The Virgin Maid of Orleans, Translation of Paul Verlaine’s La Pucelle
To Robert Caze*
Even as the blaze crackled around the stake’s pyre,
Joan was deafened by the clergy’s brutal chanting,
Harsh eyes with hate from all the windows demeaning,
She felt her flesh quiver and her soul budge on fire.
And like lambs that resold to the butcher expire
The shepherd roamed with country airs whistling
She reflected in earnest on things and being
And met her lord who ungrateful did conspire.
« It’s wrong, gentle Bastard, sweet Charles*, good Xaintrailles,
To let the English take charge of her funeral
She who forced them to abandon the siege of Orleans. »
And as for Lorraine, the very thought of that injury,
While death clasped in its arms the non-believers,
Weary ! She cried out just as another creature formerly.
• Acc. to Yves-Alain Favre, a journalist (1853-1886), slain in a duel.
• Charles the VII, crowned King at Rheims on July 17, 1429, with the help of Joan of Arc who was then aged 15. It was thought Charles VII may not have been the son of his father, Charles VI, owing to an extra-marital affaire with a Bavarian monarch.
• © T. Wignesan – Paris, 2013