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They cross the Loire, and see an immense stag, who wears a collar of silver, spotted with fleur de lys of gold. The wife of the first Valois had taken this stag when a fawn; she had preserved and fed him; and whether by instine, or some knowledge, by a hundred different and evident signs, he used to foretel the events of her life. Restored to freedom, he had now lived in the forests for an age, and never appeared, but to omen something important to the house of Valois.
Heaven has sent him, cried the Maid, follow! and he will lead us to the enemy.
The stag ran on through the forest. Richemont, Dunois, and the Maid follow with ardor, but unequal pace, and they soon lose him in the intricacies of the wood. Suddenly they hear a thousand clamours; they hasten towards the sound, and discover the stag routing the English army. Heaven demands its victims, exclaimed the Maid. Frenchmen! let us destroy the rebels, and let a Stag to-day lead on Lions.
Talbot forms his men into a phalanx and desperately resists. Many of the French fall; among others Karadreux, who to his lightning attack joined a voice of thunder, with one blow lost both his life and voice. But the Maid grapples with Talbot and takes him pri
The French now exercise upon their enemies all that unbridled fury could inspire; their fate was
inhuman, but fit for tyrants. Fastolffe escapes to Corbeil. The Maid rests in Jenville. To this place Talbot is following slowly, indignant at his fate. It is night, Lyonel, brave son of this brave father, who has just returned from England, falls upon the guard and delivers him, and they hasten together to Paris,
THE SIXTH BOOK.
During these transactions the King with a new raised army begins his march. On the seventh day they reach Meun. The Holy Maid goes to meet Charles at the news of his approach. It was evening when they met, but the Maid came forth from a forest and like the rising sun with radiant fire dazzled their eyes. I fear, said Charles, that you have left no victories for us; the greatness
your benefits has injured us, and we can gain no glory from the English. Great Prince, replied the generous Holy One, you conceive without cause this beautiful fear. I have done but little ; what remains is of importance, the crown usurped by the English is worthier of your soyal sword; you shall subdue Rheims, and by your arm shall Paris be preserved. Animated by this reply Charles instantly ordered the drums to beat a march ; but the Maid prevented this; repress a little great King! cried
she, the fire of thy courage ; we must before we depart see thy vast camp pass by standard after standard. So they determined to have a review the following morning.
Just as the review is finished they behold a barge sailing up the Loire ; its shape was strange and fearful. The workman had given it the form of an enormous dragon ; he disguised the rudder in a tail, the head made the prow, the oars were the feet, and the sails two expanded wings of crimson ; the body was covered with scales of a reddish brown. The dragon moved to shore, and the astonished camp beheld a countenance of divine beauty rise from its hideous womb, for Agnes landed.
Like Venus, with Roger dressed like Cupid by her side, Agnes approached the King. Charles felt his reason troubled, and Amaury hopes his plans will be successful. Monarch of France, she said, in this your noble enterprize accept of my arm and my courage. I am a woman it is true, but in this happy period women are warriors, and it shames me that this holy Shepherdess, not I, should have relieved you from your distresses. Amaury saw the yielding heart of Charles. God wills it, he exclaimed, and proves by this second miracle that this sex is the blessing of France.
But the holy Maid abhorred their artifice. Abuse not the Sun of Justice, she cried, take not the name of the Almighty in vain. Charles be
contented with the divine grace. This succour which they offer thee is a deadly succour, it will be thy ruin, not thy support. Heaven commands thee, and if thou despisest heaven, what evils will ensue! Thou Beauty deadly to all, deadly even to thyself, remove from this camp thine agreeable pest, return with thy sweet enchantments to thy solitude, and dread the secret judgments of an avenging God.
As she spake the redness of fire shone upon her countenance, a glory diffused itself around her, her voice thundered, and all who heard her were struck with fear. Charles and Amaury were silent, the imperions Agnes was confounded, and filled with shame and
anger, she reascended her bark.
The implacable enemy of the Lord had long been envious of his thunder, and attempted an hundred times in vain to make something like it. One day, as he was revolving a thousand plans for rendering England successful in this war, a dreadful instrument suggested itself, and he cast a cannon. He made the blackest of all his devils make gunpowder, and sent a Fury with it to Bedford in the disguise of a Saxon. With this new thunder the English were every where victorious; but when Heaven delivered France, these fatal instruments were captured by the Maid.
The holy Warrior perceived that the presence of Agnes had made a deep impression on the King, and to divert these thoughts she led him where an hundred cannon were reserved for his orders. Is it possible, cried he, that Bedford should have failed with arms like these ? He has failed, the Maid answered, and thy faithful people have foiled him ; but of all thy subjects the valour of Richemont has merited most from France. In his cause o King! I intreat thy justice. Thus she reconciles Charles and Richemont.
The troops retire to rest ; Charles retires to his tent and there thinking of Agnes feels the deepness of his incurable wound: he and Amaury look at each other awhile, speaking with their eyes. The King then lays down agitated with passion, but before morning the divine grace stifled this flame. He rises and prays to God for protection ; thrice he repeats the prayer, and then fixes his eyes upon the Eastern sky still dark.
The Archangel who by providence is appointed the guardian of France, descends from the highest sphere to the lowest regions. He fixed the restless air, and formed of it figure, hollow within, firm without, he gave to it the image of France and enclosed himself within it; Charles, as he contemplated the heavens, beheld this animated Colossus appear from the midst of a fiery cloud, It had the semblance of an ancient Princess, whose