ページの画像
PDF
ePub

“ That ye may eat the flesh of mighty men,
“ 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.

wenn . “ I will not now “ Recall the moment when on my poor Francis .“ 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 wander'd reckless where, till wearied out, “ 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 “ 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 “ Did I achieve the hazardous enterprise, “ 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 “ Thy march. 'Tis night... and hark! how dead a

“ silence ! “ Fit hour to tread so perilous a path !"

me.

So saying, Conrade from the tent went forth.

JOAN OF ARC.

THE SIXTH BOOK.

The night was calm, and many a moving cloud
Shadow'd the moon. Along the forest glade
With swift food Conrade past, and now had reach'd
The plain, where whilome by the pleasant Loire,
Cheer'd with the song, the rustics had beheld
The day go down upon their merriment:
No song of Peace now echoed on its banks,
There tents were pitch'd, and there the sentinel,
Slow pacing on his sullen rounds, beheld
The frequent corse roll down the tainted stream.
Conrade with wider sweep pursued his way,
Shunning the camp, now hush'd in sleep and still.
And now no sound was heard save of the Loire,
Murmuring along. The noise of coming feet

Alarm’d him ; nearer drew the fearful sound
As of pursuit; anon... the clash of arms !
That instant rising o'er a broken cloud
The moon-beams shone, where two with force combined
Prest on a single foe; he, warding still
Their swords, retreated in the unequal fight,
As he would make the city. Conrade shook
His long lance for the war, and strode along.
Full in the breast of one with forceful arm
Plunged he the spear of death ; and, as dismay'd
The other fled, “ Now haste we to the gates,
Frenchman!” he cried. On to the stream they speed,
And plunging stemm'd with sinewy stroke the tide,
Soon on the opposite shore arrived and safe.

“ Whence art thou ?” cried the warrior ; “ on what

6 charge “ Commission'd !"

“ Is it not the voice of Conrade ?" Francis exclaim'd ; " and dost thou bring to us

“ Tidings of speedy aid ? Oh! had it come “ A few hours earlier ! Isabel is gone !"

“ Nay, she is safe,” cried Conrade; “ her I found “ When wilder'd in the forest, and consign'd “ To the protection of the holy Maid, “ The delegate of Heaven. One evening more “ And thou shalt see thine Isabel. Now say, “ Wherefore alone? A fugitive from Orleans, " Or sent on dangerous service from the town !"

“ There is no food in Orleans," he replied, “Scarce a meal more! the assembled chiefs resolved, “: If thou shouldst bring no tidings of near aid, “ To cut their way to safety, or by death « Prevent the pang of famine. One they sought “ Who venturous in the English camp should spy “ Where safest they might rush upon the foe. “ The perilous task I chose, then desperate “ Of happiness.”

« 前へ次へ »