Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

BROTHER, COME HOME.

BY OATEARINS 3. SING.

Come home!
Would I could send my spirit o'er the deep,

Would I could wing it like a bird to thee,
To commune with thy thoughts, to fill thy sleep
With these unwearying words of melody ;

Brother, come home.

Come home!
Come to the hearts that love thee, to the eyes

That beam in brightness bat to gladden thise, Come when fond thoughts, like holiest incense rise, Where cherish'd memory rears her star's sbrine:

Brother, come home.

Come home!
Come to the hearth stone of thy earlier days,

Come to the ark, like the o'er wearied dove,
Come with the sunlight of thy heart's warm ray8,
Come to the fireside of thy love;

Brother, come home.

Come bome!
It is not home without thee, the lone seat

Is still unclaim'd where thou wert wont to be,
In every echo of returning feet,
Iu vain we list for what should herald thee;

Brother, come home.

Come home!
We've purged for thee the sunny buds of spring,

Watch'd every germ the full blown flowers rear,
Seen o'er their bloom ibe chilly winter bring
Its icy garlands, and thou art not bere;

Brother, come home.

Come home!
Would I could send my spirit o'er the deep,

Would I could wing it like a bird to thee,
To commune with thy thoughts, to fill thy sleep
With these unwearying words of melody;

Brother, come home.

THE WAY OF LIFE.

I saw a gate : a harsh voice spake and said, “ This is the gate of Life;" abore was writ, “Leave hope bebind, all ye who enter it;" Then sbrapk my heart within itself for dread ; But, softer than tbe summer rain is shed, Words dropped upon my soul and they did say, “ Fear pothing, Faith shall gave thee, watch and pray! So, without fear I lifted up my head, And lo! that writing was not, one fair word Was craven in its stead, and it was “Love." Then rain'd once more those sweet tones from above With bealing on their wings: I bumbly heard, “I am the Life, ask and it shall be given ! I am the Way, by me ye enter Heaven!"

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

JOAN OF ARO.

Immortality o'ersweeps
All paids, all tears, all time, all fears and peale
Like the eternal thunders of the deep
Into my ears this truth--thoa livest forever.”

BYRON, FEMALE heroism has commanded the admiration of mankind in all lands and in every age. The rude Scythian, like the cultured Roman, bent to its sway and was compelled to acknowledge the force of an influence which, although beyond his grasp, demanded and received from him homage he could not withhold. It seems, and is natural, that an unusual and extraordinary display of any kind, from a source before unsuspected and regarded with comparative indifference, should call from mankind that regard and that respect which otherwise would have slumbered forever.

History, as well as tradition, delights to preserve and carry forward undimmed such instances of female nobleness, piety and heroism. The wide field of rhetoric and of eloquence was exhausted by the ancient Greek and Roman writers, for periods sufficiently vigorous and beautiful to portray these traits of the female character, which they so much admired, and in description of which they so much delighted. Ancient mythology best shows the estimation in which such of the female sex were held who exhibited proofs of superior virtue and genius, and whose lives were devoted to their country's cause, or to the rescuing of their sex from the degradation into which, it must be confessed, it had so deeply and deplorably fallen. Instances of this kind are not confined to any age, and though the finger of history points out many, we cannot fail to perceive at a glance some names which far outshine those by whom they are surrounded, and towards whom our attention is irresistibly drawn, because of the prominence of their actions and the results of their lives. The ignorance of the times in which they lived, and the unwholesome influences by which they were surrounded, but add to the comparison by which we are accustomed to regard them.

Foremost among those who may be regarded as national benefactors, as ornaments to their sex and to the age in which they lived, and whose lives if not entirely blameless, yet exhibited that happy blending of the just, mild and fearless, which more than all things else, gain our esteem and approbation, stands the heroic and self-denying girl whose name we have placed at the head of this

. article—whose fame is enduring as the adamantine walls of time itself, and whom men will delight to honor and revere until every spark of appreciation shall have forever left the mind of man, and until greater than Egyptian darkness once more broods like a mighty phantom over the now resplendent brilliancy of the soul.

In the year 1410, at the village of Domremy, in Lorraine, was born Joan of Arc, the fifth child of Jacques de Arc and his wife Isabella Romee. Though in humble circumstances, no pains were spared by her parents to bestow upon her all the opportunities for acquiring knowledge, which the narrowness of their means would permit; and her mother, who appears to have been a woman of considerable intelligence, early sought to inculcate lessons of piety and virtue into the mind of her daughter. This early moral training contributed much to give her that devotional turn of mind, which, afterwards, formed one of the noblest traits of her character. She differed in no wise from her youthful companions, save by being more given to reflection, to study, and to solitary meditations.

France at this time was distracted with civil dissensions. The contention of the royal houses of Orleans and Burgundy overspread the country with anarchy and confusion, to which history furnishes no equal, save in the rival Roses of England. The Burgundians had sworn allegiance to Henry V. of England, and his assistance served to exasperate still more the adherents of the house of Orleans. Charles VII., who was supported by the Orleanists, after this double alliance had been formed against him, lost one fortified town after another, until the city of Bourges, and its surrounding territory, was all that remained to him. It is not strange, therefore, that an interest for the fate of her country and her king should spring up in one whose nature was susceptible of such impressions as this condition of affairs was calculated to inspire. Moreover, an old tradition prevailed throughout Lorraine, and the neighboring districts, that the crown of France, which had been lost to her rightful sovereign through the intrigues of a woman, (Isabel of Bavaria,) should be restored through the agency of a woman. The enthusiastic nature of Joan needed not to be persuaded that she was the person through whose instrumentality this desirable object was to be brought about. It was not difficult for one of her ardent temperament to believe that the fanciful pictures which outward causes wrought upon her mind, were really visions brought about by supernatural agencies, or that she was the appointed person who should drive the English invaders from her country, and thus give peace to France, which the many years of bloodshed, havoc and desolation had converted from verdant and fruitful fields to desolate and barren plains.

Many romantic traditions are preserved of the visions she declared had been shown her. Angelic voices commanded her to declare to Charles that, through her efforts, his object was to be effected; that she had been commanded to take charge of the army and raise the siege of Orleans, then besieged by Montague, Earl of Salisbury, and reduced to such a desperate condition that its fall was hourly looked for. These, and many other things of a similar nature, were urged by her to Robert of Baudricourt, governor of Vaucouleurs, by whom she had been twice dismissed as one whose assertions and pretensions merited only contempt. She was finally sent by him with letters of recommendation to Charles himself, who caused her to be examined by two learned bishops, who reported favorably of her. She was afterwards obliged to undergo a more rigid examination, composed of the most eminent doctors in the kingdom, as well as of the faculty of the law school of Poictiers, to determine whether her pretended mission was not of the devil. Her straightforwardness, her honesty, and the simplicity of her replies to the questions of her examiners, dispelled the suspicion of her being an emissary of the Evil One, and she was finally promoted to the rank of a military commander. She donned a male dress, had a complete suit of armor made for her, and carried a sword which was found buried in some church, at a spot designated by her.

She had now overcome the most difficult impediment to what she believed would result in complete success, and it remained for her to run the courso which lay before her. Her first military adventure was to undertake the relief of Orleans; she effected an entrance into the city, together with a large convoy of provisions, on the 29th day of April, 1429, while only in the nineteenth year of her age. Her saving the city, when on the verge of destruction, contributed not a little to raise her in the estimation of the soldiery, and their enthusiasm consequently knew no bounds.

These singular events were not without a corresponding effect on the besiegers; their efforts were relaxed, and tho name of the maiden heroine inspired them with as much terror as it had raised the depressed spirits of their enemies. The English forts were taken one after another, yet not without the most desperate resistance. In one of theso attacks the career of Joan was near being untimely closed; while in the act of planting the first ladder against the walls of a fort she was struck down by an arrow and dangerously wounded; but seeing that the attack was likely to fail, she summoned all her strength and rushed to the front of her soldiers and called them again to the charge, and victory perched upon their banners as tho reward of their efforts.

The Earl of Suffolk, who had succeeded the Earl of Salisbury in the command of the English troops, was finally, on the 8th of May, 1429, obliged to raise the siege. It was only after compelling the English to raise the siege of this city that she was called the “Maid of Orleans,” by which name she is now best known. The impulse which the first great success gave to the adherents of Charles can hardiy be imagined; he hourly received accessions to his cause and his prospects grew brighter every day. Success had convinced the people of the divine origin of her mission, and implicit faith was placed in everything she did or uttered. She now insisted on the coronation of the Dauphin, which, ahe said in the beginning, was one of the main objects of her high calling. Preparations were accordingly made for this solemn ceremony, and the event finally took place at the city of Rheims, July 17, 1429, or only three months after she had first undertaken the desperate cause of Charles. Nor was she permitted to go unrewarded for what she had done; she and her whole family were ennobled, and her native district was freed from the payment of all taxes.

Most historians agree in stating that after this event (the coronation of the king,) Joan desired to return to her home, there to spend the remainder of her days, but was prevented by the solici. tations of the Dauphin. We accordingly find her, a short timo afterwards, attempting to take the city of Paris, from which the English had not yet been driven; she was defeated in the undertaking and seriously wounded. In May, 1431, while attempting to relieve the town of Compeigne, which was closely besieged by the English, she was taken prisoner during a sally on the enemy, by a party of Burgundiang.

She was kept a close prisoner, first in the fortress of Crotoy, and afterwards in that of Beaurevoir; but hearing that Henry of England had paid a large sum for her delivery into his hands, she attempted to effect her escape by throwing herself from one of the windows of the apartment in which she was confined. This proved ineffectual, and she was given up, badly wounded by her effort to escape, to the English sovereign. And now commenced her trial by English and French bishops, which has left a foul stain of infamy upon all those who shared in the proceedings. The church condemned her a3 heretic and % sorceress, and decreed that she should be burnt. All tho revelations she had made when before the council instituted by Charles, were pronounced as so many machinations of the devil; the fact of her having designated the spot where was found the sword she carried when at the head of the army, was urged as a certain evidence of a collusion with the spirits of darkness. In short, the most trivial things were magnified into mountains of error, and were made to swell the list of her offences.

After sentence of death had been pronounced against her, her cxecution was delayed from day to day, in the hope that she would eventually be induced to confess; but the noble maid, with a heroism that has few parallels in the world's history, disdained to criminate herself through the fear of torture. Once, and once only, did the heroic soul of Joan falter. When the torch was applied to the faggots which were piled around her, her courago becamne daunted, and she declared her previous revelations to have becn false, and the offspring of the Evil One. Thereupon her sentence was commuted to perpetual imprisonment, and she was again remanded into custody. New charges were, howover, soon

« AnteriorContinuar »