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THE FOURTH BOOK.
The delivery of Orleans was soon known throughout France and excited a general joy among the people oppressed under a foreign yoke. Maria alone was afflicted, and deemed the Maid born for her misfortune as for the misfortune of the English.
Agnes alone could dispute the palm of beauty with Maria: the tresses divided in two equal torrents on her mild forehead, her curling locks floated loosely, and in the open prison of her eyelids two Suns centered their radiance. None without loving her could behold Maria, but Dunojs alone had inspired her with mutual affection. The orphaned niece of Burgundy she dwelt in Paris under his protection, and knew no joy but in secretly cherishing the love which he opposed.
Not far from Paris is a thick forest; it derives its name of Fontainebleau, from a fountain that rises there; the waters of that fountain do not seem waters, but liquid pearls mingled with dissolved diamonds and distilled sapphires; the Eye of the world never beholds itself so beautiful as in this sweet mirror. To a palace in this forest Burgundy had retired in disguist, and here
Maria is contemplating herself in the fountain, and studying looks of love, when her confidant Yolante brings the tidings that Orleans is delivered and Dunois safe.
But the joy of Maria soon ceases when she hears from Yolante that Dunois loves the Shepherdess who has preserved him. Instantly she faints; a faithful messenger confirms all her fears'; and after much sickness and many soliloquies, she assents to a proposal of Yolante: this faithful servant disguises herself as a man, and sets out for Orleans.
The Maid has left that city. She reaches Chinon and urges Charles to prepare new levies that he may speedily be crowned in Rheims. Alençon begs permission to combat under her banners, and departs with her.
In the mean time Yolante arrives at Orleans and meets Dunois. She tells him that Maria will not credit the report of his inconstancy : Dunois confesses it; She upbraids him and shows him the miniature which he had given Maria, in which he was painted bearing chains with the name of Marią on them. Suddenly transported he kisses the name but at that instant the Maid returns ; Dunois sees her, confesses that he is very criminal but that he cannot help it, and Yolante returns in despair, The Maid now excites her ariny to prosecute their
Dunois is jealous of Alençon, and at the
attack of Gergeau they emulously entreat her to permit them to scale the walls. She bids them wait till the ensuing morning. Suffolk and his brother Alexander make a vigorous defence. The Devils come again, and roll down a huge fragment of the wall upon the Maid, but her guardian Angel interposed and it shivered like glass upon her helmet. She enters the breach and routs the Devils and the English. Alençon is still opposed by Alexander, he kills him at length, but falls by his side and retains nothing of life except his lively grief for the death of Clerembauld his friend, who had died in a singular manner; an arrow was aimed at Alençon the maid suddenly called him away, and then told him it was because God had chosen that Clerembauld, not he, should perish by that arrow. The victory is compleat, Suffolk knights young Renaud and then yields himself his prisoner ; Dunois capture his brother De la Pole. They enter Gergeau in triumph, and send the prisoners and the wounded by water to Orleans..
THE FIFTH BOOK.
The Maid sends to inform the King of the capture of Gorgeau, and requests speedy reinforcements. Charles overwhelmed with joy makes all possible dispatch, and.
employed prayer as well as power. Soon he beheld the banks covered and the ways thronged with soldiers ; a thousand standards waved on the shores of the Vienne. At this amiable sight the king gave such signs of his ravishment as the young lover, who after long despairing and delay sees the preparations for his marriage, whilst his heart swims and drowns itself in a sea of inexpressible joys.
All the soldiers were eager as their Monarch for the war; all but Amaury, his low-born, ambitious, worthless favourite. He had banished Agnes, the mistress of Charles from the court because her influence lessened his; but now Gillon his father advises him to recall her, that she may counteract the power of the Maid. Roger, brother of Agnes, is dispatched to her with the tidings ; he sails down the Loire, reaches the palace where she dwells in melancholy solitude, finds her sitting under a dark rock, and tells her that Amaury has recalled her to court. What Roger! she replied, will he serve me against his own interests? It is his own interest makes him, answered Roger. Heaven to finish your misfortunes has raised up a beautiful Monster, an illustrious Rustic; her influence has crushed Amaury ; your beauty will destroy her power, and none will be so great as you.
Rise then o brilliant Sun from this profound night, and with thy flames again illuminate the
world! She ascends the bark, and the amorous Zephyr wafts her on her way. In the interim, Dunois and the holy Maid depart from Gergeau with their troops. Meun makes but little resistance; but the citadel of Baugency stood upon a high and inaccessible rock, and the garrison thought themselves secure. She bids the army raise a cavalier: in five days it was high enough to overtop the towers, and the English trembled. A band of warriors approach, led by Richemont, who to serve his country, forgets the injuries he has received from his King, and requests the Maid to mediate between them. Baugency now capitulates. The Devils themselves yield to this torrent of miracles.
The danger of Gergeau had alarmed the English, and Talbot, mustering all the force he could, marched to relieve it. On the way he learns its capture, and turns towards Baugency. A body of nine hundred soldiers meet him, he prepares to attack them, and discovers the garrison of Baugency. We must yield to the fortune of Dunois, said Talbot, we must suffer his glory to immolate our honour; and he marched to shelter himself in Jenville.
At Patay the Maid discovers them, but they strike into a forest; and Richemont and Dunois regret that their enemies have thus escaped them. Onward ! cried the Maid ; Talbot shall be my prey; Heaven will discover his traces.