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So have I seen a single snow-drop rise
320 Amid the russet leaves that hide the earth In early spring, so seen it gently bend In modest loveliness alone amid The waste of winter.
By the Maiden's side The Son of Orleans stood, prepared to vouch 325 That when on Charles the Maiden's eye had fix'd, As led by power miraculous, no fraud, Nor juggling artifice of secret sign Dissembled inspiration. As he stood Steadily viewing the mysterious rites,
330 Thus to the attentive Maid the President Severely spake.
fiend of Hell Lurk in thy bosom, so to prompt the vaunt Of inspiration, and to mock the power Of God and holy Church, thus by the virtue 335 Of water hallowed in the name of God Adjure I that foul spirit to depart From his deluded prey.”
Slowly he spake And sprinkled water on the virgin's face. Indignant at the unworthy charge the Maid 340 Felt her cheek flush, but soon, the transient glow Fading, she answer'd meek.
“ Most holy Sires, Ye reverend Fathers of the Christian church, Most catholic! I stand before
here A poor weak woman; of the
grace vouchsafed, 345 How far unworthy, conscious ; yet though mean, Innocent of fraud, and call’d by Heaven to be
It's minister of aid. Strange voices heard,
“ Thou speakest," said the Priest, “Of dark and shadowing visions of the night. Canst thou remember, Maid, what vision first 360 Seem’d more than fancy's shaping ? From such tale, Minutely told with accurate circumstance, Some judgement might be form'd."
The Maid replied: “ Amid the mountain vallies I had driven My father's flock. The eve was drawing on,
365 When by a sudden storm surprised, I sought A chapel's neighbouring shelter; ruin'd now, But I remember when its vesper bell Was heard among the hills, a pleasant sound, That made me pause upon my homeward road, 370 Awakening in me comfortable thoughts Of holiness. The unsparing soldiery Had sack'd the hamlet near, and none was left Duly at sacred seasons to attend St. Agnes' chapel. In the desolate pile
375 I drove my flock, with no irreverent thoughts, Nor mindless that the place on which I trod
Was holy ground. It was a fearful night!
Attentive to her words Thus the Priest answer'd :
have heard The woman's tale. Behoves us now to ask Whether of holy Church a duteous child 400 Before our court appears, so not unlike Heaven might vouchsafe its gracious miracle ; Or misbelieving heretic whose thoughts, Erring and vain, easily might stray beyond 404 All reason, and conceit strange dreams and signs Impossible. Say, woman, from thy youth Hast thou, as rightly mother Church demands,
Confess'd at stated times thy secret sins,
“ Father,” she replied,
430 The kindly dew-drops shed. And then I felt That He who form'd this goodly frame of things Must needs be good, and with a Father's name I callid on him, and from my burthen'd heart Pour'd out the yearnings of unmingled love. 435 Methinks it is not strange then, that I fed The house of prayer, and made the lonely grove My temple, at the foot of some old oak
Watching the little tribes that had their world
As she spake
6 Woman, thou seem'st to scorn The ordinances of our holy Church;
460 And, if I rightly understand thy words, Nature, thou say’st, taught thee in solitude Thy feelings of religion, and that now Masses and absolution and the use Of the holy wafer, are to thee unknown. 465 But how could Nature teach thee true religion, Deprived of these? Nature doth lead to sin, But 'tis the Priest alone can teach remorse,