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Can bid St. Peter ope the gates of Heaven,
And from the penal fires of purgatory

470
Set the soul free. Could Nature teach theo this?
Or tell thee that St. Peter holds the keys,
And that his successor's unbounded power
Extends o'er either world ? Although thy life
Of sin were free, if of this holy truth

475 Ignorant, thy soul in liquid flames must rue It's error."

Thus he spake ; applauding looks Went round. Nor dubious to reply the Maid Was silent.

"Fathers of the holy Church, If on these points abstruse a simple maid 480 Like me should err, impute not you the crime To self-will'd reason, vaunting its own strength Above eternal wisdom. True it is That for long time I have not heard the sound Of mass high-chaunted, nor with trembling lips 485 Partook the holy wafer : yet the birds Who to the matin ray prelusive pour’d Their joyous song, methought did warble forth Sweeter thanksgiving to Religion's ear In their wild melody of happiness,

490 Than ever rung along the high-arch'd roofs Of man:..

yet never from the bending vine Pluck'd I its ripen'd clusters thanklessly, Or of that God unmindful, who bestow'd 494 The bloodless banquet. Ye have told me, Sirs, That Nature only teaches man to sin ! If it be sin to seek the wounded lamb, To bind its wounds, and bathe them with my tears,

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This is what Nature taught! No, Fathers, no !
It is not Nature that doth lead to sin :

500
Nature is all benevolence, all love,
All beauty! In the greenwood's quiet shade
There is no vice that to the indignant cheek
Bids the red current rush; no misery there ;
No wretched mother, who with pallid face 505
And famine-fallen hangs o'er her hungry babes,
With such a look, so wan, so woe-begone,
As shall one day, with damning eloquence,
Against the oppressor plead!... Nature teach sin !
Oh blasphemy against the Holy One,

510
Who made us in the image of Himself,
Who made us all for happiness and love,
Infinite happiness, infinite love,
Partakers of his own eternity.”

515

Solemn and slow the reverend Priest replied, 515
“ Much, woman, do I doubt that all-wise Heaven
Would thus vouchsafe its gracious miracles
On one fore-doom'd to misery; for so doom'd
Is that deluded one, who, of the mass
Unheeding, and the Church's saving power, 520
Deems nature sinless. Therefore, mark me well!
Brethren, I would propose this woman try
The holy ordeal. Let her, bound and search’d,
Lest haply in her clothes should be conceal'd
Some holy relic so profaned, be cast

525
In some deep pond ; there if she float, no doubt
The fiend upholds, but if at once she sink,
It is a sign that. Providence displays
Her free from witchcraft. This done, let her walk
Blindfold and bare o'er ploughshares heated red, 530

power, shall

And o'er these past her naked arm immerse
In scalding water. If from these she come
Unhurt, to holy father of the church,
Most blessed Pope, we then refer the cause 534
For judgement: and this Chief, the Son of Orleans,
Who comes to vouch the royal person known
By her miraculous

pass

with her The sacred trial.”

" Grace of God !” exclaim'd The astonish'd Bastard ; “ plunge me in the pool, O'er red-hot ploughshares make me skip to please Your dotard fancies ! Fathers of the church, 541 Where is your gravity ? what ! elder-like Would

ye

this fairer than Susannah eye? Ye call for ordeals; and I too demand The noblest ordeal, on the English host 545 By victory to approve her mission sent From favouring Heaven. To the Pope refer For judgement! Know ye not that France even now Stands tottering on destruction !"

Starting then With a wild look, the mission'd Maid exclaim'd, “ The sword of God is here! the grave shall speak To manifest me !"

Even as she spake, A pale blue flame rose from the trophied tomb 553 Beside her: and within that house of death A sound of arms was heard, as if below 555 A warrior buried in his armour, stirr'd.

“ Hear ye ?” the Damsel cried; “ these are the

arms

VOL. I.

560

Which shall flash terror o'er the hostile host.
These, in the presence of our Lord the King,
And of the assembled people, I will take
Here from the sepulchre, where many an age,
They, incorruptible, have lain conceald,
For me reserved, the Delegate of Heaven.”

Recovering from amaze, the Priest replied : “ Thou art indeed the Delegate of Heaven ! 565 What thou hast said surely thou shalt perform. We ratify thy mission. Go in peace.”

JOAN OF ARC.

THE FOURTH BOOK.

ye

The feast was spread, the sparkling bowl went round,
And in the assembled court the minstrel harp'd
A song of other days. Sudden they heard
The horn's loud blast. 6. This is no time for cares;
Feast the messenger without !” cried Charles, 5

Enough hath of the wearying day been given
To the public weal."

Obedient to the King
The guard invites the way-worn messenger.

Nay, I will see the monarch,” he replied,
“ And he must hear my tidings ; duty-urged, 10
I have for many a long league hasten'd on,
Not thus to be repell’d.” Then with strong arm
Removing him who barr'd his onward way,
The hall he enter'd.

King of France! I come ' From Orleans, speedy and effectual aid

15 Demanding for her gallant garrison, Faithful to thee, though thinn'd in many a fight, And now sore pressed by want. Rouse thou thyself,

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