subdued,
Performing well thyself the soldier's part." 520

« And let them fly!” the indignant Earl exclaim'd, “ And let them fly! and bear thou witness, chief ! That guiltless of this day's disgrace, I fall. But, Frenchman! Talbot will not tamely fall, Nor unrevenged.”

So saying, for the war 525 He stood prepared: nor now with heedless rage The champions fought, for either knew full well His foeman's prowess : now they aim the blow Insidious, with quick change then drive the steel Fierce on the side exposed. The unfaithful arms 530 Yield to the strong-driven edge; the blood streams down

Their batter'd mail. With swift

eye

Conrade mark'd
The lifted buckler, and beneath impell’d
His battle-axe; that instant on his helm
The sword of Talbot fell, and with the blow 535
It broke. " Yet yield thee, Englishman!" exclaim'd
The generous Frank, “ vain is this bloody strife :
Me should'st thou

conquer,
little would

my

death Avail thee, weak and wounded !”

“Long enough Talbot has lived,” replied the sullen chief : 540 “ His hour is come; yet shalt not thou survive To glory in his fall!” So, as he spake, He lifted from the ground a massy spear, And came again to battle.

Now more fierce The conflict raged, for careless of himself, 545 And desperate, Talbot fought. Collected still Was Conrade. Whereso'er his foeman aim'd The well-thrust javelin, there he swung around His guardian shield: the long and vain assault Exhausted Talbot now; foredone with toil 550 He bare his buckler low for weariness, The buckler now splinter'd with many a stroke Fell piecemeal; from his riven arms the blood Stream'd fast: and now the Frenchman's battle-axe Came unresisted on the shieldless mail.

555 But then he held his hand. Urge not to death This fruitless contest!” he exclaim'd: 66 Oh chief! Are there not those in England who would feel Keen anguish at thy loss? a wife perchance Who trembles for thy safety, or a child 560 Needing a father's care!”

Then Talbot's heart

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Smote him. “Warrior!” he cried, “if thou dost think
That life is worth preserving, hie thee hence,
And save thyself: I loathe this useless talk.”

So saying, he address'd him to the fight, 565 Impatient of existence: from their arms Fire flash'd, and quick they panted; but not long Endured the deadly combat. With full force Down through his shoulder even to the chest, Conrade impellid the ponderous battle-axe; 570 And at that instant underneath his shield Received the hostile spear. Prone fell the Earl, Even in his death rejoicing that no foe Should live to boast his fall.

Then with faint hand Conrade unlaced his helm, and from his brow 575 Wiping the cold dews ominous of death, He laid him on the earth, thence to remove, While the long lance hung heavy in his side, Powerless. As thus beside his lifeless foe He lay, the herald of the English Earl 580 With faltering step drew near, and when he saw His master's arms,

6 Alas! and is it you, My lord ? ” he cried. God pardon you your sins! I have been forty years your officer, And time it is I should surrender now

585 The ensigns of my office !” So he said, And paying thus his rite of sepulture, Threw o'er the slaughter'd chief his blazon'd coat.

Then Conrade thus bespake him: “Englishman, Do for a dying soldier one kind act !

590 Seek for the Maid of Orleans, bid her haste

Hither, and thou shalt gain what recompence
It pleaseth thee to ask.”

The herald soon
Meeting the mission'd Virgin, told his tale.
Trembling she hasten'd on, and when she knew 595
The death-pale face of Conrade, scarce could Joan
Lift up the expiring warrior's heavy hand,
And press it to her heart.

“ I sent for thee, My friend !” with interrupted voice he cried, That I might comfort this my dying hour 600 With one good deed. A fair domain is mine, Let Francis and his Isabel possess That, mine inheritance.” He paused awhile, Struggling for utterance; then with breathless speed, And pale as him he mourn'd for, Francis came, 605 And hung in silence o'er the blameless man, Even with a brother's sorrow: he pursued, “ This Joan will be thy care. : I have at home An aged mother— Francis, do thou soothe Her childless age. Nay, weep not for me thus: Sweet to the wretched is the tomb's repose !" 611

So saying, Conrade drew the javelin forth, And died without a groan.

By this the scouts, Forerunning the king's march, upon the plain Of Patay had arrived, of late so gay

615 With marshall'd thousands in their radiant arms, And streamers glittering in the noon-tide sun, And blazon'd shields and

gay

accoutrements, The pageantry of war: but now defiled

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