ページの画像
PDF
ePub

For he had heard in other lands the fame
Of Orleans. . . And he lives a prisoner still ! 50
Losing all hope because my arm so long
Hath fail'd to win his liberty !"

He turn'u
His head away, hiding the burning shame
Which flush'd his face. “ But he shall live, Dunois,"
The mission'd Maid replied ; “ but he shall live 55
To hear good tidings; hear of liberty,
Of his own liberty, by his brother's arm
Atchieved in well-won battle. He shall live
Happy, the memory of his prison'd years
Shall heighten all his joys, and his grey hairs 60
Go to the grave in peace.”

6 I would fain live To see that day," replied their aged host: “ How would my heart leap to behold again The gallant generous chieftain ! I fought by him, When all our hopes of victory were lost, 65 And down his batter'd arms the blood stream'd fast From many a wound. Like wolves they hemm'd usin, Fierce in unhoped for conquest: all around Our dead and dying countrymen lay heap'd ; Yet still he strove ;.. I wonder'd at his valour! 70 There was not one who on that fatal day Fought bravelier.”

“ Fatal was that day to France,” Exclaim'd the Bastard ; “ there Alençon fell, Valiant in vain; there D'Albert, whose mad pride Brought the whole ruin on. There fell Brabant, Vaudemont, and Marle, and Bar, and Faquenberg, Our noblest warriors; the determin'd foe 77

Fought for revenge, not hoping victory,
Desperately brave; ranks fell on ranks before them;
The prisoners of that shameful day out-summ'd 80
Their conquerors !"

6 Yet believe not,” Bertram cried,
“ That cowardice disgraced thy countrymen !
They by their leaders arrogance led on
With heedless fury, found all numbers vain,
All effort fruitless there; and hadst thou seen, 85
Skilful as brave, how Henry's ready eye
Lost not a thicket, not a hillock's aid;
From his hersed bowmen how the arrows flew 88
Thick as the snow-flakes and with lightning force ;
Thou wouldst have known such soldiers, such a chief,
Could never be subdued.

« But when the field Was won, and they who had escaped the fight Had yielded up their arms, it was foul work To turn on the defenceless prisoners The cruel sword of conquest. Girt around 95 I to their

mercy

had surrender'd me, When lo! I heard the dreadful

cry

of death. Not as amid the fray, when man met man And in fair combat

gave

the mortal blow; Here the poor captives, weaponless and bound, 100 Saw their stern victors draw again the sword, And groan'd and strove in vain to free their hands, And bade them think upon their plighted faith, And pray'd for mercy in the name of God, In vain : the King had bade them massacre, 105 And in their helpless prisoners' naked breasts

They drove the weapon.

Then I look'd for death, And at that moment death was terrible,.. For the heat of fight was over; of my home I thought, and of my wife and little ones 110 In bitterness of heart. But the brave man, To whom the chance of war had made me thrall, Had pity, loosed my hands, and bade me fly. It was the will of Heaven that I should live Childless and old to think upon the past, 115 And wish that I had perish'd !”

The old man Wept as he spake. “Ye may perhaps have heard Of the hard siege that Roan so long endur'd. I dwelt there, strangers; I had then a wife, And I had children tenderly beloved,

120 Who I did hope should cheer me in old age And close mine eyes. The tale of misery May-hap were tedious, or I could relate Much of that dreadful time."

The Maid replied, Wishing of that devoted town to hear.

125 Thus then the veteran:

“ So by Heaven preserved, From the disastrous plain of Agincourt I speeded homewards, and abode in peace. | Henry, as wise as brave, had back to England Led his victorious army; well aware

130 That France was mighty, that her warlike sons, Impatient of a foreigner's command, Might rise impetuous, and with multitudes Tread down the invaders. Wisely he return'd, For our proud barons in their private broils 135

Wasted the strength of France. I dwelt at home,
And with the little I possess'd content,
Lived happily. A pleasant sight it was
To see my children, as at eve I sat

139
Beneath the vine, come clustering round my knee,
That they might hear again the oft-told tale
Of the dangers I had past: their little eyes
Would with such anxious eagerness attend
The tale of life preserved, as made me feel
Life's value. My poor children! a hard fate 145
Had they! But oft and bitterly I wish
That God had to his mercy taken me
In childhood, for it is a heavy lot
To linger out old age in loneliness !

Ah me! when war the masters of mankind, 150
Woe to the poor man? if he sow his field,
He shall not reap the harvest; if he see
His offspring rise around, his boding heart
Aches at the thought that they are multiplied 154
To the sword! Again from England the fierce foe
Came on our ravaged coasts. In battle bold,
Merciless in conquest, their victorious King
Swept like the desolating tempest round.
Dambieres submits; on Caen's subjected wall
The flag of England waved. Roan still remain'd,
Embattled Roan, bulwark of Normandy; 161
Nor unresisted round her

massy

walls Pitch'd they their camp. I need not tell, Sir Knight How oft and boldly on the invading host We burst with fierce assault impetuous forth, 165

For many were the warlike sons of Roan.
One gallant Citizen was famed o'er all
For daring hardihood pre-eminent,
Blanchard. He, gathering round his countrymen,
With his own courage kindling every breast, 170
Had made them vow before Almighty God
Never to yield them to the usurping foe.
Before the God of Hosts we made the vow;
And we had baffled the besieging power,
Had not the patient enemy drawn round 175
His wide intrenchments. From the watch-tower's top
In vain with fearful hearts along the Seine
We strain'd the eye, and every distant wave
Which in the sun-beam glitter'd, fondly thought
The white sail of supply. Alas! no more 180
The white sail rose upon our aching sight;
For guarded was the Seine, and our stern foe
Had made a league with Famine. How my

heart
Sunk in me when at night I carried home
The scanty pittance of to-morrow's meal ! 185
You know not, strangers, what it is to see
The asking eye of hunger!

« Still we strove, Expecting aid ; nor longer force to force, Valour to valour, in the fight opposed, But to the exasperate patience of the foe, 190 Desperate endurance. Though with christian zeal Ursino would have pour'd the balm of peace Into our wounds, Ambition's ear, best pleased With the war's clamour and the

groan

of death, Was deaf to prayer. Day after day pass'd on; 195

« 前へ次へ »