Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
A Ballad of Orleans
Agnes Mary Frances Darmesteter (b. 1857)
THE FRAY began at the middle-gate,
  Between the night and the day;
Before the matin bell was rung
  The foe was far away.
There was no knight in the land of France        5
  Could gar that foe to flee,
Till up there rose a young maiden,
  And drove them to the sea.
  Sixty forts around Orleans town,
    And sixty forts of stone!        10
  Sixty forts at our gates last night—
    To-day there is not one!
Talbot, Suffolk, and Pole are fled
  Beyond the Loire, in fear—
Many a captain who would not drink,        15
  Hath drunken deeply there—
Many a captain is fallen and drowned,
  And many a knight is dead,
And many die in the misty dawn
  While forts are burning red.        20
The blood ran off our spears all night
  As the rain runs off the roofs—
God rest their souls that fell i’ the fight
  Among our horses’ hoofs!
They came to rob us of our own        25
  With sword and spear and lance,
They fell and clutched the stubborn earth,
  And bit the dust of France!
We fought across the moonless dark
  Against their unseen hands—        30
A knight came out of Paradise
  And fought among our bands.
Fight on, O maiden knight of God,
  Fight on and do not tire—
For lo! the misty break o’ the day        35
  Sees all their forts on fire!
  Sixty forts around Orleans town,
    And sixty forts of stone!
  Sixty forts at our gates last night—
    To-day there is not one!        40


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