« AnteriorContinuar »
it. My sad heart could not believe the holy Maid had been deluded. I addressed myself to heaven and vainly and unceasingly consumed three days in prayer. Heaven seemed to be of brass and deaf to my cries. At last a sound of trumpets was heard, the earth opened, and amidst a thousand flames I beheld the Sword. Thc Maid wields its prodigious weight with ease. She calls on Heaven to favour her. A gentle tempest murmurs round her head and the harmless lightning falls on her.
The messenger returns, and relates with what insolence the English had received her letter. She gives the signal to march. Charles would have accompanied her, but she bids him remain till his presence is necessary. On the seventh morning they arrive in sight of Orleans. They attack the English ; the Maid fights at their head; she is surrounded, and calls for the aid of heaven.
Towards the celestial house of the Virgin, a sparkling star rises in the form of a pyramid; in this, the most intense of fires, is the Arsenal of God. Here are his thunderbolts ; here his three scourges, war, pestilence, and famine; here too is the shield which protects France and a thousand similar to it, like so many suns. God sends a thousand Angels to take these and defend the Maid. Bedford rallies the English. An Angel whispers to Burgundy that this is the moment to revenge bimself, and he with his troops abandons the field.
Bedford blasphemes. Dunois sallies out, overthrows Glacidas and compleats the victory. Wondering what Hero has performed such exploits, Dunois hastens to meet the Maid. As the Moon after an eclipse comes forth in her brightness and makes the Sun ashamed, the Maid appeared. She had raised her beaver. Her luminous front shot forth more splendour, a vermil flame shone upon her cheeks, the sweat ran down in pearls. Her vagabond tresses formed a thousand waves on the wind, illustriously sullied with dust. Dunois deems her an Angel.
God beheld her from his azure throne. With a speaking glance which they who see hear, he explained his will to the chief of the Seraphim, that all the French warriors, but especially Dunois, should centre all their loves in the Maid. The Angel makes her dart a pure and holy fire which chaces away every other flame, and all the French warriors, but especially Dunois, fall in love with the Maid.
They proceed towards the city, and behold their vessels with the provisions repelled by a contrary wind and attacked by the English vessels. The maid prays, the wind changes, the convoy sails up in safety. She enters Orleans in triumph, and goes immediately to the Church in military pomp. Here she intreats God to destroy the English. A subterranean thunder shakes the
temple, the altar scatters round a glory, a voice is heard. pronouncing THE ENGLISH SHALL BE DESTROYED, and the Angel of the Lord blows his trumpet thrice.
Impatient for action, the Maid ascends a tower from whence Dunois shows her the English forts and tells her who commands them. Here he would declare his. passion, but his voice fails him. She prophecies that on the second day the plain below them shall be delivered from the enemy, and retires to a Convent of Nuns for the night. Dunois prepares all things for the attack. He feels his love for Maria gone, soliloquizes upon his fickleness, and lies awake all night.
THE THIRD BOOK.
The Warrior Maid arose with - Aurora, and the splendour which diffused itself from their countenances made it doubtful which of them brought back the day. Dunois came to present to her the truncheon of command. I, said he, will march under your amiable orders as your soldier, your lover he would have said, but the sight of the Holy one froze up his speech. She takes the military sceptre, arranges the troops in twenty battalions and leads them to attack the forts. The English repulse them in the escalade, but retreat from the Maid
and Dunois, as the Rhinoceros, who with his horn imprisons elephants and dragons in their dens, hides himself from the Lion. After capturing two forts, the French sleep on the field of battle, and in the morning attack the Tournelles. Bedford here makes a vigorous resistance, Dunois is wounded, her comrades fall around the Maid, her brother bleeding in every limb still fights, and she still urges the assault unterrified and unharmed.
But the Devil saw all this. He hated France because she had conquered the Huns and the Saracens and the Lombards and the Saxons, and brought back the Albigenses to the Church; and he had a very great regard for the English, foreseeing the heresy of that real monster Henry VIII. At the moment when the Maid had gained the summit of the wall, came a reinforcement from the Devil; Bedford felt their arrival, he hurled his javelin, they strengthened his arm, and the weapon wounds the Maid in the neck, She encourages her soldiers, and setires to the Surgeon, he finds the bone is broken and entreats her to retire to rest. She refuses. Dunois hears of her wound; love conquers duty and he quits his post to visit her, but as he is on the way duty conquers love and he returns back again,
But God beheld the Maid. He bids an Angel gather a plant of healing virtue in the gardens of the Stars, the Angel presses its juice into her
wound, instantly she is healed, and flies to the assault. The Angel returns to God and tells him that the fallen Spirits are assisting the English. God sees the danger, and sends a band of Angels to chace them away. A dreadful combat ensues. The guardian spirit of the Maid purges her eyes, and she beholds St. Agnan and St. Euvert, the tutelary Saints of Orleans, assisting in the attack.
Between Heaven and Earth where Thunder reigns, dwells Terror, who with her hundred cold hands freezes the hearts of men, Her body and her wings are covered with mouths incessantly open and clamorous. She comes to aid the French, and the defeat of the English becomes inevitable; in vain Talbot and Glacidas attempt to encourage them, they crowd over the bridge to escape, the bridge breaks under them, a thousand Englishmen perish in the fall, Glacidas himself is drowned, Talbot alone escapes by swimming. The French
their enemies, and the Maid presses upon Bedford, when the Devils cause a sudden darkness to save him ; she penetrates through this, but then the true Night succeeds to the false one, and she orders
An hundred fires of joy are kindled ; they pile up a trophy and she harangues the troops. They bury the dead. The Mayor of Orleans in the name of the people speaks an address of thanks to the Maid. She quarters the troops in the forts, and retires at length to rest,