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'T is not enough that we with sorrow sigh,
8. The Guilty Conscience. — Byron.
The mind that broods o'er guilty woes
Is like the scorpion girt by fire:
And maddening in her ire,
9. Prayer.—Alfred Tennyson.
More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice
Rise like a fountain for me night and day.
For what are men better than sheep or goats,
That nourish a blind life within the brain,
If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer,
Both for themselves and those who call them friend
For so, the whole round earth is every way
Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.
10. Coronach." — Scott.
He is gone on the mountain, he is lost to the forest,
The autumn winds rushing waft the leaves that are serest,
CXXI. — JOAN OF ARC.
1. What is to be thought of her? What is to be thought of the poor shepherd girl from the hills and forests of Lorraine, who rose suddenly out of the quiet, out of the safety, out of the religious inspiration of deep pastoral solitudes, to a station in the van of armies, and to the more perilous station at the right hand of kings? The poor maiden drank not herself from that cup of rest which she had secured for France. No! for her voice was then silent. No! for her feet were dust.
2. Pure, innocent, noble-hearted girl! When the thunders of universal France, as even yet may happen, shall proclaim the grandeur of her who gave up all for her country, thy ear will have been deaf for five centuries. To suffer and to do, that was thy portion in this life: to do, — never for thyself, always for others; to suffer, — never in the persorfsvofgenerous champions, always in thy own, — that was thy destiny; and not for a moment was it hidden from thyself. Life, thou saidst, is short; let me use that life, so transitory, for glorious ends.
3. This pure creature — pure from every suspicion of even a visionary self-interest, even as she was pure in senses more obvious— never once relaxed in her belief in the darkness that was travelling to meet her. She might not prefigure the very manner of her death; she saw not in vision, perhaps, the aerial altitude of the fiery scaffold, the spectators on every road pouring into Rouen" as to a coronation, the surging smoke, the volleying flames; but the voice that called her to death, — that she heard forever.
4. Great was the throne of France even in those days, and great was he that sat upon it; but well Joan knew that not the throne, nor he that sat upon it, was for her; but, on the contrary, that she was for them. Not she by them, but they by her, should rise from the dust. Gorgeous were the lilies" of France, and for centuries had they the privilege to spread their beauty over land and sea, until, in ano*her century, the wrath of God and man combined to wither them; but well Joan knew — early at Domre'my she had read that bitter truth — that the lilies of France would decorate no garland for her. Flower nor bud, bell nor
blossom, would ever bloom for her.
5. Joan of Arc was born in 1412, in the little village of Domre'iuy, on the borders of Lorraine, in France. Her parents were poor, and maintained themselves by their own labor upon a little land, with a few cattle. Joan worked in the field in summer, and in winter she sewed33 and spun. Small was her stock of learning, for she could neither read nor write; but she would often go apart by herself in the pasture, as if to talk with God. She was a devout attendant at church, and gave to the poor to the utmost extent of her means; a girl of natural piety, that saw God in forests, and hills, and fountains, but did not the less seek him in places consecrated by religion.
6. Her native land was at this period in a distracted state. Paris was occupied by English troops; and the King of England was declared by a strong party the rightful heir of the throne of France. The people of the north of France, seeing in his success the end of strife, favored his cause; but in the south, the country people, and a part of the nobility, stood by the lineal heir, Charles the Seventh, and by the old nationality. Meanwhile the English were extending their power; and the city of Orleans was so closely besieged by them that its fall seemed inevitable. It was a dark day for France.
7. For some time, Joan had entertained the belief that she was in communion with the spirits of departed saints; that she saw angelic visions and heard angelic voices. These voices now whispered to her the duty imposed upon herself of delivering France and restoring its nationality. She found the means of making her way to the presence of the true heir of the throne, Charles the Seventh; and although, as he stood among his courtiers, he at first, in order to test her prophetic gift, maintained that he was not the king, she fell down and embraced his knees, declaring that he was the man. She offered to raise the siege" of Orleans, and to conduct Charles to llheims" to be crowned.
8. At this time she was eighteen years old, slender and delicate in shape, with a pleasant countenance, a somewhat pale complexion, eyes rather melancholy than eager, and rich chestnut-brown hair. As the king's affairs were hopeless, he did not refuse what seemed the preternatural aid proffered by Joan. She demanded for herself a particular sword in the church of St. Catharine, which was given to her. She put on a male dress, and unfurled her banner at the head of the French army, whom she had inspired with her own strong convictions of help from on high through her means.
9 She now appeared frequently in battle, and was several times wounded; still no unfeminine cruelty ever stained her conduct. She never killed any one, never shed blood with hor own hand. She interposed to protect the captive or the woundpd. She mourned over the excesses of her countrymen, and would throw herself from her horse to administer comfort to a dying foeman. Resolute, chivalrous, gentle, and brave, wise in council, constant in her faith in her high mission, and inspiring the whole immense host by her enthusiasm, the secret of her success seemed to lie as much in her good sense as in her courage and her visions. This girl of the people clearly saw the question before France, and knew how to solve it.
10. When she had first appeared before the king, he had been on the point of giving up the struggle with the English, and of flying to the south of France. Joan taught him to blush for such abject counsels. She liberated Orleans, that great city, so decisive by its fate for the issue of the war. Entering the city after sunset on the 29th of April, 1429, she took part or Sunday, May 8th, in the religious celebration for the entire disappearance of the besieging force. On the 29th of June, she gained over the English the decisive battle of Patay' * on the ninth of July, she took Troyes" by a coup-de-main on the fifteenth of that month she carried the Dauphin" into llheims; on Sunday the seventeenth, she crowned him; and there she rested from her labor of triumph. She had accomplished the capital objects which her own visions had dictated. She had saved France. What remained was, to suffer.
11. Having placed the king on his throne, it was her fortune thenceforward to be thwarted. More than one military plan was entered upon which she did not approve. Too well she felt that the end was now at hand. Still, she continued to expose her person in battle as before; severe wounds had not taught her caution; and at length she was made prisoner by the Burgun'dians, and finally given up to the English. The object now was to vitiate the coronation of Charles the Seventh as the work of a witch * and, for this end, Joan was tried for sorcery. She resolutely defended herself from the absurd accusation.
12. Never, from the foundations of the earth, was there such a trial as this, if it were laid open in all its beauty of defence, and all its malignity of attack. O, child of France! shepherdess, peasant-girl! trodden under foot by all around thee, how I honor thy flashing intellect, — quick as the lightning, and as true to its mark, — that ran before France and laggard Europe by many a century, coi.founding the malice of the ensnarer, and making dumb the oracles of falsehood!" Would you examine me as a witness against myself?" was the question by which many times
she defied their arts. The result of this trial was the condemnation of Joan to be burnt alive. Never did grim inquisitors doom to death a fairer victim by baser means.
13. Woman, sister! there are some things which you do not execute as well as your brother, man; no, nor ever will. Yet, sister, woman, — cheerfully, and with the love that burns in depths of admiration, I acknowledge that you can do one thing as well as the best of men, — you can die grandly! On the twentieth of May, 1431, being then about nineteen years of age, Joan of Arc underwent her martyrdom. She was conducted before midday, guarded by eight hundred spearmen, to a platform of prodigious height, constructed of wooden billets/' supported by occasional walls of lath and plaster, and traversed by hollow 6paces in every direction, for the creation of air-currents.
14. With an undaunted soul, but a meek and saintly demeanor, the maiden encountered her terrible fate. Upon her head was placed a mitre, bearing the inscription, "Relapsed heretic, apostate, idolatress." Her piety displayed itself in the most touching manner to the last; and her angelic forgetfulness of self was manifested in a remarkable degree. The executioner had been directed to apply his torch from below, lie did so. The fiery smoke rose upwards in billowing volumes. A monk was then standing at Joan's side. Wrapt up in his sublime office, he saw not the danger, but still persisted in his prayers.
15. Even then, when the last enemy was racing up the fiery stairs to seize her, even at that moment did this noblest of girla think only for him, — the one friend that would not forsake her, — and not for herself; bidding him with her last breath to care for his own preservation, but to leave her to God. "Go down," she said; " lift up the cross before me, that I may see it in dying, and speak to me pious words to the end." Then protesting her innocence, and recommending her soul to heaven, she continued to pray as the flames leaped up and walled her in. Her last audible word was the name of Jesus. Sustained by faith in him, in her last fight upon the scaffold, she had triumphed gloriously; victoriously she had tasted death.
16. Few spectators of this martyrdom" were so hardened as to contain their tears. All the English, with the exception of a few soldiers, who made a jest of the affair, were deeply moved. The French murmured that the death was cruel and unjust. "She die? a martyr! Ah, we are lost! we have burned a saint! Would to God that my soul were with hers!" Such were the exclamations on every side. A fanat'ic English soldier, who had sworn to throw a fagot on the funeral-pile, hearing Joan's last prayer to her Saviour, suddenly turned away, a penitent for life,