POETRY: The Shepherdess Of Domremy (Joan of Arc) Hearkening To Her Voices by Thérèse of Lisieux
Happy, happy am I,
Jeanne the shepherdess!
How swift my lambkins fly
To meet my kind caress.
How light my little crook;
How cool this verdant grove,
Beside whose babbling brook
In solitude I rove.
A lovely crown I weave
Of field-flowers, fair and sweet;
What joy is mine to leave
That crown at Mary’s feet!
Oh, how I love the flowers,
The birds, the rippling stream
The skies above these bowers
As fair as angel’s dream.
The valleys and the rills
Rejoice my longing eyes;
The summits of the hills,
They seem to touch the skies!
But hark! What voices come
Upon the evening breeze?
Do angels seek my home
With melodies like these?
I question air and space,
I gaze into the skies;
And yet no slightest trace
Of angels greets my eyes.
Ah, past those clouds that bar
And veil them from my sight,
Would I might fly afar
To realms of radiant light!
SAINT CATHERINE AND SAINT MARGARET:
Thy pure sweet voice to heaven has pierced, dear child,
From this time forth committed to our care!
Thine angel guardian, ever undefiled,
Has borne to God on high thy earnest prayer.
Down from His heavenly palace we have flown,
From His high court on His eternal hill;
For by our voices He to thee makes known
His holy will.
Thou must go forth to save thy fatherland,
To guard the faith, uphold God’s honor here.
Thou as a conqueror in His sight shall stand,
Preserved by Him and His own Mother dear.
(TO JEANNE, WHO WEEPS)
Oh, dry thy tears, take comfort, tender heart!
Beyond these clouds gaze into Heaven’s delight;
In our ecstatic chants thou shalt have part,
Who by God’s grace shalt conquer in the fight.
These sweet refrains thy soul shall fortify
Against approaching combat fierce and dire.
Jeanne! thou must suffer. Seek, then, from on high
A love like fire!
For the pure soul, in time’s long dreary night,
Its only glory is, Christ’s cross to bear;
And, in Heaven’s endless day, with splendor bright
That cross shall shine all radiant and fair.
Michael am I, the guardian of France,
Great Captain of the armies of the skies;
Against hell’s troops I march with sword and lance,
And the old serpent glares with curious eyes.
Once Satan far above the starry world
Desired to reign, higher than seraphs trod;
But, like a thunderbolt, at him I hurled
These words: “Oh, who is like to God!
At that same moment vengeance, dread, divine,
Opened hell’s abyss and thither thrust him deep.
For that proud fallen angel, ah! no mercies shine;
For him, what eyes shall weep?
Pride tore down Satan from his lofty place,
And of that morning-star an outcast made;
But when man, too, had trifled with God’s grace,
Pity and comfort were to him displayed.
The Eternal Word, the Father’s Equal Son,
Clothing Himself with poor humanity,
Back to His Father’s heart the exiles won
By His profound humility.
Now that same Savior deigns to succor France
But not by any mighty soldier’s hand.
He hath cast down the proud; He gives the conquering lance
Unto a child’s frail hand.
Jeanne! God has chosen thee His work to do.
Thou must depart, obedient to His call;
Unto thy fields, thy flocks, must bid adieu,
To this dear vale, these woods, thy home, thy all.
Be strong, go forth and save thy fatherland!
Go forth – fear naught; all danger now despise!
Go! in my might beside thee I shall stand.
See how the foe before thee flies!
Take thou this sword and bear it to the fray; –
Long hath God kept it for thy hand to bring.
Take for thy standard, child! this pure white flag today;
Then go, – and find the king!
For Thee alone, O God, I quit my father’s side,
I leave my cherished friends, my parish-church so dear,
For Thee I leave my flocks, my valleys green and wide,
My peaceful home, – to fight. Forgive me, if I fear!
Instead of my white lambs, I must lead armed men;
To Thee I sacrifice my joy, my eighteen years.
I shall not see, alas! these flowery fields again;
To serve Thee, Lord, I go, ‘mid shields and swords and spears.
My voice, that mingles now with the soft breezes’ breath,
Shall soon resound amid war’s clamors wild and drear;
The piercing, frightful cries of battle and of death,
Instead of sweet church-bells, shall reach my straining ear.
Yet, I desire the cross; the sacrifice is light;
To suffer for Thee, Lord, ready and glad am I.
Now deign to call Thy child to this sublime delight!
Jesus, my Love, my All, for Thee I long to die.
Thou must depart, O Jeanne! the time has come.
It is the Lord Who arms thee for the fray.
Soon shalt thou see our blest, eternal home!
Daughter of God! fear not to die today.
Thou, child, with Him shalt reign above.
Wherever goes the Lamb, thy virgin soul shall go.
THE TWO SAINTS TOGETHER:
Like us, thou, too, shalt sing the love
And power of God most high, where crystal streamlets flow.
Thy name, O Jeanne! on heaven’s scroll is placed,
With all who died that France might live for aye;
There shall thy brow with glory’s crown be graced,
Like royal queen upon her nuptial day.
THE SAINTS, offering to Jeanne the palm and crown:
With joy our loving eyes can see
The radiance that even now upon thy head streams down;
And from high heaven we bring to thee
The martyr’s glorious palm,
The martyr’s crown.
SAINT MICHAEL, presenting the sword:
Before the victory must come the fight,
Not yet the crown, not yet the palm can be.
Win them where honor doth defend the right.
Jeanne! dost thou hear the bugle call to thee?
THE SAINTS TOGETHER:
Thee will we guard throughout the fray;
And splendid victories shall thy banner grace.
On thy pure brow, one happy day,
Our hand the glorious aureole shall place.
With you, dear saints, no foe I fear;
Upon the Lord of hosts I wait.
What time the battle draweth near,
His arm shall send deliverance great.
Oh, how I love my fatherland,
France, oldest daughter of the cross;
That love to sacrifice is fanned;
For her I count as gain all loss.
Ah, no! I fear not now to die,
Who long, dear God, Thy Face to see;
Yet, as I go, oh ! hear my cry:
Comfort my mother tenderly!
And thou, Saint Michael, strengthen me.
Hark! for already all the elect in Heaven
Raise high their joyous chant, because they hear
The illustrious name of Martyr gladly given,
By Rome’s great Pontiff, to this maiden dear.
I hear the universe declare,
The virtues of this maid in warlike armor drest;
I hear God grant to her the rare
And grand and glorious title, Jeanne the Blest.
In those great days sore suff’ring France shall know,
And impious deeds shall make her fail and faint.
Then shall thy glory, Jeanne, more splendid grow,
And all pure souls shall then invoke the Saint.
The voices mount towards the skies,
Mingling with angel-choirs, whose songs our hopes enhance.
O Jeanne of Arc, now hear our cries!
A second time, a second time, save France!
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