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And with the spirit that becomes a King
20 Bring succour to the brave who in thy cause Abide the extremity of war.”
He said, And from the hall departing, in amaze At his audacious bearing left the court. The King exclaim'd, “ But little need to send 25 Quick succour to this gallant garrison, If to the English half so firm a front They bear in battle !"
“ In the field, my liege,” Dunois replied, “ yon Knight hath serv'd thee well. Him have I seen the foremost of the fight, 30 Wielding so manfully his battle-axe, That wheresoe'er he turn'd, the affrighted foe Let fall their palsied arms with powerless stroke, Desperate of safety. I do marvel much That he is here: Orleans must be hard press'd 35 To send the bravest of her garrison, On such commission.”
Swift the Maid exclaim'd, “ I tell thee, Chief, that there the English wolves Shall never raise their yells of victory ! The will of God defends those fated walls, 40 And resting in full faith on that high will, I mock their efforts. But the night draws on; Retire we to repose.
To-morrow's sun, Breaking the darkness of the sepulchre, Shall on that armour gleam, through many an age 45 There for this great emergency
reserved.” She said, and rising from the board, retired.
Meantime the herald's brazen voice proclaim'd Coming solemnity, and far and wide Spread the glad tidings. Then all labour ceased; 50 The ploughman from the unfinish'd furrow hastes ; The armourer's anvil beats no more the din Of future slaughter. Through the thronging streets The buzz of asking wonder hums along.
On to St. Katharine's sacred fane they go;
55 The holy fathers with the imaged cross Leading the long procession. Next, as one Suppliant for mercy to the King of Kings, And grateful for the benefits of Heaven, The Monarch pass’d, and by his side the Maid ; 60 Her lovely limbs robed in a snow-white vest, Wistless that every eye on her was bent, With stately step she moved ; her labouring soul To high thoughts elevate; and gazing round With a full eye, that of the circling throng 65 And of the visible world unseeing, seem'd Fix'd upon objects seen by none beside. Near her the warlike Son of Orleans came Pre-eminent. He, nerving his young frame With exercise robust, had scaled the cliff, 70 And plunging in the river's full-swoln stream, Stemm’d with broad breast its current; so his form, Sinewy and firm, and fit for deeds of arms, Tower'd above the throng effeminate. No dainty bath had from his hardy limbs 75 Effaced the hauberk's honourable marks ; His helmet bore of hostile steel the dints Many and deep ; upon his pictured shield
A Lion vainly struggled in the toils,
85 Defaced, nor e'er with hostile blood distain'd; Trimly accoutred court-habiliments, Gay lady-dazzling armour, fit to adorn Tourney, or tilt, the gorgeous pageantry Of mimic warfare. After him there came 90 A train of courtiers, summer flies that sport In the sunbeam of favour, insects sprung From the court dunghill, greedy blood-suckers, The foul corruption-gender'd swarm of state.
As o’er some flowery field the busy bees 95 Fill with their happy hum the fragrant air, A grateful music to the traveller, Who in the shade of some wide-spreading tree Rests on his way awhile; or like the sound Of
many waters down some far-off steep 100 Holding their endless course, the murmur rose Of admiration. Every gazing eye Dwelt on the Prophetess ; of all beside, The long procession and the gorgeous train, Though glittering they with gold and sparkling gems, And their rich plumes high waving to the air, 106 Heedless.
The consecrated dome they reach, Reard to St. Katharine's holy memory
Her tale the altar told ; how Maximin,
Her eye averting from the pictured tale,
A trophied tomb
Over her robes the hallowed breast-plate threw,
The wondering crowd
She ceased, and with an eager hush the crowd Still listen’d; a brief while throughout the dome Deep silence dwelt; then with a sudden burst Devout and full, they raised the choral hymn, “ Thee LORD we praise, our God !” the throng
without Catch the strange tidings, join the hymn of joy, 156 And thundering transport peals along the heaven.
As through the parting crowd the Virgin pass'd, He who from Orleans on the yesternight 159 Demanded succour, clasp'd with warmth her hand, And with a bosom-thrilling voice exclaim'd, “ Ill-omen'd Maid ! victim of thine own worth, Devoted for this king-curst realm of France, Ill-omen'd Maid, I pity thee !” so saying, He turn’d into the crowd. At his strange words Disturb’d, the warlike Virgin pass'd along, 166