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EDITH! I brought thee late a humble gift,
TO THE SECOND EDITION.
Since the first publication of this poem, it has undergone a long and laborious correction. Every thing miraculous is now omitted, and the reader who is acquainted with the former edition may judge by this circumstance the extent of the alterations. Some errors with regard to the costume of the time had escaped me: in this point the work is now, I trust, correct. The additional notes are numerous; they are inserted as authorities for the facts related in the text, and as explanatory to those readers who are not conversant with the ancient chronicles of this country; for we may be well read in Hume and Rapin, and yet know little of our ancestors. Whenever I have felt, or suspected
an idea not to be original, I have placed the passage underneath by which it was suggested. With respect to the occasional harshness of the versification, it must not be attributed to negligence or haste. I deem such variety essential in a long poem.
The history of Joan of Arc is one of those problems that render investigation fruitless. That she believed herself inspired, few will deny; that she was inspired, no one will venture to assert; and who can believe that she was herself imposed on by Charles and Dunois ? That she discovered the King when he disguised himself among the Courtiers to deceive her, and that, as a proof of her mission, she demanded a sword from a tomb in the church of St. Catha. rine, are facts in which all historians agree. If this had been done by collusion, the Maid must have known herself an impostor, and with that knowledge could not have performed the enterprize she undertook. Enthusiasm, and that of