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Poems of Andrew Lang

HOW THE MAID MARCHED FROM BLOIS

(Supposed to be narrated by James Power, or Polwarth, her Scottish
banner-painter.)

The Maiden called for her great destrier,
But he lashed like a fiend when the Maid drew near:
"Lead him forth to the Cross!" she cried, and he stood
Like a steed of bronze by the Holy Rood!

Then I saw the Maiden mount and ride,
With a good steel sperthe that swung by her side,
And girt with the sword of the Heavenly Bride,
That is sained with crosses five for a sign,
The mystical sword of St. Catherine.
And the lily banner was blowing wide,
With the flowers of France on the field of fame
And, blent with the blossoms, the Holy Name!
And the Maiden's blazon was shown on a shield,
ARGENT, A DOVE, ON AN AZURE FIELD;
That banner was wrought by this hand, ye see,
For the love of the Maid and chivalry.

Her banner was borne by a page of grace,
With hair of gold, and a lady's face;
And behind it the ranks of her men were dressed -
Never a man but was clean confessed,
Jackman and archer, lord and knight,
Their souls were clean and their hearts were light:
There was never an oath, there was never a laugh,
And La Hire swore soft by his leading staff!
Had we died in that hour we had won the skies,
And the Maiden had marched us through Paradise!

A moment she turned to the people there,
Who had come to gaze on the Maiden fair;
A moment she glanced at the ring she wore,
She murmured the Holy Name it bore,
Then, "For France and the King, good people pray!"
She spoke, and she cried to us, "ON AND AWAY!"
And the shouts broke forth, and the flowers rained down,
And the Maiden led us to Orleans town.