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
Robert Southey (1774–1843)
 
(Excerpt)

                        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        5
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,        10
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,        15
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        20
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,        25
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        30
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        35
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,        40
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,        45
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.”
 
 
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