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PARTIE THE NOMBRE OF YOUR PEUPLE THERE, BUT AS WELL WITHDREWE THE COURAGE OF THE REMENANT IN MERVEILLOUS WYSE, AND COURAIGED YOUR ADVERSE PARTIE AND ENNEMYS TO ASSEMBLE THEM FORTHWITH IN GRETE NOMBRE."
When Charles had been anointed King of France, Joan believed that her mission was accomplished. And in truth the deliverance of France from the English, though not completed for many years afterwards, was then insured. The ceremony of a royal coronation and anointment was not in those days regarded as a mere costly formality. It was believed to confer the sanction and the grace of heaven upon the prince, who had previously ruled with mere human authority. Thenceforth he was the Lord's Anointed. Moreover, one of the difficulties that had previously lain in the way of many Frenchman when called on to support Charles VII. was now removed. He had been publicly stigmatised, even by his own parents, as no true son of the royal race of France. The queen- mother, the English, and the partisans of Burgundy, called him the "Pretender to the title of Dauphin;" but those who had been led to doubt his legitimacy, were cured of their scepticism by the victories of the Holy Maid, and by the fulfilment of her pledges. They thought that heaven had now declared itself in favour of Charles as the true heir of the crown of St. Louis; and the tales about his being spurious were thenceforth regarded as mere English calumnies. With this strong tide of national feeling in his favour, with victorious generals and soldiers round him, and a dispirited and divided enemy before him, he could not fail to conquer; though his own imprudence and misconduct, and the stubborn valour which some of the English still displayed, prolonged the war in France nearly to the time when the civil war of the Roses broke out in England, and insured for France peace and repose.
Joan knelt before the new-crowned king in the cathedral of Rheims, and shed tears of joy. She said that she had then fulfilled the work which the Lord had commanded her. The young girl now asked for her dismissal. She wished to return to her peasant home, to tend her parent's flocks again, and to live at her own will in her native village. ["Je voudrais bien qu'il voulut me faire ramener aupres mes pere et mere, et garder leurs brebis et betail, et faire ce que je voudrois faire."] She had always believed that her career would be a short one. But Charles and his captains were loth to lose the presence of one who had such an influence upon the soldiery and the people. They persuaded her to stay with the army. She still showed the same bravery and zeal for the cause of France. She was as fervent as before in her prayers, and as exemplary in all religious duties. She still heard her Heavenly Voices, but; she now no longer thought herself the appointed minister of heaven to lead her countrymen to certain victory. Our admiration for her courage and patriotism ought to be increased a hundred-fold by her conduct throughout the latter part of her career, amid dangers, against which she no longer believed herself to be divinely secured. Indeed she believed herself doomed to perish in little more than a year; ["Des le commencement elle avait dit, 'Il me faut employer: je ne durerai qu'un an, ou guere plus."-- MICHELAIT v. p. 101.] but she still fought on as resolutely, if not as exultingly as ever.
As in the case of Arminius, the interest attached to individual heroism and virtue makes us trace the fate of Joan of Arc after she had saved her country. She served well with Charles's army in the capture of Laon, Soissons, Compeigne, Beauvais, and other strong places; but in a premature attack on Paris, in September 1429, the French were repulsed, and Joan was severely wounded in the winter she was again in the field with some of the French troops; and in the following spring she threw herself into the fortress of Compeigne, which she had herself won for the French king in the preceding autumn, and which was now besieged by a strong Burgundian force.
She was taken prisoner in a sally from Compeigne, on the 24th of May, and was imprisoned by the Burgundians first at Arras, and then at a place called Crotoy, on the Flemish coast, until November, when for payment of a large sum of money, she was given up to the English, and taken to Rouen, which was then their main stronghold in France.
"Sorrow it were, and shame to tell, The butchery that there befell:"
And the revolting details of the cruelties practised upon this young girl may be left to those, whose duty as avowed biographers, it is to describe them. [The whole of the "Proces de Condamnation at de Rehabilitation de Jeanne d'Arc" has been published in five volumes, by the Societe de l'Histoire de France. All the passages from contemporary chroniclers and poets are added; and the most ample materials are thus given for acquiring full information on a subject which is, to an Englishman, one of painful interest. There is an admirable essay on Joan of Arc, in the 138th number of the QUARTERLY.] She was tried before an ecclesiastical tribunal on the charge of witchcraft, and on the 30th of May, 1431, she was burnt alive in the market-place at Rouen.
I will add but one remark on the character of the truest heroine that the world has ever seen.
If any person can be found in the present age who would join in the scoffs of Voltaire against the Maid of Orleans and the Heavenly Voices by which she believed herself inspired, let him read the life of the wisest and best man that the heathen nations ever produced. Let him read of the Heavenly Voice, by which Socrates believed himself to be constantly attended; which cautioned him on his way from the field of battle at Delium, and which from his boyhood to the time of his death visited him with unearthly warnings. [See Cicero, de Divinatione, lib. i. sec. 41; and see the words of Socrates himself, in Plato, Apol. Soc.] Let the modern reader reflect upon this; and then, unless he is prepared to term Socrates either fool or impostor, let him not dare to deride or vilify Joan of Arc.
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