Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > France
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X.  1876–79.
 
Rheims
Joan of Arc, on the Day of the Coronation in Rheims
Friedrich von Schiller (1759–1805)
 
(Excerpt)
Translated by Charles Timothy Brooks

THE DIN of arms, the storm of strife, is o’er,
  And bloody battles yield to dance and song;
Through every street the gay processions pour,
  To church and altar with glad music throng;
They pass through many a green, triumphal door,        5
  Through aisles of rustling leaves they sweep along;
Rheims scarce can hold the crowds that roll, this day,
Like ocean’s billows, through each echoing way.
 
And now one gleam of joy lights every eye,
  One proud emotion throbs in every breast;        10
Where, late, the bloody waves of strife ran high,
  Now all is lulled to harmony and rest.
The name of France makes Frenchmen’s pulses fly;
  To own that name is to be richly blessed;
The lustre of the old crown comes back again,        15
And France prepares to hail her rightful sovereign’s reign.
 
But I, who ushered in this glorious day,—
  I have no heart to feel the joy I see!
My sinking spirit flies from scenes so gay;
  The voice of earth-born passion whispers me;        20
To Britain’s distant camp my longings stray;
  Ay, to my country’s foes I yearn to flee,
And from these scenes of gladness needs must steal,
  My bosom’s deep pollution to conceal.
*        *        *        *        *
    Peaceful crook I that I should ever        25
      Change thee for the battle-sword!
    Holy oak! O, had I never
      Thy mysterious whisperings heard!
    Would that thou, High Queen of Heaven,
      Never hadst to earth come down!        30
    O, take back what thou hast given,—
      Take again this heavy crown!
 
    Ah, Heaven’s gates rose bright before me,
      And the mansions of the blessed:
    Clouds and darkness now hang o’er me;        35
      All my hopes on earth must rest!
    Why, ah, why was that sad burden
      On my feeble spirit laid?
    Could I thus this bosom harden,—
      I—a timid, trembling maid?        40
 
    If thou wilt reveal thy glory,
    Choose the pure ones, who before thee
      Stand in unapproachéd light,
      Spirits spotless in thy sight!
    Let them work thy will, who sleep not        45
    Night and day, who feel not, weep not,
      But, O, choose not tender maiden,
    Herdsmaid’s heart with frailties laden!
 
    What had I to do with empires,
      Fate of kings and bloody fight?        50
    Harmless I my lambs had tended
      On the silent mountain’s height;
    But thy summons sternly tore me
      From a happy, peaceful home,
    To the scenes of splendor bore me,        55
      There in sin’s dark paths to roam!
 
 
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