Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

“The bridge-and now they rush upon the troops: “A gallant onset ! Dost thou mark that man " Who all the day has by our side endur'd “ The hottest conflict? I did then behold

“ His force, and wonder: now his deeds of death
“ Make all the actions of the former fight
“ Seem as of no account: know'st thou the man?
“ There is not one amid the host of France,
“Of fairer promise."

“He," the Chief replied, “ Wretched and prodigal of life atchieves .“ The exploits of Despair : a gallant youth “ Widowed like me of Hope, and but for whom, “I had been seen among mankind no more. “ Maiden! with me thy comrade in the war, “ His arm is vowed to Heaven. Lo! where he stands “ Bearing the battle's brunt in unmoved strength, “ Firm as the mountain round whose misty head, “The unharming tempest breaks !"

Nor paus'd they now

In farther converse, to the perilous fray
Speeding, not unobserved ; them Salisbury saw
And call'd on Talbot. Six, the bravest Knights
And vow'd with them against the Virgin's life,
Bent their fierce course. She by that unknown man
Now urged the war, when on her plumed helm
The hostile falchion fell. On high she lifts
Her hallowed sword, the tenant of the tomb,
And drench'd it in his bosom. On the front
Of one, his comrade, fell the battle axe

him the dark-brow'd Chief; the ponderous blow
Shattered his brain. With Talbot's giant force
The daring Herald urged unequal fight;
For like some oak that firm with deep-fix'd roots
Mocks at the storm, the undaunted Earl endur'd
His rude assault. Warding with wary eye
The angry sword, the Frank around his foe
Wheels rapid, flashing his keen weapon fast;
Now as he marks the Earl's descending stroke
Bending, anon more fierce in swift attack.

Ill-fated man ! one deed of glory more
Shall with the short-lived lightning's splendor grace
This thy death-day; for SLAUGHTER even now
Stands o'er the loom of life, and lifts his sword.

Upon her shield the martial Maiden bore
An English warrior's blow, and in his side
Pierced him : that instant Salisbury speeds his sword
That glancing from her helm fell on the folds
That arm'd her neck, and making there its way,
Stain'd with her blood its edge. The Herald saw,
He saw her red blood gushing from the wound,
And turn'd from Talbot heedless of himself,
And lifting up his falchion, all his force
Concenter'd. On the breast of Salisbury
It fell, and pierced his mail, and thro' the plate
Beneath drove fierce, and in his heart's-blood plunged.
Lo! as he struck the strengtb of Talbot came :
Full on his treacherous helm he smote : it burst,
And the stern Earl against his fenceless head

Drives with strong arm the murderous sword. She saw, Nor could the maiden save her Theodore.

Conrade beheld, and from his vanquish'd foe
Strode terrible in vengeance. Front to front
They stood, and each for the death-blow prepar'd
His angry might. At once their weapons fell,
The Frank's huge battle-axe, and the keen sword
Of Talbot. He, stunn'd by the weighty blow,
Sunk senseless; by his followers from the field
Conveyed with fearful speed : nor did his stroke
Fall vainly on the Frenchman's crested helm,
Tho' weak to wound, for from his eyes the fire
Sparkled, and back recoiling with the blow,
He in the Maiden's arms astounded fell.

But now their troops all captainless confusd,
Fear seized the English. Not with more dismay
When over wild Caffraria's wooded hills,
Echoes the lion's roar, the timid herd

Fly the death-boding sound. The forts they seek,
Now reckless which, so from that battle's rage
A present refuge. On their flying ranks
The victors press, and mark their course with blood.

a

But loud the trumpet of retreat resounds,
For now the westering sun with many

hue Streak'd the

gay
clouds.

“Dunois !" the Maiden cried, “ Form we around yon stronger pile the siege, “ There for the night encamping." So she said. The Chief to Orleans for their needful food, And enginery to batter that huge pile, Dismiss'd a troop, and round the Tournelles led The host beleagering. There they pitch their tents, And plant their engines for the morrow's war, Then to their meal, and o'er the chearful bowl, Recount the tale of danger ; soon to rest Betaking them, for now the night drew on,

« AnteriorContinuar »