Here blooms the legend fed with time and chance,
Fresh as the morning, though in centuries old;
The whitest lily in the shield of France,
With heart of virgin gold.
Along this square she moved, sweet Joan of Arc,
With face more pallid than a day-lit star,
Half seen, half doubted, while before her dark
Stretched the array of war.
Swift furled the battle-smoke of lying breath
From off her path, as if a wind had blown,
And showed no faithless king, but righteous death
On the low, wooden throne.
He would reward her; she who meekly wore
Alike her gilded mail and peasant gown,
Meekily recieved once earthly honor more, -
The formless, fiery crown.
A white dove trembled up the heated air,
And in the opening zenith found its goal;
Soft as a downward feather fell a prayer
For each repentant soul.
~Maria White Lowell