Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

A Romance of the Days of Jeanne D'Arc - Joan of Arc
by Andrew Lang


It serves not to speak of my later fortunes, being those of a private man, nor have I the heart to recall old sorrows. We were wedded when Elliot's grief had in some sort abated, and for one year we were happier than God has willed that sinful men should long be in this world. Then that befell which has befallen many. I may not write of it: suffice it that God took from me both her and her child. Then, after certain weeks and days of which I am blessed enough to keep little memory, I forswore arms, and served in the household of the Lady Margaret of Scotland, who married the Dauphin on an unhappy day. I have known much of Courts and of the learned, I have seen the wicked man exalted, and Brother Thomas Noiroufle in great honour with Charles VII. King of France, and offering before him, with his murderous hands, the blessed sacrifice of the Mass.

The death of the Lady Margaret, slain by lying tongues, and the sudden sight of that evil man, Brother Thomas, raised to power and place, drove me from France, and I was certain years with the King's ambassadors at the Courts of Italy. There I heard how the Holy Inquisition had reversed that false judgment of the English and false French at Rouen, which made me some joy. And then, finding old age come upon me, I withdrew to my own country, where I have lived in religion, somewhile in the Abbey of Dunfermline, and this year gone in our cell of Pluscardine, where I now write, and where I hope to die and be buried.

Here ends my tale, in my Latin Chronicle left untold, of how a Scots Monk was with the Maid both in her victories and recoveries of towns, and even till her death.

For myself, I now grow old, and the earthly time to come is short, and there remaineth a rest for all souls Christian. Miscreants I have heard of, men misbelieving and heretics, who deny that the spirit abides after the death of the body, for in the long years, say they, the spirit with the flesh wanes, and at last dies with the bodily death. Wherein they not only make Holy Church a liar, but are visibly confounded by this truth which I know and feel, namely, that while my flesh wastes hourly towards old age, and of many things my memory is weakened, yet of that day in Chinon I mind me as clearly, and see my love as well, and hear her sweet voice as plain, as if she had but now left the room.

Herein my memory does not fail, nor does love faint, growing stronger with the years, like the stream as it races to the fall. Wherefore, being more strong than Time, Love shall be more strong than Death. The river of my life speeds yearly swifter, the years like months go by, the months like weeks, the weeks like days. Even so fleet on, O Time, till I rest beside her feet! Nay, never, being young, did I more desire my love's presence when we were apart than to-day I desire it, the memory of her filling all my heart as fragrance of flowers fills a room, till it seems as if she were not far away, but near me, as I write of her. And, foolish that I am! I look up as if I might see her by my side. I know not if this be so with all men, for, indeed, I have asked none, nor spoken to any of the matter save in confession. For I have loved this once, and no more; wherefore I deem me happier than most, and more certain of a good end to my love, where the blessed dwell in the Rose of Paradise, beholding the Beatific Vision.

To this end I implore the prayers of all Christian souls who read this book, and of all the Saints, and of that Sister of the Saints whom, while I might, I served in my degree.



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