Imágenes de páginas

La Fille, à ces grands mots, oppose sa foiblesse,
Ne peut, ni ne veut croire à la haute promesse,
Et se renfermant toute en son humilité,
S'aneantit aux yeux de la Divinité.

Mais l'Ange qui l'observe, et qui voit sa pensée ; • Ton ame, en vain,” dit-il, “ est icy balancée ; “ Dieu, le Dieu des combats, t'ordonne par ma voix, “ De partir, d'attaquer ; et de vaincre l’Anglois.”

Puis, d'un celeste feu, l'ombrageant toute entiere,
Luy souffle du Seigneur la puissance guerriere,
Luy fait, dans les regards, eclater sa terreur,
Et luy met, dans les mains, les traits de sa fureur.
Dans le sein, à grands flots, il luy respand ses graces,
Il luy fait desdaigner les entreprises basses,
Et, la determinant aux actes valeureux
Luy donne un avant-goust du sort des Bien-heureux,

Le jour s'esteint alors, et le lieu solitaire
Demeure dans l'horreur de sa nuit ordinaire ;
Le silence y retourne, et son ombrage espais
Redevient le sejour du calme et de la paix.
Elle voit le desert tout semblable à luy-mesme,
Mais elle sent, en elle, un changement extreme;
De cette nouveauté son esprit est confus,
Elle se cherche en elle, et ne s'y trouve plus.
Son troupeau, sa forest, ses près et ses fontaines,
Pour elle, desormais, sont des images vaines;

Dieu, l'Anglois, le François, les sieges, le scombats, Seuls, maintenant, pour elle, ont de dignes appas.

Where Lorraine and France Mingle their doubtful confines, there extends An ample forest. Time had reverenced Its hoary trees, and they had borne unharm'd A thousand winters: morning's golden rays Thro' their thick foliage and intwisted boughs Had never met the eye, nor the bright sun, Strong in his mid-day splendour, scattered thence The shades of night. Peace governed there; Repose There made her habitation. Never horn Or hunters clamourous cry rang echoing there; Beneath its umbrage the hush'd rivulet Past murmurless, nor dared the gentlest breeze Of summer twilight thro' its awful groves Sigh soft. The traveller as he journeyed near Felt sudden terror thrill him, and beheld Strange phantoms rising round and hurried on.

Secluded in this gloom a modest maid,
The future pride of France, tho' humbly now
Making the comfort of her family,
Abode, her pious and unwearied mind
Still fix'd in adoration on her God.
A flock of sheep, as innocent as her
Their guardian, occupied her youthful cares ;
This was her peaceful reign; but in her heart.

She had the holy hope to reign in heaven.
In God her love was centered ; this pure flame
Of sacred love she cherished, and her soul,
By the strong transports of such love enrapt,
Arose to him, and witnessed and endured
His glory.

Now beneath the Lion's reign
The day star slowly went his long career
Lengthening the hours of light, and now he rode
High in his mid-way course, when on light wing
The Angel to the blessed Shepherdess
His heavenly bidding brought: 'with splendour crown'd
And clad in pomp and garmented with fire,
More rapid than the momentaneous flash
The thunder's harbinger, from sphere to sphere
He past; the astonished world beheld his fall,
And deem'd in terror that they saw the sun
Fall from the firmament.

So when the night Shrouds all things in her mantle, oftentimes We see a star detach itself from heaven Precipitate, furrowing the sky with fire.

He on the forest, where the maiden sat
In meditation, fell. The darkness fled
His radiance; not a tree or bough but beam'd
As tho' with gold; the blackest depths of shade
Shone forth illuminate. This broke her prayer,
She trembled, overpowered with violence

Of light her eyelids closed, and unknown thoughts
Troubled her heart. Then from the luminous globe,
That blazed around the Angel, came a voice,
Strange-toned and more than human, ravishing
Her ear, and penetrating to her soul.

[ocr errors]

“ Shepherdess! just and holy maid !" it said,
Calm thou thy trembling, dissipate thy fear.
“ I come the eternal King's ambassador
“ To announce thy future glory: by thine arm
“ Will Providence to the habitants of France
« Give life again; that therefore they may know
“ It is the hand of Heaven that rescues them,
“ I come to summon thee from these wild haunts.
“ Thine arm shall be the arm of the great God
« Of hosts; by thee shall England see her force
“ Consum'd, shall Orleans be relieved, and Rheims
« Behold the anointment of her King. Prepare
“ Thy courage for this marvellous enterprize.
“ The glory of the Highest One shall shine
“ Upon thy countenance, he shall animate
“ Thy valour, and shall make the English bite
« The dust in death."

The Maid to these high words
Opposed her feebleness, nor could nor would
To this so lofty promise yield belief.
Shrouding herself in her humility
She felt annihilate in the eye of God.

But the Angel saw her thoughts. “In vain" he cried,

“ Thus hesitates thy soul. God by my voice
« Commands thee, by my voice the God of battles
“ Bids three go forth and conquer.”

Thus he spake:
Then, shadow her with celestial fire,
Breath'd in the Maid the spirit of the Lord.
He placed the bolts of fury in her hand,
He made her eye dart terror, and infus'd
Full waves of grace into the Virgin's breast :
Made her disdain base actions, fill'd her soul
With thoughts of glorious enterprize, and gave
A foretaste of the blessed one's reward.

The day extinguish'd then, the desart place
Resum'd its wonted horrors. Silence dwelt
Over the wood again, and Quietness
And Peace resum'd their dwelling. She beheld
The desart even as usual, but she felt
Strange alteration inwards; in herself
Sought for herself, and found herself no more.
Her flock, her friends, her forest, and her springs,
Vain images henceforth! God-England-France,
Sieges and battles now fit themes alone
To fill her mind.

Thus inspired the Maid departs for Chinon with her brother Rodolfe. They travel in safety, shadowed by a cloud.

But in the mcan time the illustrious plan of perishing

« AnteriorContinuar »