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mit of her towers, her great defender, the invincible Dunois, made a melancholy speech in the depth of his heart. He envies those who have fallen in battle, and hesitates whether he shall die or yield up the town. So when a huge oak in the Appenines is assaulted at once with equal fury by the North wind and the South wind, it suspends its fall, and appears to consider whether it shall fall to the South or to the North. The simily merits to be preserved for its incomparable absurdity.
Comme lors qu'un grand chesne, aux roches Appennines,
But at this instant, whether by chance or fate, he perceived a cloud bursting with the storm; the lightnings made the vaulted heaven like a furnace, and the deceived eye deemed the universe was in flames. Dunois instantly conceives that this is a hint from heaven, and resolves to destroy Orleans by fire. This horrible determination made a torch shine in each of his eyes; he collects together the people, and persuades them rather to destroy their town and themselves by fire, than yield to the
English; an illustrious fury possesses all who hear him; they resolve to adopt his horrible advice in the last extremity, like the mariner who blows up his vessel to save himself from captivity, and makes a superb tomb of the ocean.
But Charles in refleêing upon the inevitable loss of Orleans, felt his courage oppressed beneath a mountain of grief. He consults his chiefs, but despair made them silent, and he now considered death as his least evil. In this state his guardian angel presented the King of the Universe to his heart.
Below Chinon the Vienne waters in its course the mossy foundations of an hermitage where God was never supplicated in vain. A thousand silver lamps hang from its vaulted roof. Here Charles prostrates himself in prayer. “Sovereign of men and angels, let your mercy combat your justice for us. The French have committed an hundred crimes against you, but they are your children as well as your enemies; it is they who have so often covered the Idumean plains with their holy armies; it is this chosen people who must hereafter unite all nations under your lovely yoke.” This prophecy of the universal dominion of France, is twice introduced in the prayer of Charles, who concludes by intreating Heaven to punish him and not his people. The image of the King of Kings made its face shine with a sudden flash; and Charles, at this prodigy, redoubled his supplications.
Beyond the fiery walls which inclose the world, centred in profound splendour, God reposes in himself, a triple person in one essence; supreme power, supreme wisdom, and supreme love united in Trinity. The fervent prayer of Charles penetrated the abyss of light. The Virgin Mary intercedes for him. God is appeased, declares that, to honour the sex of the Virgin, a Virgin shall save France, and sends an angel to the forest of Ardenne to inspire the chosen Maid.
Sur les confins douteux de France et de Lorraine,
En cet affreux sejour, une modeste Fille,
Sous le tranquille abry des ombrages couverts,
Sur le lion bruslant l'astre de la lumiere
Ainsi, lors que la nuit couvre tout de son voile,
Il tombe sur le bois, où la Fille medite;
“ Bergere,” dit la voix, “ Pucelle juste et sainte, “ Calme ton tremblement, et dissipe ta crainte ; “ Du Monarque Eternel je suis l'Ambassadeur, « Et te viens annoncer ta future grandeur. “ Par ton bras, aujourd 'huy, l'auguste Providence “ Veut redonner la vie aux Peuples de la France, “ Et, pour leur bien monstrer qu'ils la doivent aux Cieux, « Te vient tirer du fond de ces sauvages lieux. “ Ton bras sera le bras du Grand Dieu des armées ; “L’Anglois verra, par toy, ses forces consumées, « Orleans deploré s'affranchira, par toy, “ Et, par toy, Rheims verra le Sacre de son Roy. “ A ces faits merveilleux prepare ton courage ; « La gloire du Tres-haut luira sur ton visage, " Et, sa vertu guerriere animant ta vertu, “ Fera mordre la terre a l’Anglois abatu."