Robert Southey

Scarce had the earliest ray from Chinon's towers
Made visible the mists that curled along
The winding waves of Vienne, when from her couch
Started the martial maid. She mailed her limbs;
The white plumes nodded o'er her helmed head;
She girt the sacred falchion by her side,
And, like some youth that from his mother's arms,
For his first field impatient, breaks away,
Poising the lance went forth.
Twelve hundred men,
Rearing in ordered ranks their well-sharped spears,
Await her coming. Terrible in arms.
Before them towered Dunois, his manly face
Dark-shadowed by the helmet's iron cheeks.
The assembled court gazed on the marshalled train,
And at the gate the aged prelate stood
To pour his blessing on the chosen host.
And now a soft and solemn symphony
Was heard, and, chanting high the hallowed hymn.
From the near convent came the vestal maids.
A holy banner, woven by virgin hands,
Snow-white they bore. A mingled sentiment
Of awe, and eager ardor for the fight,
Thrilled through the troops, as he the reverend man
Took the white standard, and with heavenward eye
Called on the God of Justice, blessing it.
The Maid, her brows in reverence unhelmed,
Her dark hair floating on the morning gale.
Knelt to his prayer, and, stretching forth her hand.
Received the mystic ensign. From the host
A loud and universal shout burst forth,
As rising from the ground, on her white brow
She placed the plumed casque, and waved on high
The bannered lilies. On their way they march,
And dim in distance, soon the towers of-Chinon
Fade from the eye reverted.

Main Location:

37500 Chinon, France