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With many a winding crept along the mead,
bank reclined Beside him, and his frugal fare partook,
29 And drank the running waters.
" Art thou bound For the Court, Dunois ?" exclaim'd the aged Knight;
“ I thought thou hadst been far
up In Orleans, where her valiant sons the siege Right loyally endure !"
66 I left the town," Dunois replied, “thinking that my prompt speed Might seize the enemy's stores, and with fresh force Re-enter. Fastolffe's better fate prevail'd, 37 And from the field of shame my maddening horse Bore me, an arrow having pierced his flank. Worn out and faint with that day's dangerous toil, My deep wounds bleeding, vainly with weak hand I check'd the powerless rein. Nor aught avail'd 42 When heal’d at length, defeated and alone Again to enter Orleans. In Lorraine I sought to raise new powers, and now return'd 45 With strangest and most unexpected aid Sent by high Heaven, I seek the Court, and thence To that beleaguer'd town shall lead such force, That the proud English in their fields of blood Shall perish.”
“ I too,” Tanneguy reply'd, In the field of battle once again perchance May serve my royal Master; in his cause My youth adventur'd much, nor can my age Find better close than in the clang of arms 55 To die for him whom I have lived to serve. Thou art for the Court. Son of the Chief I loved ! Be wise by my experience. He who seeks Court-favour, ventures like a boy who leans Over the brink of some high precipice
60 To reach the o'er-hanging fruit. Thou seest me here A banish'd man, Dunois ! so to appease Richemont, who jealous of the royal ear, With midnight murder leagues, and down the Loire Sends the black carcass of his strangled foe. 65 Now confident of strength, at the King's feet He stabs the King's best friends, and then demands, As with a conqueror's imperious tone, The post of honour. Son of that good Duke Whose death my arm avenged, may all thy days 70 Be happy; serve thy country in the field, But in the hour of peace amid thy friends Dwell thou without ambition.”
So he spake. But when the Bastard told his wonderous tale, How interposing Heaven had its high aid 75 Vouchsafed to France, the old man's eyes
flash'd fire, And rising from the bank, his ready steed That grazed beside he mounted. “Farewell friend, And thou, the Delegate of Heaven !” he cried. “I go to do my part, and we shall meet
80 At Orleans." Saying thus, he spurr'd away.
They journey on their way till Chinon's towers
Twice hast thou since then been made A horror and a warning to all lands; When kingly power conspired with papal craft To plot and perpetrate that massacre,
95 Which neither change of kalendar, nor lapse Of time, shall hide from memory, or efface ; And when in more enlighten'd days, .. so deem’d, So vaunted, the astonish'd nations saw A people, to their own devices left,
100 Therefore as by judicial frenzy stricken, Lawless and godless, fill the whole wide realm With terror, and with wickedness and woe, . A more astounding judgement than when Heaven Shower'd on the cities of the accursed plain 105 Its fire and sulphur down.
In Paris now The Invader triumph'd. On an infant's head Had Bedford placed the crown of Charlemagne, And factious nobles bow'd the subject knee, And own'd an English infant for their King, 110 False to their own liege Lord.
- Beloved of Heaven," Then said the Son of Orleans to the Maid, « Lo these the walls of Chinon, this the abode Of Charles our monarch. Here in revelry He of his armies vanquish’d, his fair towns 115 Subdued, hears careless and prolongs the dance. And little marvel I that to the cares Of empire still he turns the unwilling ear, For loss on loss, defeat upon defeat, His strong holds taken, and his bravest Chiefs 120 Or slain or captured, and the hopes of youth All blasted have subdued the royal mind Undisciplined in Fortitude's stern school. So may thy voice arouse his sleeping virtue !”
The mission'd Maid replied, “ Do thou, Dunois, Announce my mission to the royal ear.
126 I on the river's winding bank the while Will roam, collecting for the interview My thoughts, though firm, yet troubled. Who essays Achievements of great import will perforce 130 Feel the heart heave; and in my breast I own Such perturbation."
On the banks of Vienne Devious the Damsel turn'd, while through the gate The Son of Orleans press’d with hasty step To seek the King. Him from the public view 135 He found secluded with his blameless Queen, And his partaker of the unlawful bed, The lofty-minded Agnes.
66 Son of Orleans !” So as he enter'd cried the haughty fair,
Thou art well come to witness the disgrace, 140
150 On a May morning deck'd with flowers, to mount His gay-bеdizen'd car, and ride abroad And make the multitude a holiday. Go Charles ! and hide thee in a woman's garb, And these long locks will not disgrace thee then!"155
Nay, Agnes !” Charles replied, “reproach me not! I have enough of sorrow. Look around, See this fair country ravaged by the foe, My strong holds taken, and my bravest friends Fallen in the field, or captives far away.
160 Dead is the Douglas ; cold thy gallant heart, Illustrious Buchan! ye from Scotland's hills, Not mindless of
your old ally distress'd, Came to his succour; in his cause ye fought, 164 For him ye perish'd. Rash impetuous Narbonne ! Thy mangled corse waves to the winds of Heaven. Coid, Graville, is thy sinewy arm in death ; Fallen is Ventadaur; silent in the grave Rambouillet sleeps. Bretagne's unfaithful chief Leagues with my foes; and Richemont, or in arms 170