The floor with many a monumental stone
G'erspread, and brass-en sculptur'd effigy
Of holy abbots honoured in their day,
Now to the grave gone down. The branching arms
Of many a ponderous pillar met aloft,
Wreath'd on the roof emboss'd. The windows gleam' d
Awful and dim their many-colour'd light,
Thro' the rich robes of Eremites and Saints,
Trees, mountains, castles, ships, sun, moon, and stars,
Splendid confusion ! the pure wave beneath
Reflects and trembles in the purpling beam.
On the altar burns that mystic lamp whose flame
May not be quenched.
Circling round the vase
They bow the knee, uttering the half-heard prayer ;
Mysterious power communicating thus
To the hallowed water, deem'd a mightier spell
O'er the fierce fiends of Satan's fallen crew,
Than e'er the hell-hags taught in Thessaly,
Or they who sitting on the rifled grave,
Dim seen by the blue tomb-fire's lurid light.
Partake the Vampire's banquet..
The Maid is summon'd. Round the holy vase
Mark'd with the mystic tonsure and enrob'd
In sacred vests, a venerable train,
They stand. The delegated Maid obeys
Their summons. As she came, a loveliest blush.
O'er her fair cheek surTus'd, such as became
One mindful still of maiden modesty,
Tho' of her own worth conscious. Thro' the aisle
The cold wind moaning as it pass'd along
Waved her dark flowing locks. Before the train
In reverend silence waiting their sage will,
With half-averted eye she 3tood compos'd.
So have I seen the simple snow-drop rise
Amid the russet leaves that hide the earth
In early spring, so seen its gentle bend
Of modest loveliness amid the waste
By the Maiden's side
The Son of Orleans stood, prepared to vouch
That when on Charles the Maiden's eye had fix'd^
As led by power miraculous, no frauds
No juggling artifice of secret sign
Dissembled inspiration. As he stood
Steadily viewing the mysterious rites,
Thus to the attentive Maid the Arch-Priest spake
<e Woman, if any fiend of hell
u Lurk in thy bosom, so to prompt the vaunt
" Of inspiration, and to mock the power
u Of God and holy church, thus by the virtue
e( Of water hallowed in the name of God
i( That damned spirit adjure I to depart
" From his possessed prey."
Slowly he spake
And sprinkled water on the virgin's face :
Indignant at the unworthy charge the Maid
Felt her cheek flush, but soon, the transient glow
Fading, she answer'd meek.
" Most holy Sires,
u Ye reverend Fathers of the Christian church,
u Most catholic ! before your view I stand
* A poor weak woman. Of the grace vouchsafed,
rr How far unworthy, conscious : yet tho' mean,
4t Guiltless of fraud, and chosen by highest heaven
Â° The minister of aid. Strange voices heard,
u The dark and shadowing visions of the night,.
u And feelings that I may not dare to doubt,
<l These portents make me conscious of the God
u Within me -, he who gifted my purged eye
u To know the Monarch 'mid the menial throng,
f< Unseen before. Thus much it boots to say.
u The life of simple virgin ill deserves
" To call your minds from studies wise and deep,
1 ' Not to be fathom'd by the weaker sense
" Of man profane."
" Thou speakest/ said the Priest,
tâ‚¬ Of dark and shadowing visions of the night.
u Canst thou remember Maid ! what vision first
" Seem'd more than Fancy's shaping ? from such tale,
" Minutely told with accurate circumstance,
" Best judgement might be formed."
The Maid replied,
u Amid the mountain vallies I had driven
" My father's flock. The eve was drawing on,
f( When by the sudden storm surpriz'd, I sought
Â« A chapel's neighbouring shelter 3 ruin'd * nowâ€ž
" But I remember when its vesper bell
<c Was heard among the hills, a pleasant sound,
'* That made me pause upon my homeward road,
< c Awaking in me comfortable thoughts
" Of holiness. The unsparing soldiery
w Had sack'd the hamlet near, and none was left
" Duly at sacred seasons to attend
" St. Agnes' chapel. In the desolate pile
" I drove my flock, with no irreverent thoughts,.
* Hanc virginem contigit pascendo pecora in sacello quo*
dam vilissimo, ad declinandam pluviam obdormire; quo in
tempore visa est se in somnis a Deo, qui se illi ostenderat, ad-
Jacobus Phitippus Bergomensis de claris mulieribus.
Joanna Gallica Puella, dum oves pascit, tempcstate coacta in
proximum sacellum confugit, ibi obdormiens liberandae Galliae
mandatum divinitus accepit.
lleroina" nobilissimcE Joanna Dare Lolhering<tr vulgo Aurelh-
nensis Puella historia. Author e Joanne Hordal ser : duels
Lotharinga consiliario. Ponti-Mussi, 1612*
*â€¢ Nor mindless that the place on which I trod
" Was holy ground. It was a fearful night !
" Devoutly to the virgin Saint I pray'd,
" Then heap'd the withered leaves that the autumn wind
" Had drifted in, and laid me down upon them,
u And sure I think I slept. Bat so it was
" That, in the dead of night, Saint * Agnes stood
* Insanus judex earn nudam ad lupanar pertrahi jussit. At.
ubi beata virgo vestibus exuta est, statim crine soluto, tantam
capillis densitatem ejus divina gratia concessit, ut melius illo-
rum fimbriis, quam vestibus tecta videratur. Introgressa qui*
dem Agnes turpitudinis locum, Angelum Domini pneparatum
invenit: earn mox tanto lumine perfudit, ut prae magnitudinc
splendoris, a nemine conspici posset.
The exclamation of St. Agnes at the stake ought to be pre-
served " Then Agnes in the midst of the flames, stretching
out her hands, prayed unto the Lord, saying, " I bless thee O
Almighty Father! who permittest me to come unto thee fear-
less even in the flames. For behold! what I have believed, I
see > what I have hoped, I possess ; what I have desired, I cm-
brace with my hands. Therefore I confess thee with my lips,
I desire thee with my heart, with my inmost entrails ; I come
to thee, the living and the true God! (i Benedico te pates
*' Before mine eyes, such and so beautiful
" As when, amid the house of wickedness,
' ' The Power whom with such fervent love she served
u Veiled her with glory. And she seem'd to point
" To the moss-grown altar, and the crucifix
" Half hid by weeds and grass 5 â€” and then I thought
" I could have withered armies with a look,
u For from the present Saint such divine power
" I felt .infused. â€” 'Twas but a dream perhaps.
" And yet methought that when a louder peal
" Burst o'er the roof, and all was left again
u Utterly dark, the bodily sense was clear
omnipotens,qui etiam per flammas, intreptdam me ad te venire
permittis. Ecce quod credidi jam video, quod speravi jam
teneo, quod concupivi manibus jam complector. Te igitur
labiis confiteor, te corde, te totis visceribus concupisco. Ecce
ad te venio vivum et verum deum.
Jacobus Philip-pus Bergomensis.
St. Agnes, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret, were the Saints
more particularly reverenced by the Maid of Orleans.
u And accurate in every circumstance
u Of time and place/'
Attentive to her words
Thus the Priest answered.
u Brethren ye have heard
* The woman's tale. Beseems us now to ask
â‚¬ Whether of holy Church a duteous child
( Before our court appears, so not unlike
1 Heaven might vouchsafe its gracious miracle \
' Or silly heretic whose erring thoughts,
1 Monstrous and vain, perchance might stray beyond
( All reason, and conceit strange dreams and signs
Â« Impossible. Say, woman, from thy youth
f Hast thou, as rightly mother church demands,
< Confess'd to the holy Priest each secret sin,
9 That by the grace vouchsafed to him from Heaven,
1 He might absolve thee ?
tl Father," she replied,
* The forms of worship in mine earlier years
' Waked my young mind to artificial awe,
* And made me fear my God . Warm with the glow
u Of health and exercise, whene'er I pass'd
w The threshold of the house of prayer, I felt
" A cold damp chill me, I beheld the flame
u That with a pale and feeble glimmering
" Dimm T d the noon-light, I heard the solemn mass,
u And with strange feelings and mysterious dread
u Telling my beads, gave to the mystic prayers
i( Devoutest meaning. Often when I saw
rc The pictur'd flames writhe round a penanced soul,.
<c Have I retired, and knelt before the cross
M And wept for grace, and trembled and believed
" A God of Terrors. But in riper years,
" When as my soul grew strong in solitude,
u I saw the eternal energy pervade
< r The boundless range of nature, w T ith the sun
H Pour life and radiance from his flamy path,
** And on the lowliest flowret of the field
<< The kindly dew-drops shed. And then I felt
" That he who form'd this goodly frame of things.
K< Must needs be good, and with a Father's name
4t I call'd on him, and from my burthen'd heart
" Pour'd out the yearnings of unmingled love.
" Methinks it is not strange then, that I fled -
" The house of prayer, and made the lonely grove
" My temple, at the foot of some old oak
" Watching the little tribes that had their world
<e Within its mossy bark $ or laid me down
" Beside the rivulet whose murmuring
" Was silence * to my soul, and mark'd the swarm
" Whose light-edged shadows on the bedded sand
<e Mirror* d their mazy sports ; the insect hum,
" The flow of waters, and the song of birds
" Making a holy music to mine ear :
" Oh ! was it strange, if for such scenes as these
* r Such deep devoutness, such intense delight
* Thro* the scene are faintly heard
Sounds that are silence to the mind.
* Of quiet adoration, I forsook *
" The house of worship ? strange that when I felt
u That God had made my Spirit quick to feel
u And love whatever was beautiful and good,
" And from ought evil and deform'd to shrink
u Even as with instinct ; father ! was it strange.
u That in my heart I had no thought of sin
" And did not need forgiveness ?"
As she spake
The Doctors stood astonish'd, and some while
They listen'd still in wonder. But at length
A Priest replied,
tc Woman thou seemst to scorn
u The ordinances of the holy Church,
" And, if I rightly understand thy words,
u Thou sayest that Solitude and Nature taught
" Thy feelings of religion, and that now
* r Masses and absolutions and the use
Mâ‚¬ Of mystic wafer, are to thee unknown.
* f How then could nature teach thee true religion,
â‚¬t Depriv'd of these ? Nature can teach to sin,
*' But 'tis the Priest alone can teach remorse,
tx Can bid St. Peter ope the gates of Heaven,
" And from the penal fires of purgatory
â‚¬e Absolve the soul. Could Nature teach thee this ?
" Or tell thee that St. Peter holds the keys,
â‚¬i And that his successor's unbounded power
" Extends o'er either world ? Altho' thy life
<( Of sin were free, if of this holy truth
*' Ignorant, thy soul in liquid flames must rue
Thus he spake ; the applauding look
Went round. Nor dubious to reply the Maid
<c Fathers of the holy church*
<c If on these points abstruse a simple maid
" Like me, should err, impute not you the crime
fr To self-will'd reason, vaunting its own strength
" Above the eternal wisdom. True it is
fâ‚¬ That for long time I have not heard the souriS
<r Of mass high-chaunted, nor with trembling lips
" Partook the mystic wafer : yet the bird
" Who to the matin ray prelusive pour'd -
<f His joyous song, methought did warble forth
e< Sweeter thanksgiving to Religion's ear
" In his wild melody .of happiness,
" Than ever rung along the high-arched roofs
<e Of man. Yet never from the bending vine
" Pluck' d I its ripen'd clusters thanklessly,
u Of that good God unmindful, who bestow'd
<f The bloodless banquet. Ye have told me, Sirs,
u That Nature only teaches man to sin ! ; â€¢
" If it be sin to seek the wounded lamb,
* f To bind its wounds, and bathe them with my tears,
*< This is what Nature taught ! No, Fat H eh s ! no*
u It is not Nature that can teach to sin :
** Nature is all Benevolence,, all Love,
u All Beauty! In the greenwood's simple shade
" There is no vice that to the indignant cheek
*' Bids the red current rush y no misery there j
cc No wretched mother, who with pallid face
<e And famine-falTn, hangs o'er her hungry babes,
(C With such a look, so wan, so woe-begone,
fC As shall one day, with damning eloquence,
r< Against the mighty plead ! Nature teach sin !
lc O blasphemy against the Holy One,
c < Who made us in the image of Himself,
" Who made us all for happiness and love,
u Infinite happiness, infinite love,
" Partakers of his own eternity*
Solemn and slow the reverend Priest replied,
w Much, woman, do I doubt that all-wise Heaven
u Would thus vouchsafe its gracious miracles
(c On one fore-doom'd to misery ; for so doom'd
<c Is that deluded one, who, of the mass
" Unheeding, and the Churches saving power,
" Deems nature sinless. Therefore, mark me well,
u Brethren, I would propose tins woman try
Â« The holy ordeal. Let her, bound and stript,
VOL. I. k
" Lest haply in her clothes should be conceal'4
*' Some holy relic so profan'd, be cast
u In the deep pond ; there if she float, no doubt
" Some fiend upholds, but if she instant sink,
* i Sure sign is that that Providence displays
u Her free from witchcraft. This done, let her walk
** Blinded and bare o'er ploughshares heated red,
** And o'er these past, her naked arm plunge deep
u In scalding water. If from these she pass
" Unhurt, to holy father of the church
** Most blessed Pope, we then refer the cause
s< For judgement : and this Chief, the Son of Orleans,
<e Who comes to vouch the royal person known
tâ‚¬ By her miraculous power, shall pass with her
Â« The sacred trial."
*' Grace of God !" exclaim'd
The astonished Bastard ; plunge me in the pool,
" O'er red-hot ploughshares make me dance to please
" Your dotard fancies ! Fathers of the church,
u Where is your gravity ? what ! elder-like
K< Would ye this fairer than Susannah eye ?
" Ye call for ordeals ; and I too demand
<( The noblest ordeal, on the English host
* f In victory to prove the mission sent
u From favouring Heaven. To the Pope refer
" For judgement \ Know ye not that France even ncfor
M Stands tottering on destruction !''
With a strange look, the mission'd Maid exclaim'd,
u The sword of God is here ! the grave shall speak
â‚¬t To manifest me P"
Even as she spake,
A pale blue flame rose from the trophied tomb
Beside her : and within that house of death
The clash of arms was heard, as tho' below
The shrouded warrior shook his mailed limbs.
" Hear ye ?" the Damsel cried \ fâ‚¬ these are the arms
" Which shall flash terror o'er the hostile host.
" These, in the presence of our Lord the King,
Â«* And of the assembled people, I will take
u Here from the sepulchre, where many an age^
u Incorruptible, they have lain conceal'd,
" For me preserv'd, the Delegate of Heaven/'
Recovering from amaze, the Priest replied :
" Thou art indeed the Delegate of Heaven !
Â« What thou hast said surely thou shalt perform \
" We ratify thy mission. Go in peace."
JOAN of ARC.
THE FOURTH BOOK.
The feast was spread, the sparkling bowl went round,
And to the assembled court the minstrel harp'd
The song of other days. Sudden they heard
The horn's loud blast. " This is no time for cares ;
4f Feast ye the messenger without !" cried Charles,
" Enough is given of the wearying day
41 To the public weal."
Obedient to the King
The guard invites the traveller to his fare.
" Nay, I will see the monarch/' he replied,
" And he shall hear my tidings ; duty-urg'd,
" For many a long league have I hasten'd on,
" Not now to be repell'd." Then with strong arm
Removing him who barr'd his onward way,
The hall he enters.
" King of France t I come
u From Orleans, speedy and effectual aid
" Demanding for her gallant garrison,
w Faithful to thee, tho* tbinn'd in many a fight,
4< And wither'd now by want. Thee it beseems
4( For ever anxious for thy people's weal,
u To succour the brave men whose honest breasts
u Bulwark thy throne."
He said, and from the hall
With upright step departing, in amaze
At his so bold deportment left the court.
The King exclaim'd, u but little need to send
u Quick succour to this gallant garrison,
u If to the English half so firm a front
" They bear in battle!"
" In the field my liege,"
Dunois replied, " yon Knight has serv'd thee well.
" Him have I seen the foremost of the fight,
u Wielding so fearfully his death-red axe,.
** That wheresoe'er he turn'd, the affrighted foe
" Let fall their palsied arms with powerless stroke,
94 Desperate of fafety. I do marvel much
M That he is here : Orleans must be hard press'd
4t To send the bravest of her garrison,
m On such commission.''
t( Swift the Maid exclaim'd,
94 I tell thee. Chief, that there the English wolves
99 Shall never pour their yells of victory !'
99 The will of God defends those fated walls,
44 And resting in full faith on that high will,
** I mock their efforts. But the night draws on >
<( Retire we to repose. To-morrow's sun,
44 Breaking the darkness of the sepulchre,
4i Shall on that armour gleam, thro* many an age
14 Kept holy and inviolate by time.''
She said, and rising from the board, retired*
Meantime the herald's brazen voice proclaimed
Coming solemnity, and far and wide
Spread the strange tidings. Every labour ceas'd j
The ploughman from the unfinish'd furrow hastes :
The armourer's anvil beats no more the din
Of future slaughter. Thro' the thronging streets
The buz of asking wonder hums along.
On to St. Catherine's sacred fane they go*,
The holy fathers with the imaged cross
Leading the long procession. Next, as one
Suppliant for mercy to the King of Kings,.
And grateful for the benefits of Heaven,
The Monarch pass'd â€¢ and by his side the Maid,
Her lovely limbs robed in a snow-white vest 5
Wistless that every eye on her was fix'd,
With stately step she moved : her labouring soul
To high thoughts elevate 5 and gazing round
With the wild eye, that of the circling throng
And of die visible world unseeing, saw
The shapes of holy phantasy. By her
The warrior Son of Orleans strode along
Preeminent. He, nerving his young frame
With manly exercise, had scaled the cliff,
And dashing in the torrent's foaming flood,
Stemm'd with broad breast its fury $ so his form>
Sinewy and firm, and fit for loftiest deeds,
Tower'd high amid the throng efBminate j
No dainty bath had from his hardy limbs
Effaced the hauberk's * honourable marks j
His helmet bore of hostile steel the dints
Many and deep} upon his pictur'd shield
A Lion vainly struggled in the toils,
Whilst by his side the cub with pious rage,
His young mane floating to the desart air,
Rends the fallen huntsman. Tremouille him behind.
* Afin d'empecher Ies impressions que ce treillis de fer de-
vait laisser sur la peau, ou avait soin de se matelasser en des-
sous. Malgre ces precautions cependant ii en laissait encore ;
ces marques s'appellaient camvis, et on les faisait disparaitre
par le bain.
The worthless favourite of the slothful Prince.,
Stalk'd arrogant, in shining armour clasp'd,
Emboss'd with gold and gems of richest hue,
Gaudily graceful, by no hostile blade
Defac'd, and rusted by no hostile blood }
Trimly accoutred court habiliments,
Gay lady-dazzling armour, fit to adorn
In dangerless manoeuvres some review,
The mockery of murder ! follow'd him
The train of courtiers, summer-flies that sport
In the sun -beam of favour, insects sprung
From the court dunghill, greedy blood-suckers,
The foul corruption- gender' d swarm of state.
As o'er some flowery field the busy bees
Pour their deep music, pleasant melody
To the tired traveller, under some old oak
Stretch'd in the checquer'd shade; or as the sound
Of many waters down the far off- steep
Dash'd with loud uproar, rose the murmur round
Of admiration, Every gazing eye
Dwelt on the mission' d Maid; of all beside,
The long procession and the gorgeous train,
Tho' glittering they with gold and sparkling gems,
And their rich plumes high waving to the air,
The consecrated dome they reach,
Rear'd to St. Catharine's holy memory.
Her tale the altar told 5 when Maximin,
His rais'd lip kindled with a savage smile,
In such deep fury bade the tenter'd wheel
Tear her life piecemeal, that the very face
Of the hard executioner relax' d
With horrour j calm she heard, no drop of blood
Forsook her cheek, her steady eye- was turn'd
Heaven-ward, and Hope and meekest Piety
Beam'd in that patient look. Nor vain her trust,
For lo ! the Angel of the Lord descends
And crumbles with his fiery touch the wheel !
One glance of holy triumph Catharine cast,
Then bow'd her to the sword of * martyrdom.
Her eye averting from the storied woe.,
The delegated damsel knelt and pour'd
To Heaven the earnest prayer.
* Such is the legend of St. Catharine, Princess of Alexan-
dria, whose story has been pictured upon sign-posts and in
churches, but whose memory will be preserved longer by the
ale-house than by the altar The most extravagant perhaps of
Dryden's Plays is upon this subject. In my former edition I
had, ignorantly, represented Catharine as dying upon the
wheel, and the description of her sufferings was too painfully
minute. Dryden has committed the last fault in a far greater
degree; the old Martyrologies particularize no cruelties more
revoking to the reader than he has detailed in the speech of
Maximin when he orders her to execution.
From a passage in the Jerusalem Conquistada it should
seem that St. Catharine was miraculously betrothed to her
heavenly spouse. As the Crusaders approach Jerusalem, they
visit the holy places on their way,
Qual visita el lugar con llanto tierno,
Donde la hermosa virgen Caterina
Se desposo con el Esposo eterno,
La Angelica Rachel siendo madrina ;
A trophied tomb
Close to the altar rear'd its ancient bulk.
Two pointless javelins and a broken sword,
Time-mouldering now, proclaimed some warrior slept
The sleep of death beneath. A massy stone
Aquel Esposo, que el nevado invierno
Se cubrio con esearcha matutina,
El que tiene los ojos de palomas
Y del labio de lirio vierte aromas.
Lope de Vega,
The marginal note adds La Virgen fue Madrina en los despo-
rios de Caterina y Christo.
Of St. Margaret, the other favourite Saint of the Maid, I
find recorded by Bergomensis, that she called the Pagan Prae-
fect an impudent dog, that she was thrown into a dungeon,
where a horrible dragon swallowed her, that she crossed her-
self, upon which the dragon immediately burst and she came
out safe, and that she saw the Dev?l standing in the corner
like a black man, and seized him and threw him down.
Absurd as this legend is, it once occasioned a very extraor-
dinary murder. A young Lombard after hearing it, prayed so
earnestly for an opportunity of fighting with the Devil like
St. Margaret, that he went into the fields in full expectation
that his desire would be gratified. A hideous old dumb woman
And rude-ensculptur'd effigy o'erlaid
The sepulchre. In silent wonderment
The expectant multitude with eager eye
Gaze, listening as the mattock's heavy stroke
Invades the tomb's repose : the heavy stroke
Sounds hollow ; over the high-vaulted roof
Roll the repeated echoes : soon the day
Dawns on the grave's long night, the slant sun-beam
Beams on the inshrined arms, the crested helm,
The bauldrick's strength, the shield, the sacred*sword.
came by, he mistook her for the Tempter, her inarticulate
noises confirmed him in this opinion, and he knocked her
down and trampled upon her. The poor wretch died of her
bruises, but a miracle was wrought to save her murderer in
consideration that his madness was a pious madness, and be-
fore she died, she spoke to excuse his mistake. This tale is
told in that strange collection of ludicrous stories upon reli-
gious subjects the Fia Jltturia. The authority referred to is
Petr. Rausani hist. lib. 35.
* Puella petiit gladium, quern divinitus Uti aiebat, erat facta
certior in templo divae Catherine in Turonibus, inter antiqua
A sound of awe-repress'd astonishment
Rose from the crowd. The delegated Maid