Monday, February 18, 2013

Excerpts from Christine de Pizan's The Poem of Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc WWI Poster from the United States by Haskell Coffin, c. 1914-1918.
And you, the King of France, King Charles,
The seventh of that noble name,
Who fought a mighty war before
Good fortune came at all to you:
Do, now, observe your dignity
Exalted by the Maid, who bent
Your enemies beneath your flag
In record time (that's something new!)

And people thought that it would be
Impossible indeed for you
To ever have your country back,
For it was nearly lost; but now,
It's clearly yours; no matter who
Has done you wrong, it's yours once more,
And through the clever Maid who did
Her part therein -- thanks be to God!

You, Joan, were born propitiously;
May He be blessed who gave you life!
Young maid who was ordained of God,
In you the Holy Spirit poured
His ample grace (in whom there was
And is divine munificence),
Refusing none of your requests.
Who'll grant reward enough to you?

When I reflect upon your state,
The youthful maiden that you are,
To whom God gives the force and strength
To be the champion and the one
To suckle France upon her milk
Of peace, the sweetest nourishment,
To overthrow the rebel host:
The wonder passes Nature's work!

But as for us, we've never heard
About a marvel quite so great,
For all the heroes who have lived
In history can't measure up
In bravery against the Maid,
Who strives to rout our enemies.
It's God does that, who's guiding her
Whose courage passes that of men.

And Esther, Judith, Deborah,
Those ladies of enormous worth,
Through them it was that God restored
His people, who were sorely pressed;
Of many others I have learned,
Courageous ladies, valiant all,
Through whom God worked his miracles.
But through the Maid He's done much more.

(The Writings of Christine de Pizan, 355-357. Bibliographic entry.)

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