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A BALLAD OF ORLEANS (1429), by             Poem Explanation         Poet's Biography
First Line: The fray began at the middle-gate
Last Line: To-day there is not one.
Alternate Author Name(s): Duclaux, Madame Emile; Darmesteter, Mary; Robinson, A. Mary F.
Subject(s): Hundred Years' War; Joan Of Arc (1412-1431); Orleans, France


THE fray began at the middle-gate,
Between the night and the day;
Before the matin bell was rung
The foe was far away.
No knight in all the land of France
Could gar that foe to flee,
Till up there rose a young maiden,
And drove them to the sea.

Sixty forts around Orleans town,
And sixty forts of stone!
Sixty forts at our gates last night --
To-day there is not one!

Talbot, Suffolk, and Pole are fled
Beyond the Loire, in fear --
Many a captain who would not drink
Hath drunken deeply there --
Many a captain is fallen and drowned,
And many a knight is dead,
And many die in the misty dawn
While the forts are burning red.

Sixty forts around Orleans town,
And sixty forts of stone!
Sixty forts at our gates last night --
To-day there is not one!

The blood ran off our spears all night
As the rain runs off the roofs --
God rest their souls that fell i' the fight
Among our horses' hoofs!
They came to rob us of our own
With sword and spear and lance,
They fell and clutched the stubborn earth,
And bit the dust of France!

Sixty forts around Orleans town,
And sixty forts of stone!
Sixty forts at our gates last night --
To-day there is not one.

We fought across the moonless dark
Against their unseen hands --
A knight came out of Paradise
And fought among our bands.
Fight on, O maiden knight of God!
Fight on and never tire,
For lo! the misty break o' the day
Sees all their forts on fire!

Sixty forts around Orleans town,
And sixty forts of stone!
Sixty forts at our gates last night --
To-day there is not one.





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