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


Joan of Arc

By Robert Southey (1774–1843)


THE MORN was fair

When Rheims re-echoed to the busy hum

Of multitudes, for high solemnity

Assembled. To the holy fabric moves

The long procession, through the streets bestrewn

With flowers and laurel boughs. The courtier throng

Were there, and they in Orleans, who endured

The siege right bravely; Gaucour, and La Hire,

The gallant Xaintrailles, Boussac, and Chabannes,

Alenson, and the bravest of the brave,

The Bastard Orleans, now in hope elate,

Soon to release from hard captivity

His dear-beloved brother; gallant men,

And worthy of eternal memory,

For they, in the most perilous times of France,

Despaired not of their country. By the king

The delegated Damsel passed along,

Clad in her battered arms. She bore on high

Her hallowed banner to the sacred pile,

And fixed it on the altar, whilst her hand

Poured on the monarch’s head the mystic oil,

Wafted of yore by milk-white dove from heaven

(So legends say) to Clovis when he stood

At Rheims for baptism; dubious since that day,

When Tolbiac plain reeked with his warrior’s blood,

And fierce upon their flight the Almanni prest,

And reared the shout of triumph; in that hour

Clovis invoked aloud the Christian God

And conquered: waked to wonder thus, the chief

Became love’s convert, and Clotilda led

Her husband to the font.
The missioned Maid

Then placed on Charles’s brow the crown of France,

And back retiring, gazed upon the king

One moment, quickly scanning all the past,

Till in a tumult of wild wonderment

She wept aloud. The assembled multitude

In awful stillness witnessed: then at once,

As with a tempest-rushing noise of winds,

Lifted their mingled clamors. Now the Maid

Stood as prepared to speak, and waved her hand,

And instant silence followed.
“King of France!”

She cried, “at Chinon, when my gifted eye

Knew thee disguised, what inwardly the spirit

Prompted, I promised, with the sword of God,

To drive from Orleans far the English wolves,

And crown thee in the rescued walls of Rheims.

All is accomplished. I have here this day

Fulfilled my mission, and anointed thee

King over this great nation.”