Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X. 1876–79.



By Robert Southey (1774–1843)

(From Joan of Arc)

SCARCE had the earliest ray from Chinon’s towers

Made visible the mists that curled along

The winding waves of Vienne, when from her couch

Started the martial maid. She mailed her limbs;

The white plumes nodded o’er her helmed head;

She girt the sacred falchion by her side,

And, like some youth that from his mother’s arms,

For his first field impatient, breaks away,

Poising the lance went forth.
Twelve hundred men,

Rearing in ordered ranks their well-sharped spears,

Await her coming. Terrible in arms,

Before them towered Dunois, his manly face

Dark-shadowed by the helmet’s iron cheeks.

The assembled court gazed on the marshalled train,

And at the gate the aged prelate stood

To pour his blessing on the chosen host.

And now a soft and solemn symphony

Was heard, and, chanting high the hallowed hymn,

From the near convent came the vestal maids.

A holy banner, woven by virgin hands,

Snow-white they bore. A mingled sentiment

Of awe, and eager ardor for the fight,

Thrilled through the troops, as he the reverend man

Took the white standard, and with heavenward eye

Called on the God of Justice, blessing it.

The Maid, her brows in reverence unhelmed,

Her dark hair floating on the morning gale,

Knelt to his prayer, and, stretching forth her hand,

Received the mystic ensign. From the host

A loud and universal shout burst forth,

As rising from the ground, on her white brow

She placed the plumed casque, and waved on high

The bannered lilies. On their way they march,

And dim in distance, soon the towers of Chinon

Fade from the eye reverted.