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Shook with strong arm and tore it from the fort, And lifted it in air, portentous shield I

“ Behold the towers of Orleans,” cried Dunois. “ Lo! this the vale where on the banks of Loire, Of yore, at close of day the rustic band 141 Danced to the roundelay. In younger years As oft I glided down the silver stream, Frequent upon the lifted oar I paused, Listening the sound of far-off merriment.

145 There wave the hostile banners ! martial Maid, Give thou the signall.. let us fall upon These merciless invaders, who have sack'd Village and town, and made the hamlet haunts Silent, or hearing but the widow's groan. 150 Give but the signal, Maiden !"

Her dark

eye Fix'd sadly on the foe, the holy Maid Answer'd him ; “Ere the avenging sword be drawn, And slaughter be let loose, befits us send

154 Some peaceful messenger, who shall make known The will of Heaven : so timely warn'd, our foes Haply may yet repent, and quit in peace Besieged Orleans, for I fain would spare The bloody price of victory."

So she said; And as she spake, a soldier from the ranks

160 Came forward. “ I will be thy messenger, O Prophetess I and to the English camp Will bear thy bidding."

“Go," the Virgin cried; Say to the Lord of Salisbury, and the chiefs

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Of England, Suffolk, Fastolffe, Talbot, Scales, 165
Invaders of the country, say, thus says
THE MAID OF ORLEANS: "With your troops retire
In peace. Of every captured town the keys
Restore to Charles ; so bloodless you may seek
Your native island; for the God of Hosts 170
Thus hath decreed. To Charles the rightful heir,
By long descent and by the willing choice
Of duteous subjects, hath the Lord assign'd
The kingdom. In His name the Virgin comes
Arm'd with the sword, yet not of mercy void. 175
Depart in peace: for ere the morrow dawns,
Victorious upon yonder wall shall wave
Her holy banner.' To the English camp
Fearless the herald went.

At mid-day meal,
With all the dissonance of boisterous mirth, 180
The British chiefs caroused and quaff*d the bowl,
When by the sentinel conducted there
The Maiden's herald came.

o Chiefs,” he began, “ Salisbury, and ye the representatives Of the English King, usurper of this realm, 185 ye

the leaders of the English host I come, no welcome messenger. Thus saith The MAID OF ORLEANS: “With your troops retire In peace. Of every captured town the keys Restore to Charles ; so bloodless you may seek 190 Your native island; for the God of Hosts Thus hath decreed. To Charles the rightful heir, By long descent and by the willing choice Of duteous subjects, hath the Lord assign'd

To

The kingdom. In His name the Virgin comes, 195
Arm'd with the sword, yet not of mercy void.
Depart in peace : for ere the morrow dawns,
Victorious upon yonder wall shall wave
Her holy banner.'

Wonder made a pause; To this a laugh succeeds. “What?" Fastolffe cried, A virgin warrior hath your monarch sent

201 To save devoted Orleans ? By the rood, I thank his grace. If she be young and fair, No worthless prize, my lords ! Go, tell your Maid, Joyful we wait her coming."

There was one Among the English chiefs who had grown old 206 In arms, yet had not age unnerved his limbs, But from the flexile nimbleness of youth To unyielding stiffness braced them. One who saw Him seated at the board, might well have deem'd That Talbot with his whole collected might 211 Wielded the sword in war, for on his neck The veins were full, and every muscle bore The character of strength. He his stern eye Fix'd on the herald, and before he spake 215 His silence threaten'd.

“ Get thee gone!” exclaim'd The indignant chief: “away! nor think to scare With girlish phantasies the English host That scorns your bravest warriors. Hie thee thence, And tell this girl she may expect to meet

220 The mockery of the camp!”

Nay, scare her not, Replied their chief: “go, tell this Maid of Orleans,

That Salisbury longs to meet her in the fight.
Nor let her fear that cords or iron chains
Shall gall her tender limbs ; for I myself 225
Will be her prison, and

“ Contemptuous man!
No more !” the Herald cried, as to his cheek
Rush'd the red anger : “ bearing words of peace
And timely warning came I to your camp;
And here have been with insolent ribaldry 230
Received. Bear witness, chieftains! that the French,
Free from blood-guiltiness, shall meet the war."

“ And who art thou ?” cried Suffolk, and his eye Grew fierce and wrath-inflamed: “What fool art thou, Who at this woman's bidding comest to brave 235 The host of England ? Thou shalt have thy meed!" Then turning to the sentinel he cried,

Prepare a stake! and let the men of Orleans,
And let this woman who believes her name
May privilege her herald, see the fire

240)
Consume him. Plant a stake! for by my God
He shall be kalendered of this new faith
First martyr.”

As he spake, a sudden flush Came o'er the herald's cheek, and his heart beat With quicker action; but the sudden flush, 245 Nature's instinctive impulse, faded soon To such a steady hue as spake the soul Roused up with all its powers, and unsubdued, And strengthen’d for endurance. Through the camp, Soon as the tidings spread, a shout arose,

250 A hideous shout, more savage than the howl

Of midnight wolves, around him as they throng'd,
To gaze upon their victim. He pass'd on;
And as they led him to the appointed place
Look'd round, as though forgetful of himself, 255
And cried aloud, “ Oh! woe it is to think
So many men shall never see the sun
Go down! Ye English mothers mourn ye now !
Daughters of England weep! for hard of heart
Still
your
mad leaders

urge this impious war; 260
And for their folly and their wickedness,
Your sons, your husbands, by the sword must fall.
Long-suffering is the Lord, and slow to wrath,
But heavy are his judgements !”

He who spake 264 Was young and comely ; had his cheek been pale With dread, and had his eye look'd fearfully, Sure he had won compassion ; but the blood Gave now a livelier meaning to his cheek, 268 As with a prophet's look and prophet's voice He raised his ominous warning: they who heard Wonder'd, and they who rear'd the stake perform’d With half-unwilling hands their slacken'd toil, And doubted what might follow.

Not unseen Rear'd they the stake, and piled around the wood ; In sight of Orleans and the Maiden's host, 275 Had Suffolk's arrogant fierceness bade the work Of death be done. The Maiden's host beheld; At once in eager wrath they raised the loud And general clamour, “ Lead us to the foe !" “ Not upon us, O GOD!” the Maid exclaim'd, 280

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