Imágenes de páginas

menced a prosecution against her, which, whether unders taken from policy or revenge, stains with barbarity his accomplished character. As a prisoner of war, Joan was entitled to the courtesy of good usage, practised by civilized nations; and in her military capacity she never had been impeached of acting with treachery or cruelty. But her enemies were inexorable; and to disguise the source of their enmity, they prevailed on the Bishop of Beauvais to prostitute the sacred name of religion to the persecution ihey meditated. The Bishop pretended that Joan had been iaken in his diocese, and desired to have her tried by an ecclesiastical court for sorcery, impiety, idolatry, and magic; the university of Paris disgraced itself by joining the request. But Joan for a long time defended herself with becoming firmness: she ackpowledged her intention to expel the English, the invaders of her country; and replied, that she submitted her inspirations, which her judges urged as magical, to God, the fountain of truth. But she was already prejudged; her revelations were declared to be the invenijons of the devil to delude the people; and she was sentenced to be delivered over to the secular arm. It is with indignation the reader must peruse her fate: the Maid of Orleans was found guilty of heresy and witchcraft; and sentenced to be burnt alive, the then punishment for such offences. But, previous to the infliction of this dreadful sentence, they were resolved to make her abjure her former errors; and at length so far prevailed by terror and rigorops treatment, that her spirits were broken by the hard. ships she was to suffer. Her former visionary dreams began to vanish, and a 'gloomy distrust took place of her late inspirations. She publicly declared herself willing to recant, and promised never more to give way to the rain delusions which had hitherto misled her, and imposed on the people. This was what her oppressors desired ; and, willing to shew some appearance of mercy, they changed her sentence into perpetual imprisonnent, and to be fed during life on bread and water. But the rage of her enemies was not yet satiated. Suspecting that the female habit which she had consented to wear was disagreeable to her, they purposely placed in her apartment a suit of man's apparel, and watched for the effects of their temptation upon her. Their artifices prevailed. Joan, struck with the sight of a dress in which she had gained so much glory, inmediately threw off her penitent's robes, and put on the forbidden garment. Her enemies caught her equipped in this manner; and her imprudence was considered as a relapse into her former transgressions. No recantation would suffice, and no pardon would be granted. She was condemned to be burnt alive in the market-place of Rouen ; and this infamous sentence was executed with brutal severity, A. D. 1432. A mausoleum was afterwards erected to the memory of this woman, in the city of Orleans, which is described by Wraxall, in his Tour, as follows: " In the street leading from the bridge stands the celebrated monument where Charles VII. and Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans, are represented on their knees before the body of our Saviour, who lies extended on the lap of the Virgin. It was erected by order of that monarch in 1458, to perpetuate his victories over the English, and their expulsion from his dominions. All the figures are in iron. "The king appears bareheaded, and by him lies his helinet surrounded with a crown. Opposite to him is the Maid herself, in the same attitude of grateful devotion to heaven. It is a most precious and invaluable historical monument.

“ In the Hotel de Ville (continues Wraxall) is a portrait of the same immortal woman, which I studied long and attentively. Though it was not done till 1581, which was near 130 years after her decease, it is yet the oldest and best picture of her now existing. The painter seems undoubtedly to have drawn a faiteriug resemblance of her, and to have given his heroine imaginary charms. Her face, though long, is of exceeding beauty, heightened by an expression of intelligence and grandeur rarely united. Her hair falls loosely down her back, and she wears on her head A sort of bonnet enriched with pearls, and shaded with white plames, tied under her chin with a string. About her neck is a little collar, and lower down, upon her bosom, a necklace composed of small links. Her dress, which is that of a woman, I find it difficult exactly to describe. It sits close to the body, and is cut or slashed at the arms and elbows. Round her waist is an embroidered girdle, and in her right hand she holds the sword with which she expelled the enemies of her sovereign and her country. I am not surprised at the animated and enthusiastic attachment which the French still cherish for her memory. The critical and desperate emergency in which she appeared'; her sex, youth, and even the obscurity of her birth; the unparalJeled success which crowned her enterprise; the cruel and detestable sentence by which she was put to death; the air of the marvellous spread over the whole narration, increased and strengthened by that veneration which-time affixes to every great event; all these united causes conspire to place hér above mortality. Rome and Athens would undoubtedly have ranked her among their tutelary deities, and have erected temples to her honour; nor can I help being amazed, that, amidst the almost infinite number of modern saints who crowd and disgrace the French churches, no altar was ever' erected to the Maid of Orleans."



FLORINDA is no beauty; nay, in the vulgar eye, she is just the reverse; but she has every mental grace in perfection, and beauties of the mind seldom fail to diffuse beauties-indefinable beauties over the person. Florinda has none of those charms that constitute personal excellence -her cheek is pallid-her eye not brilliant; but when the latter beams benevolence, or sparkles with mirth-when the former is suffused with the captivating blush of modesty, or vermilioned with the glow of the tender passion, there are none more pleasing.

Nothing is more natural than for distress to compand attention and excite the tributary tear. In general, this attention has few attractions—there is little in the tear to admire. But when Florinda listens to the tale of the mourner, her passions rise and fall in such perfect unison with those of the narrator, that were you to trust the evidence of sight alone, it would be difficult for you to determine, whose grief was the greater of the two. When her eye glistens with pity, and her cheek burns with indignation, she has a manner so irresistibly attractive, so peculi. arly her own, that admiration follows it as naturally as an effect does its cause.

Her face is a never-failing index to her heart; and whatever feeling she means to indulge, is sure to afford previous intimation of it. The smile of complacency quivers on her lip, and a certain pleasing archgess is seen in her eyes, that eludes description. She often lets fly the pointed arrows of her harmless wit; and even where they are directed, they coinmonly extort applause. The lines,

" Curs'd be the verse, how well soe'er it flow,

Which tends to make one worthy man my fue,". she often repeats delighted; and rather than give even the shadow of offence to any well-meaning person, would forego (hard task for a female !) every opportunity of being admired.

Her ear is ever open to the prayer of the unfortunate, and ever closed to the suggestions of calumny; her feet are ever winged to visit the afflicted; her tongue is ever prompt to administer the vivifying balm of consolation ; and her hand " open as day, to distribute charity to the poor and needy.' Such is Florinda! There are many who possess more of "the outward and visible siga” of personal beauty, but in true “inward and spiritual grace” she has few rivals ; her failings are concealed, as they are the errors of humanity in general, while her virtues are made known to excite universal imitation.


THE common, overgrown with fern, and rough
With prickly gorse, that, shapeless and deform’d,
And dang'rous to the touch, has yet its bloom,
And decks itself with ornainents of gold,
Yields no unpleasing ramble; there the turf
Smells fresh, and rich, in odorif 'rous herbs
And fungous fruits of earth, regales the sense
With luxury of unsuspected sweets.

There often wanders one, whom better days
Saw better clad, in cloak of sattin trimm'd
With lace, and hat with splendid ribband bound.
A serving maid was she, and fell in love
With one who left her, went to sea, and died.
Her fancy follow'd him through foaming waves
To distant shores; and she would sit and weep
At what a sailor suffers ; fancy, too,
Delusive most where warmest wishes are,
Would oft anticipate his glad return,
And dream of transports she was not to know.
She heard the doleful tidings of his death,
And never smild again! and now she roams

The dreary waste; there spends the livelong day,
And there, unless when charity forbids,
The livelong night. A tatter'd apron hides,
Worn as a cloak, and hardly hides, a gown
More tatter'd still ; and both but ill conceal
A bosom-heav'd with never ceasing sighs.
She begs an idle pin of all she meets,
And hoards them in her sleeve; but needful food,
Though press'd with hunger oft, or comelier clothes,
Though pinch'd with cold, asks never.-Kate is craz'd.



SLOW broke the light, and sweet breath'd the morn, When a maiden I saw sitting under a thorn; Her dark hair hung loose on her bare neck of snow, Her eyes look'd bewilder'd, her cheek pale with woe: “Ah! whence is thy sorrow? sweet maiden," said I, " The green grave will answer,” she said, with a sigh. The merry lark so sweetly did sing o'er her head; But she thought on her grief, and the battle,” she said.

The breeze murmur'd by, when she look'd up forlorn, “ Hark! hark ! didst thou hear, 'twas the sigh of the morn. They say that in battle my love met his death, But ah ! 'twas this hawthorn that robb'd his sweet breath. Come here, gentle robin, live safe from the storm, In my bosom now sit; there my true love lies warın. Ah, robin! be constant; my true love was brave; Sweet robin shall sit and sing over his grave."

« AnteriorContinuar »