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Pierced to her neck, and tinged its point with blood.
« She bleeds! she bleeds!» exulting cried the Chief;
« The sorceress bleeds! nor all her hellish arts
Can charm my arrows from their destined course.»
Il-fated man! in vain with murderous hand
Placing thy feather a quarrel in its groove,
Dream'st thou of JOAN subdued! She from her neck
Plucking the shaft unterrified, exclaim'd,
« This is a favour! 15. Frenchmen, let us on!
Escape they cannot from the hand of God!»
But Conrade, rolling round his angry eyes,
Belield the English Chieftain as he aim'd
Again the bow: with rapid step he strode;
Nor did not Glacidas the Frank perceive;
At him he drew the string: the powerless dart
Fell blunted from his buckler. Fierce he came,
And lifting high his ponderous battle-axe,
Full on bis shoulder drove the furious stroke,
Deep buried in his bosom: prone he fell,
The cold air rash'd upon his heaving heart.
One whose low lineage gave no second name
Was Glacidas, 152 a gallant man, and still
His memory in the records of the foe
Survives.

And now, dishearten'd at his death,
The vanquish'd English fly towards the gate,
Seeking the inner court,

353

as yet in hope
Again to dare the siege, and with their friends
Find present refuge there. Mistaken men!
The vanquish'd have no friends! Defeated thus,
Press'd by pursuit, in vain with eager

voice They call their comrades in the suppliant tones

with the bitter curse of fruitless anger; they indeed within Fast from the ramparts on the victor tromps Hurl their keen javelins... but the gate is barrd... The huge portcullis down!

Then terror seized Their hopeless hearts: some, furious in despair, Turn on their foes; fcar-palsied some await The coming death; some drop the useless sword, And cry for mercy.

Then the Maid of Arc
Had pity on the vanquish'd ; and she call'd
Aloud, and cried unto the host of France,
And bade them cease from slaughter. They obey'd
The delegated Damsel. Some there were
A part who communed murmuring, and of those
Graville address'd her: « Mission d Maid! our troops
Are few in number; and to well secure
These

many prisoners such a force demands,
As should we spare might shortly make us need
The mercy we bestow; not mercy then,
Rather to these our soldiers, cruelty.
Justice to them, to France, and to our King,
And that regard wise Nature hath in each
Implanted of self-safety, all demand
Their deaths.»

« Foul fall such evil policy!»
The indignant Maid exclaim'd. « I tell thee, Chief.
God is with us! but God shall hide bis face
From him who sheds one drop of human blood
Ja calm cold-hearted wisdom; him who weighs
The right and the expedient, and resolves,
Just as the well-poised scale shall rise or full.
These men shall live, live to be happy, Chief,

And in the latest hour of life shall bless
Us who preserved. What is the conqueror's name,
Compared to this when the death-hour shall come?
To think that we have from the murderous sword
Rescued one man, and that his heart-pour'd prayers
Already with celestial eloquence
Plead for us to the All-just ?»

Severe she spake;
Then turo'd to Conrade. « Thou from these our troops
Appoint fit escort for the prisoners :
I need not tell thee, Conrade, they are men,
Misguided men, led from their little homes,
The victims of the mighty!

Thus subdued,
They are our foes no longer : hold them safe
Jn Orleans. From the war we may not spare
Thy va!our long.»

She said: when Conrade cast
His eyes around, and markd amid the court
From man to man where Francis rush'd along,
Bidding them spare the vanquish d. Aim he haild:
« The Maid hath bade me chuse a leader forth
To guard the captives; thou shalt be the man;
For thou wilt guard them with due diligence,
Yet not forgetting they are men, our foes
No longer!

Nor meantime the garrison
Ceased from the war; they, in the hour of need,
Abandoning their comrades to the sword,
A daring band, resolved to bide the siege
In desperate valour. Fast against the walls
The battering-ram drove fierce; the enginery
Plied at the ramparts fast; the catapults
Drove there their dreadful darts; the war-wolfs there
Hurld their buge stones; and through the kindled sky,
The engines shower'd their sheets of liquid fire. 154

Of pity now, no

« Feel ye not, comrades, how the ramparts shake
Beneath the ponderous ram's incessant stroke?»
Exclaim'd a venturous Englishman. «Our foes,
In woman-like compassion, have dismiss'd
A powerful escort, weakening thus themselves,
And giving us fair hope, in equal field,
Of better fortune. Sorely here annoy'd
And slaughter'd by their engines from afar,
We perish.

Vainly does the soldier hoast
Undaunted courage and the powerful arm,
Jf thus pent up, like some wild beast he falls,
Mark'd for the hunter's arrows : let us out
And meet thein in the battle, man to man,
Either to conquer, or, at least, to die
A soldier's death.»

Nay, nay...not so,» replied
One of less daring valour. « Though they point
Their engines here, our archers not in vain
Speed their death-doing shafls. Let the strong walls
First by the foe be won; 'ı will then be time
To meet them in the battle man to man,
When these shall fail us.»

Scarcely had he spoke,
When full upon his breast a ponderous stone
Fell fierce impella, and drove him to the earth,
All shatter'd. Horror the spectators seized,
For as the dreadful weapon shiver'd him,
His blood besprinkled round, and they bebeld
His mangled lungs lie quivering!

« Such the fate

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Is this, and come what will, me it behoves,
wlindful of that good power who delegates,
To
spare

the falien foe: that gracious God
Sends me the minister of mercy forth,
Sends me to save this ravaged realm of France,
To England friendly as to all the world;
Foe only to the great blood-guilty ones,
The masters and the murderers of mankind.

Of those who trust them to their walls' defence,»
Again exclaim'd the soldier: «thus they fall,
Betray'd by their own fears. Courage alone
Can save us.»

Nor to draw them from the fort
Now needed eloquence; with one accord
They bade him lead to battle. Forth they rush'd
Impetuous. With such fury o'er the plain,
Swoln by the autumnal tempest, Vega rolls
His rapid waters, when the gather'd storm,
On the black heights of Hatteril bursting, swells
The tide of desolation.

Then the Maid Spake to the Son of Orleans : « Let our troops Fall back, so shall the English in pursuit Leave this strong fortress, thus an easy prey." Time was not for long counsel. From the court, Obedient to Dunois, a band of Fraoks Retreat, as at the irruption of their foes Dishearten d; they, with shouts and loud uproar, Rush to their fancied conquest: JOAN, the while Placing a small but gallant garrison, Bade them secure the gates: then forth she rush'd, With such fierce onset charging on their rear, That terror smote the English, and they wish'd Again that they might hide them in their walls Rashly abandon'd, for now wheeling around The Son of Orleans fought. All captainless, Il-marshalld, ill-directed, in vain rage They waste their furious efforts, falling fast Before the Maid's good falchion and the sword Of Conrade: loud was beard the mingled sound Of arms and men; the earth, that trampled late By multitudes, gave to the passing wind Its dusty clouds, now reek'd with their hot gore.

She said, and suddenly threw off her helm;
Her breast heaved high... her cheek grew red... her eyes
Flash'd forth a wilder lustre: «Thou dost deem
That I have illy spared so large a band,
Disabling from pursuit our weakened troops...
God is with us!» she cried...

..« God is with us! Our champion manifest!»

Even as she spake, The tower, the bridge, and all its multitudes, Sunk with a mighty crash.

Astonishment Seized on the French...an universal cry

156 Of terror burst from them. Crush'd in the fall, Or by their armour whelm'd beneath the tide, The sufferers sunk, or vainly plied their arms, Caught by some sinking wretch, who grasp'd them fast, And drage'd them down to death: shrieking they sunk; Huge fragments frequent dash'd with thundering roar Amid the foaming current. From the fort Talbot beheld, and gnash'd liis teeth, and cursed The more than mortal Virgin; whilst the towers Of Orleans echoed to the loud uproar, And all who heard trembled, and cross'd their breasts, And as they hastend to the city walls, Told fearfully their beads.

"T was now the hour When v'er the plain the fading rays of eve Their sober light effuse; when the lowing herd, Slow as they stalk to shelter, draw behind Their lengthening shades; and, seeking his high nest, As heavily he haps the dewy air, The hoarse rook pours his melancholy note. « Now then, Dunois, for Orleans ! » cried the Maid, «And give we to the flames these monuments Of sorrow and disgrace. The ascending tlames Shall to the dwellers of yon rescued town Blaze with a joyful splendour, while the foe Behold and tremble.»

As she spake, they rush'd To fire the forts; they shower their wild fire there, And high amid the gloom the ascending flames Blaze up; then joyful of their finishd ioil The host retire. Hush'd is the field of fight As the calm'd ocean, when its gentle waves Heave slow and silent, wafting tranquilly The shatter'd fragments of the midnight wreck.

High on the fort's far summit Talbot mark'd
The fight, and call'd impatient for his arms,
Eager to rush to war; and scarce withheld,
For now, disheartened and discomfited,
The troops fled fearful.

On the bridge there stood
A strong-built tower, commanding o'er the Loire.
The traveller sometimes linger'd on his way,
Marking the playful tenants of the stream,
Seen in its shadow, stem the sea-ward tide;
This had the invaders won in hard assault,
Before the delegate of Heaven came forth
And made them fear who never fear'd till then.
Hither the English troops with hasty steps
Retired, yet not forgetful of defence,
But waging still the war: the garrison
Them thus retreating saw, and
Their guarded gates, and on the Gallic host,
Covering their vanquish'd fellows, pour'd their shafts.
Checkd in pursuit they stop. Then Graville cried,
«Ill, Maiden, hast thou done! Those valiant troops
Thy womanish pity has dismiss'd, with us
Conjoin'd might press upon the vanquish'd foes,
Though aided thus, and plant the lilied flag
Victorious on yon tower.»

«Dark minded man!»
The Maid of Orleans answer'd, « To act well
Brings with itself an ample recompense.
I have not reard the oriflamme of death, 155
The butcher flag! the banner of the Lord

open threw

BOOK IX.

Far through the shadowy sky the ascending flames 157
Stream'd their fierce torrents, by the gales of night
Now carld, now flashing their long lightnings up
That made the stars seem pale; less frequent now
Through the red volumes briefer splendours shot,
And blacker waves rollid o'er the darken'd heaven. »

Dismay'd amid the forts which yet remaind
The invaders saw, and clamour'd for retreat,
Deeming that aided by invisible powers
The Maid weut forth to conquer.

Not a sound
Moved on the air but filled them with

vague

dread Of unseen dangers ; if the blast arose Sudden, through every fibre a deep fear Crept shivering, and to their expecting minds Silence itself was dreadful.158 One there was, Who, learning wisdom in the hour of ill, Exclaim'd, «I marvel not that the Most High Hath hid his face from England! Wherefore thus, Quitting the comforts of domestic life, Swarm we to desolate this goodly land, Making the drench'd earth rank with buman blood, Scatter pollution on the winds of leaven? Oh! that the sepulchre had closed its jaws On that foul priest,159 on that blood-guiley man, Who, trembling for the church's ill-got wealth, Bade Henry look on France, ere he had drawn The desolating sword, and sent him forth To slaughter! Sure that holy hiermit spake 160 The Almighty's bidding, who in his career Of conquest met the king, and bade him cease The work of death, before the wrath divine Fell heavy on his head;-and soon it fell And suik him to the grave;-and soon that wrath On us, alike in sin, alike shall fall, For thousands and ten thousands, by the sword Cut off, and sent before the Eternal Judge, With all their unrepented crimes upon them, Cry out for vengeance! For the widow's groan, Though here she groan unpitied or unheard, Is heard in heaven against us! O'er this land For hills of human slain, unsepulchred, Steam pestilence, and cloud the blessed sun! The wrath of God is on us--God hath callid This virgin forth, and gone before her path ;Our brethren, vainly valiant, fall beneath them, Clogging with gore their weapons, or in the flood Whelm'd like the Egyptian tyrant's impious host, Mangled and swolo, their blacken'd carcasses Toss on the lossing billows! We remain, For yet our rulers will pursue the war, We still remain to perish by the sword, Soon to appear before the throne of God, Lost, quilty wretches, hircling murderers, Uninjured, unprovoked, who dare to risk The life his goodness gave us, on the chance Of war, and in obedience to our chiefs Durst disobey our God,»

Then terror seized The troops and late repentance; and they thought Thic spirits of the mothers and their babes Famish'd at Roan sat on the clouds of night Circling the forts, to hail with gloomy joy The hour of vengeance.161

Nor the English chiefs Heard their loud murmurs heedless; counselling, They met despondent. Suffolk, now their chief, Since conquer'd by the arın of Theodore Fell Salisbury, thus began :

« It now were vain Lightly of this our more than mortal foe To speak contemptuous. She hath vanquish'd us, Aided by hell's leagued powers, nor auglit avails

Man unassisted 'gainst the powers of hell 163
To dare the conflict : Were it best remain
Waiting the doubtful aid of Burgundy,
Doubtful and still delay'd? or from this scene,
Scene of our shame, retreating as we may,
Yet struggle to preserve the guarded towns
Of Orleannois ?»

He ceased ; and with a sigh,
Struggling with pride that heaved his gloomy breast,
Talbot replied : «Our council little boots ;
For by their numbers now made bold in fear 163
The soldiers will not fight, they will not heed
Our vain resolves, heart-withered by the spells
Of this accursed sorceress.

Soon will come The expected host from England : even now Perchance the tall bark scuds across the deep That bears my son : young Talbot comes-he comes To find his sire disgraced! But soon mine arm, By vengeance nerved, and shame of such defeat, Shall from the crest-fall'n courage of yon ich, Regaju its ancient glory. Near the coast Best is it to retreat, and there expect The coming succour.»

Thus the warrior spake. Joy ran through all the troops,164 as though retreat Werc safety. Silently in order'd ranks They issue forth, favour'd by the deep clouds Which mantled o'er the moon. With throbbing hearts Fearful they speeded on : come, thinking sad Of distant England, and, now wise too late, Cursing in bitterness the evil hour That Ied them from her shores : some in faint liope Calling to mind the comforts of their home : Talbot went musing on his blasted fame Sullen and stern, and feeding on dark thoughts, And meditating vengeance.

In the walls Of Orleans, though her habitants with joy Humbly acknowledged the high aid of Heaven, Of many a heavy ill and bitter loss Mindful, such mingled sentiments they felt As one from shipwreck saved, the first warm glow Of transport past, who contemplates himself, Preserved alone, a solitary wretch, Possessid of life indeed, but reft of all That makes man love to live. The chieftains shared The social bow),165 glad of the town relieved, And communing of that miraculous Maid, Who came the saviour of the realm of France, When vanquish'd in the frequent field of shame Her bravest warriors trembled.

Joan the while Foodless and silent to the convent pass'd : Conrade with her, and Isabel; both mute, Yet gazing on her, oft with eloquent cye, Looking the consolation that they feard To give a voice to. Now they reach'd the dome : The glaring torches o'er the house of death Stream'd a sad splendour. Flowers and funeral herbs Bedeck'd the bier of Theodore: the rue, The dark green rosemary, and the violet, That pluck'd like him wither'd in its first bloom. Dissolved in sorrow Isabel her grief Pour'd copious ; Conrade wept: the Maid alone Was tearless, for she stood upheedingly, Gazing the vision'd scene of her last hour,

Absorb'd in contemplation; from her eye

Cold as their clayey tenants, know, my heart
Intelligence was absent; nor slie seemid

Must never grow to stone! Chill thou thyself,
To hear, though listening to the dirge of death. And break thy midnight rest, and tell thy beads,
Laid in his last home now was Theodore,

And labour through they still repeated prayer ;
And now upon the coffin thrown, the carib

Fear thou thy God of terrors; spurn the gifts Fell luavy: the Maid started, for the sound

lle

gave, and sepulchre thyself alive! Smote on her heart; her eye one lightning glance But far more valued is the vine that bends Shoi wild; and shudderiny, upon Isabel

Bencath its swelling clusters, than the dark
She hung, hier pale lips trembling, and her cheek And joyless ivy, round the cloister's wall
As wan as though untenanted by lise.

Wreating its barren arms. For me, I know

Mine own worth, priese! that I have well performid Then in the priest arose the earnest bope,

My duty, and untrembling shall appear That, weary of the world and sick with woe,

Before the just tribunal of that God The Maid might dwell with them a vestal vow'd. Whom grateful love has taught me to adore!» « Ah, damsel!» slow he spake, and cross d lois breast, Severe she spake, for sorrow in her heart « ab, damsel! favour'd as thou art of leaven,

Had wrought unwonted sternness. From the dome Let not thy soul beneath its sorrow sink

| They past in silence, when with basty steps, Despondent; Heaven by sorrow disciplines

Sent by the assembled chieftains, one they met The froward heart, and chastens whom it loves; Seeking the mission d Virgin, as alarmd, Therefore, companion of thy way of life,

The berald of ill tidings. Shail sorrow wean thee froin this faithless world,

Holy Maid!) Where happiness provokes the traveller's chase, He cried, « they ask thy counsel. Burgundy And like the midnight meteor of the marsh

Comes in the cause of England, and his troops Allures his long and perilous pursnit,

Scarce three leagues from our walls, a fearful power, Then leaves him dark and comfortless. O Maid! Rest tented for the niglit.» Fix tbou thine eyes upon that heavenly dawn

Say to the Chiefs, Beyond the night of life! thy race is run;

At morn I will be with them,» she replied. Thou hast delivered Orleans : now perfect

« Meantime their welfare well shall occupy Thyself; accomplish all, and be the child

My nightly thoughts.» Of God. Amid these sacred haunts the groan

So saving, on she past Of woe is never heard; these hallowd roofs

Thoughtful and silent. A brief while she mused, Re-echo only to the pealing quire,

Brief, but sufficing to impel the soul, The chaunted inass, and virgin's holy hymn,

As with a strange and irresistible force, Celestial sounds! Secluded here, the soul

To loftiest daring. « Conrade!» she exclain d, Receives a foretaste of her joys to come!

«I pray thee meet me at the eastern gate This is the abode of piety and peace :

Willi a swift steed prepared: for I must hence.» Oh! be their inmale, Maiden! Come 10 rest, Die to be world, and live espoused to Heaven ! » ller voice was calm ; nor Conrade through the gloom

Saw the faint flush that witness'd on her cheek Then Coprade answer'd : « Father! Heaven has doom'd fligh thoughts conceived. She lo hier home repair'd, This Maid to active virtue.»

And with a light and noplumed casquetel 166 « Active'» cried

She helm'd her head; hung from her neck the shield, 167 Tie astonish'd priest : « thou dost not know the toils And forth she went. This holy warfare asks; thou dost not know

Her Conrade by the wall How powerful the attacks that Satan makes,

Awaited. May I, Maiden, seek unblamed By sinful nature aided! Dost thou deem

Whither this midnight journey? may I share It is an easy task from the fond breast

The peril ?» cried the warrior. She rejoin'd, To root affection out? to burst the cords

« This, Conrade, may not be. Which grapple to society the heart

That impulse of the soul which comes from God; Of social man? to ronse the unwilling spirit,

Huth summond me. of this remain assured, That, rebel to devotion, faintly pours

If angbit of patriot enterprise required The cold lip-worship of the wearying prayer?

Associate firmness, thou shouldst be the man, To fear and tremble at him, yet to love

last ... and only friend!» A God of terrors! Maid, beloved of Heaven !

So
пр

she sprano, Come to this sacred trial! share with us

And left him. He beheld the warden close The day of penance and the night of prayer!

The gate, and listen'd to her courser's tramp, Humble thyself! feel thine owo worthlessness,

Till soon upon his ear the far-off sound A reptile worm before thy birth condemn'd

Fell faintly, and was lost. To all the horrors of thy Maker's wrath,

Swift o'er the vale The lot of fallen mankind! Oh, bither come!

Sped the good courser; eagerly the Maid Ilumble thyself in ashes; so thy name

Gave the loose rein, and now her speed attain'd Shall live amid the blessed host of saints,

The dark encampment. Through the sleeping ranks And unborn pilgrims at thy hallow'd shrine

Onward she past. The trampling of the steed Pour forth their pious offerings.»

Or mingled with the soldier's busy dreams,

« lear me, priest,» Or with vague terrors fill d his started sense, Exclaim'd the awaken'd Maid, « Amid these tombs, Prompting the secret prayer.

Alope I go.

Dest...

So on she past
To where in loftier shade arose the tent
Of Burgundy: liglit leaping from her seat
She enter'd.

On the earth the Chieftain slept,
His mandle scarft around liim; all in arms,
Save that his shield hung near him, and his helm,
And by his side in warrior readiness
The sheathed falchion lay. Profound he slept,
Nor heard the speeding courser's sounding hoof,
Nor enteriog footstep. Burgundy,» she cried,
« What, Burgundy! awake!» De started up,
And caught the gleam of arms, and to liis sword
Reach'd the quick hand. But soon his upward glance
Thrilld him, for full upon her face the lamp
Sırcam'd its deep glare, and in her solemn look
Was most unearthly meaning. Pale she was;
But in her eye a saintly lustre beaind,
And that most calm aud holiest confidence
That guilt knows never. « Burgundy, thou seest
The Maid of ORLEANS!»

As she spake, a voice
Exclaim'd, « Die, sorceress!» and a knight ruslid in,
Whose name by her illustrated yet lives,
Franquet of Arras. With uplified arm
Furious he came; her buckler broke the blow,
And forth she flash d her sword, and with a stroke
Swift that no eye could ward it, and of strength
No mail might blunt, smote on his neck, his neck
Unfenced, for he in haste aroused had cast
An armet

68
on ;

resistless there she smote, And to the earth prone fell the leadless trunk Of Franquet.

Then on Burgundy she fix'd
Hler eye severe: Go, Chief, and thank thy God
That he with lighter judgments visits thee
Tian fell on Sisera, or by Juditlis haud
lle wrought upon the Assyrian! Thank thy God,
That when his vengeance smote the invading sons
Of England, equall'd though thou wert io guilt,
Thee he has spared to work by penitence
Aud better deeds atonement.»

Thus she spake;
Then issued forth, and, bounding on her steed,
Sped o'er the plain. Dark on the upland bank
The hedgc-row trees distinct and colourless
Rose o'er the grey horizon, and the Loire
Form'd in its winding way islands of light
Amid the shadowy vale, when now she reach'd
The walls of Orleans.

From the eastern clouds
The sun came forth, as to the assembled chiefs
The Maiden past.

Her bending thitherwards The Bastard met. « New perils threaten us,” He cried, « new toils await us: Burgundy

The delegated Damsel thus replied:
« So let them fly, Dupois! but other toils
Than those of battle these our hallow'd troops
Await. Look yonder to that carnaged plain!
Beloves us there to delve the general grave.
Then, Chieftain, for pursuit, when we have paid
The rites of burial to our fellow men,
And lymn'd our gratitude to that ALL-JUST
Who gave the conquest. Thou, meantime, dispatch
Tidings to Chinon: bid the king set forth,
That, crowning him before assembled France,
In Rheims, delivered from the enemy,
I
may accomplish all.»

So said the Maid,
Then to the gate moved on. The assembled troops
Beheld their coming Chief, and smote their shields,
Clamouring their admiration; for they thought
That she would lead them to the instant war.
She waved her hand, and silence stillid the host.
Then thus the mission'd Maid: « Fellows in arms!
We must not speed to joyful victory,
Whilst our unburied comrades, on yon plain,
Allure the carrion-bird. Give we this day
To our dead friends! >>

Nor did she speak in vain;
For as she spake, the thirst of battle dies
In every breast, such awe and love pervade
The listening troops. They o'er the corse-strewn plain
Speed to their sad employment: some dig deep
The house of death ; some bear the lifeless load;
One little troop search carefully around,
If haply they might find surviving yet
Some wounded wretches. As they labour thus,
They mark far off the iron-blaze of arms;
See distant standards waving on the air,
And hear the clarion's clang. Then spake the Maid
To Conrade, and she bade him speed to view
The coming army; or to meet their march
With friendly greeting, or if foes they came
With such array of battle as short space
Allowed; the warrior sped across the plain,
And soon beheld the banner'd lilies wave.

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Their chief was Richemont; he, when as he lieard
What rites employ'd the Virgin, straightway base
His troops assist in burial; they, thougla grieved
Al late arrival, and the expected day
Of conquest past, yel give their willing aid:
They dig the general grave, and thither bear
English or French alike commingled now,
And heap the mound of death.

Ainid the plain
There was a little eminence, of old
Piled o'er some honoured chieftain's narrow house.
Bis praise the song had ceased to celebrate,
And many an unknown age had the long grass
Waved o'er the nameless inound, though barren now
Beneatlı the frequent tread of multitudes.
There elevate, the martial Maiden stood,
Her brow unhelın'd, and floating on the wind
Her long dark locks. The silent troops around
Stood thickly throng'd, as o'er te fertile field
Billows the ripend corn. The passing breeze
Bore not a murmur from the numerous host,
Such deep attention held them. She began:

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