Rouen, Place de la Pucelle

Here blooms the legend, fed by Time and Chance,     

    Fresh as the morning, though with centuries old, 

The whitest lily on the shield of France,        

    With heart of virgin gold. 


Along the square she moved, sweet Joan of Arc,     

    With face more pallid than a daylit star, 

Half-seen, half-doubted, while before her dark        

    Stretched the array of war. 


Swift passed the battle-smoke of lying breath     

    From off her path, as if a wind had blown, 

Showing no faithless King, but righteous Death        

    On the low wooden throne. 


He would reward her: she who meekly wore     

    Alike the gilded mail and peasant gown, 

As meekly now received one 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, dropped a prayer        

    For each repentant soul.




Today's poem is in the public domain.

About This Poem
After Joan of Arc's execution, her mother led a push to reverse her conviction for heresy. On this date in 1456, the Church court assembled to address the matter posthumously acquitted her.
Anthology Featuring Lowell

(Rutgers University Press, 1992)











July 7, 2013

Maria White was born on July 8, 1821, in Watertown, Massachusetts. Her husband, fellow poet James Russell Lowell, had her poems collected and published after her death in 1853.
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