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That as like Blanchard, Gaucour dares his power,
Like Blanchard, he can brave his cruelty,
And triumph by enduring. Speak I well, 380
Ye men of Orleans?'

66 Never did I hear
A shout so universal as ensued
Of approbation. The assembled host
As with one voice pour'd forth their loyalty, 384
And struck their sounding shields; and walls and

towers, Echoed the loud uproar. The herald went. The work of war began.

A fearful scene," Cried Isabel. 6 The iron storm of death 388 Clash'd in the sky; the mighty engines hurl’d Huge stones which shook the ground where'erthey fell. Then was there heard at once the clang of arms, The thundering cannons, and the soldier's shout, The female's shriek, the affrighted infant's cry, The

groan of death, .. discord of dreadful sounds That jarr'd the soul.

Nor while the encircling foe Leager'd the walls of Orleans, idly slept 396 Our friends : for winning down the Loire its way The frequent vessel with provision fraught, And men, and all the artillery of death, 399 Cheer'd us with welcome succour. At the bridge These safely landed mock'd the foeman's force. This to prevent, Salisbury, their watchful chief, A mighty work prepares. Around our walls, Encircling walls he builds, surrounding thus The city. Firm'd with massiest buttresses, 405

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At equal distance, sixty forts protect
The English lines. But chief where in the town
The six great avenues meet in the midst,
Six castles there he rear'd impregnable,
With deep-dug moats and bridges drawn aloft, 410
Where over the strong gate suspended hung
The dread portcullis. Thence the gunner's eye
From his safe shelter could with ease survey
Intended sally, or approaching aid,
And point destruction.

It were long to tell 415
And tedious, how in many a bold assault
The men of Orleans sallied on their foes ;
How after difficult fight the enemy
Possess'd the Tournelles, and the embattled tower
That shadows from the bridge the subject Loire; 420
Though numbering now three thousand daring men,
Frequent and fierce the garrison repellid
Their far out-numbering foes. From every

aid Included, they in Orleans groan'd beneath All ills accumulate. The shatter'd roofs 425 Allow'd the dews of night free passage there; And ever and anon the ponderous stone, Ruining where'er it fell, with hideous crash Came like an earthquake, startling from his sleep The affrighted soldier. From the brazen slings 430 The wild-fire balls hiss'd through the midnight sky; And often their huge engines cast among us The dead and loathsome cattle of their camp, As though our enemies, to their deadly league 434 Forcing the common air, would make us breathe Poisonous pollution. Through the streets were seen,

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Piled up

The frequent fire, and heaps of dead, in haste

and steaming to infected Heaven. For ever the incessant storm of death

439
Pours down, and crowded in unwholesome vaults
The wretched females hide, not idle there,
Wasting the hours in tears, but all employ'd,
Or to provide the hungry soldier's meal,
Or tear their garments to bind up his wounds :
A sad equality of wretchedness !

445

“ Now came the worst of ills, for Famine came:
The provident hand deals out its scanty dole,
Yielding so little a supply to life
As but protracted death. The loathliest food
Hunted with eager eye and dainty deem'd, 450
The dog is slain, that at his master's feet
Howling with hunger lay; with jealous fear,
Hating a rival's look, the husband hides
His miserable meal; the famish'd babe
Clings closely to his dying mother's breast; 455
And.. horrible to tell ! .. where, thrown aside,
There lay unburied in the open streets
Huge heaps of carcasses, the soldier stands
Eager to mark the carrion crow for food. 459

“O peaceful scenes of childhood ! pleasant fields!
Haunts of mine infancy, where I have stray'd
Tracing the brook along its winding way,
Or pluck'd the primrose, or with giddy speed
Chaced the gay butterfly from flower to flower!
O days in vain remember'd ! how my soul, 465
Sick with calamity, and the sore ills

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and on my

Of hunger, dwelt on you

home! Thinking of you amid the waste of war, I could in bitterness have cursed the great Who made me what I was, a helpless one, 470 Orphan'd, and wanting bread !”

“ And be they curst!” Conrade exclaim'd, his dark eye flashing rage; “And be they curst! O groves and woodland shades, How blest indeed were you, if the iron rod 474 Should one day from Oppression's hand be wrench'd By everlasting Justice! Come that hour, When in the Sun the Angel of the Lord Shall stand and cry to all the fowls of Heaven, · Gather ye to the supper

of

your God; That ye may eat the flesh of mighty men,

480 Of captains, and of kings!' Then shall be peace."

“ And now, lest all should perish,” she pursued, The women and the infirm must from the town Go forth and seek their fate.

I will not now Recall the moment, when on my poor Francis 485 With a long look I hung. At dead of night, Made mute by fear, we mount the secret bark, And glide adown the stream with silent oars : Thus thrown upon the mercy of mankind, I wandered' reckless where, till wearied out, 490 And cold at heart, I laid me down to die ; So by this warrior found. Him I had known And loved, for all loved Conrade who had known him; Nor did I feel so pressing the hard hand

495

Of want in Orleans, ere he parted thence
On perilous envoy. For of his small fare” –

,, “ Of this enough,” said Conrade; “ Holy Maid ! One duty yet awaits me to perform. Orleans her envoy sent me, to demand Aid from her idle sovereign. Willingly 500 Did I achieve the hazardous enterprize, For rumour had already made me fear The ill that hath fallen on me. It remains, Ere I do banish me from human kind, That I re-enter Orleans, and announce 505 Thy march. 'Tis night, and hark! how dead a silence! Fit hour to tread so perilous a path !”

So saying, Conrade from the tent went forth.

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