« 前へ次へ »
those who affect point in their conversation, they will always sacrifice truth to the gratification of their vanity.
I have avoided what seems useless and wearying in other poems, and my readers will find no description of armour, no muster-rolls, no geographical catalogues, lion, tyger, bull, bear and boar similes, Phæbuses or Auroras. And where in battle I have particularised the death of an individual, it is not I hope like the common lists of killed and wounded
In Millin's National Antiquities of France, I find that M. Laverdy was in 1791 occupied in collecting whatever has been written concerning the Maid of Orleans. I have anxiously expected his work, but it is probable, considering the tumults of the intervening period, that it has not been accomplished. Of the various productions to the memory of JOAN OF ARC, I have only collected a few titles, and, if report may be trusted, need not fear a heavier con
demnation than to be deemed equally bad. A regular canon of St. Euverte has written une tres mauvaise poeme, entitled the Modern Amazon.
There is a prose tragedy called La Pucelle d'Orleans, variously attributed to Benserade, to Boyer, and to Menardiere. The abbe Daubignac published a prose tragedy with the same title in 1642. There is one under the name of Jean Baruel of 1581, and another printed anonymously at Rouen 1606. Among the manuscripts of the queen of Sweden in the Vatican, is a dramatic piece in verse called Le Mystere du Siege d'Orleans. In these modern times, says Millin, all Paris has run to the theatre of Nicolet to see a pantomime entitled Le fameux Siege de la Pucelle d'Orleans. I may add, that, after the publication of this Poem, a pantomime upon the same subject was brought forward at Covent-Garden Theatre, in which the heroine, like Don Juan, was carried off by devils and precipitated alive into hell. I mention it, because the feelings of the audience revolted at such a catastrophe, and after a few nights an angel was introduced to rescue her.
But among the number of worthless poems upon this subject, there are two which are unfortunately notorious, - the Pucelles of Chapelain and Voltaire. I have had patience to peruse the first, and never have been guilty of looking into the second; it is well said by Herbert the poet,
Make not thy sport abuses, for the fly
That feeds on dung, is coloured thereby. On the eighth of May, the anniversary of its deliverance, an annual fête is held at Orleans ; and monuments have been erected there and at Rouen to the memory of the Maid. Her family was ennobled by Charles; but it should not be forgotten in the history of this monarch, that, in the hour of misfortune, he abandoned to her fate, the woman who had saved his kingdom.