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And all these feats they notified to the king. Charles VII., surnamed the Victorious, succeeded his father, Charles VI., at the age of twenty, in the year 1422, and was crowned at Poictiers, whither he had removed his parliament, on the 6th November in the same year. The commencement of this king's reign was characterized by troubles and disorders fomented by Henry VI. of England, who was proclaimed king of France at Paris. Charles was a weak prince, formed to be governed by his mistresses and ministers; but the former were possessed of. virtues, and the latter by no means deficient in talents. In 1428, the siege of Orleans was raised by the English, owing to the enthusiasm produced in the French army by the intrepid and glorious deeds of Jeanne d'Arc, surnamed the Maid of Orleans, and who ultimately con. ducted the king to Rheims, where he was crowned by the hands of the archbishop of Chartres. During the conflicts which succeeded, the English were almost uniformly discomfited, so that before the expiration of 1451 they were compelled to abandon France, retaining Calais only in their possession. Charles was espoused to Mary, daughter of Louis, the second duke of Anjou, by whom he had eleven children, four sons and seven daughters, of whom two sons only survived him, namely, Louis and Charles ; he had also three illegitimate children, according to Mezeray. In 1461, Charles died at Meun, in the province of Berry, in the sixtieth year of his age and the fortieth of his reign, having abstained from taking nourishment, under the apprehension of being poisoned,
through the machinations of his son, the dauphin, afterwards Louis XI.
Page 33. And forthwith she spake there, and bowed
herself with reverence, &c. Jeanne d'Arc was presented to the king by the count de Vendôme, and without hesitation recognized the monarch at first sight, although there was nothing particular in his attire, or exterior appearance, and he was indiscriminately mingled with the crowd; she immediately made a profound reverence, and thus addressed him : “ Gentil Dauphin, j'ai nom Jeanne la Pucelle, et vous mande le Roi des cieux, par moi, que vous serez sacré et couronné à Rheims ; vous serez le lieutenant du Roi des cieux qui est Roi de France."
“ Gentil Dauphin, I am named Jeanne la Pucelle, and the King of heaven informs you, through me, that you shall be consecrated and crowned at Rheims; you shall be lieutenant of the King of heaven, who is King of France."
Charles, removing from those that surrounded him, conversed with Jeanne in their presence, but without being overheard; which conference lasted for some time, and all the courtiers perceived that a degree of satisfaction was legibly depicted on the countenance of their sovereign during this parley; who afterwards declared to several personages, that a revelation which she had made to him, of a secret known only to himself, gavė birth to the confidence with which she inspired him.
We are also informed from history, that prior to the arrival of Jeanne d'Arc at Chinon, it had been predicted
to the king, that his realm as well as himself should be greatly afflicted, but that a young maiden would present herself, by whom their deliverance would be accomplished.-See Gerson, Pasquier, Hordal, Dupleix,fc.
And to the above may be added, the English prophecies of Merlin, who is said to have foretold that we should be banished by a maid from France. Hist. et Antiq. de la Ville d'Orleans, par F. le Mair, 1648. fol. 187.
Before definitively employing Jeanne, Charles was determined to put her to the last proof; he was desirous of ascertaining, if the purity of her conduct had always answered to appearances ; wherefore she was confided to the care of the queen of Sicily, his mother-in-law, and to the ladies of her suite. She was then visited in secret by proper medical personages, after which a report was made to the king by her Sicilian majesty, in presence of Daulon, and many other individuals, purporting, that she was “ entière et vraie pucelle ;" entirely and in every respect a virgin. Daulon, afterwards seneschal de Beaucaire, and whom the duke d'Alençon represented as the most upright knight of his court, had the charge of superintending the conduct and preservation of the Pucelle. It was the secret so revealed by Jeanne to the monarch which afterwards prompted him to erect, in 1458, the bronze effigies of the Virgin with the dead Christ on her lap, together with himself and the Pucelle kneeling, which were placed upon the ancient bridge at Orleans.
Holinshed, describing this introduction of the Pucelle, thus expresses himself:.“ In time of this siege at Orleance (French stories saie) the first weeke of March 1428, unto Charles the dolphin, at Chinon as he was in verie great care and studie how to wrestle against the English nation, by one Peter Badricourt capteine of Vaucouleur, (made after marshall of France by the dolphin's creation) was caried a young wench of an eighteene yeeres old, called Jone Arc, by name of hir father (a sorie sheepheard) James of Arc, and Isabell hir mother, brought up poorlie in their trade of keeping cattell, borne at Domprin (therefore reported by Bale, Jone Domprin) upon Meuse in Loraine within the diocesse of Thoule. Of favour was she counted likesome, of person stronglie made and manlie, of courage great, hardie, and stout withall, an understander of counsels though she were not at them, great semblance of chastitie both of bodie and behaviour, the name of Jesus in hir mouth about all hir businesses, humble, obedient, and fasting diverse daies in the weeke. A person (as their bookes make hir) raised up by power divine, onlie for succour to the French estate then deeplie in distresse, in whome, for planting a credit the rather, first the companie that toward the dolphin did conduct hir, through places all dangerous, as holden by the English, where she never was afore, all the waie and by nightertale safelie did she lead : then at the dolphin's sending by hir assignement, from Saint Katharin's church of Fierbois in Touraine (where she never had beene and knew not) in a secret place there among old iron, appointed she her sword to be sought out and brought hir, that with five floure delices was graven on both sides, wherewith she fought and did many slaughters by hir owne hands. On warfar rode she in armour cap a pie
and mustered as a man, before her an ensigne all white, wherin was Jesus Christ painted with a floure delice in his hand.
“ Unto the dolphin into his gallerie when first she was brought, and he shadowing himselfe behind, setting other gaie lords before him to trie hir cunning from all the companie, with a salutation (that indeed marz all the matter) she pickt him out alone, who thereupon had hir to the end of the gallerie, where she held him an houre in secret and private talke, that of his privie chamber was thought verie long, and therefore would have broken it off; but he made them a signe to let hir saie on. In which (among other) as likelie it was, she set out unto him the singular feats (forsooth) given hir to understand by revelation divine, that in virtue of that sword she should atchive, which were, how with honor and victorie shee would raise the siege at Orleance, set him in state of the crowne of France, and drive the English out the countrie, thereby he to inioie the kingdome alone. Heereupon he, hartened at full, appointed bir a sufficient armie with absolute power to lead them, and they obedientlie to doo as she bad them. Then fell she to worke, and first defeated indeed the siege at Orleance, by and by encouraged him to crowne himselfe king of France at Rheims, that a little before from the English she had woone. Thus after pursued she manie bold enterprises to our great displeasure a two yeare togither, for the time she kept in state untill she were taken and for heresie and witcherie burned; as in particularities hereafter followeth. But in hir prime time she, armed at all points (like a jolie capteine) roade from Poictiers to