Christine de Pizan

Le Ditié de Jehanne d’Arc

Resource: A. J. Kennedy and K. Varty, Oxford: Society for the Study of Medieval Languages and Literature, 1977.

As the first poem to have been composed – in any language – on Jeanne d’Arc, the only major one to have been written while Jeanne was still alive, and the last from the pen of a distinguished poetess, the Ditié de Jehanne d’Arc has unique claims to fame. The extrinsic value of the Ditié as an historical document is self-evident. It was completed on 31 July 1429, in the midst of continuing successes on the part of the French army which had just taken Château-Thierry, on 29 July. With the brilliant victory at Orléans and the coronation at Rheims now behind them, Jeanne and Charles VII were expected to enter Paris at any moment, defeat the Anglo-Burgundian forces and thus bring to an end the long years of foreign occupation and civil strife.

What gives Christine’s poem its unique ‘documentary’ value is the fact that it vividly captures not only the surge of optimism and triumph that swept through the whole of the French camp at this time, but also the sense of wonder and gratitude which all loyal Frenchmen must have felt at the miraculous intervention of divine Providence in the person of Jeanne.

The Ditié de Jehanne d’Arc is Christine’s last surviving work and, two complete fifteenth-century manuscript versions of the poem are known, and one incomplete version which could be from the late fifteenth century but is more likely to be from the sixteenth century.

Christine de Pizan–Medieval Defender of Women

Christine de Pizan (1364-1431) was a late medieval French woman who may have been the first woman in history to make a living by writing. She is famous for a number of works of literature, but she is best known for her literary defenses of women. After the disastrous Battle of Agincourt in 1415, she retired to a convent. Her last work, Le Ditié de Jehanne d’Arc (written in 1429), is a lyrical, joyous outburst inspired by the early victories of Jeanne d’Arc; it is the only such French-language work written during Jeanne’s lifetime.

Christine de Pisan, (born 1364, Venice [Italy]—died c. 1430)

I

Je,Christine, qui ay plouré
XI ans en abbaye close,
Où j’ay tousjours puis demouré
Que Charles (c’est estrange chose!),
Le filz du roy, se dire l’ose,
S’en fouy de Paris de tire,
Par la traïson là enclose,
Ore à prime me prens à rire;

I, Christine, who have wept for eleven years in a walled
abbey where I have lived ever since Charles (how strange
this is!) the King’s son–dare I say it?–fled in haste
from Paris, I who have lived enclosed there on account of
the treachery, now, for the first time, begin to laugh;

II.

A rire bonement de joie
Me prens pour le temps yvernage
Qui se depart, où je souloie
Me tenir tristement en cage.
Mais or changeray mon langage
De pleur en chant, quant recouvré
Ay bon temps
Bien ma part avoir enduré.

I begin to laugh heartily for joy at the departure of the
wintry season, during which I was wont to live confined to
a dreary cage. But now I shall change my language from
one of tears to one of song, because I have found the
good season once again … well endured my share.

III

L’an mil CCCCXXIX
Reprint à luire li soleil.
Il ramene le bon temps neuf
Qu’on [n’] avoit veü de droit oil
Puis long temps, dont plusers en dueil
Orent vesqu; j’en suis de ceulx.
Mais plus de rien je ne me dueil,
Quant ores voy ce que [je] veulx.

In 1429 the sun began to shine again. It brings back the
good, new season which had not really been seen for a
long time–and because of that many people had lived
out their lives in sorrow; I myself am one of them. But I
no longer grieve over anything, now that I can see what I
desire.

IV

Si est bien le vers retourné
De grant dueil en joie nouvelle
Depuis le temps qu’ay sejourné
Là où je suis, et la tresbelle
Saison, que printemps on appelle,
La Dieu mercy, qu’ay desirée,
Où toute rien se renouvelle,
S’est du sec au vert temps tirée.

But since the time when I came to stay where I am the
situation has completely changed, great sorrow has given
way to new joy and, thanks be to God, the lovely season
called Spring, which I have longed for and in which every
creature/thing is renewed, has brought greenness out of
barren winter.

V

C’est que le degeté enfant
Du roy de France legitime,
Qui long temps a esté souffrant
Mains grans ennuiz, qui or aprime,
Se lieva ainsi que vers prime,
Venant comme roy coronné
En puissance tresgrande et fine,
Et d’espérons d’or espronné.

The reason is that the rejected child of the rightful King
of France, who has long suffered many a great misfortune
and who now approaches, rose up as if towards prime,
coming as a crowned King in might and majesty, wearing
spurs of gold.

VI

Or faisons feste à nostre roy!
Que tresbien soit-il revenu!
Resjoïz de son noble arroy,
Alons trestous, grant et menu,
Au devant — nul ne soit tenu! –
Menant joie le saluer,
Louant Dieu, qui l’a maintenu,
Criant “Noël!” en hault huer.

Now let us greet out King! Welcome to him on his return!
Overjoyed at the sight of his noble array, let us all,
both great and small, step forward to greet him joyously –
and let no one hold back – praising God, who has kept
him safe, and shouting ‘Noël!’ in a loud voice.

VII

Mais or vueil raconter comment
Dieu a tout ce fait de sa grace,
A qui je pri qu’avisement
Me doint, que rien je n’y trespasse.
Raconté soit en toute place,
Car ce est digne de mémoire,
Et escript, à qui que desplace,
En mainte cronique et hystoire!

But now I wish to relate how God, to whom I pray for
guidance lest I omit anything, accomplished all this
through His grace. May it be told everywhere, for it is
worthy of being remembered, and may it be written down –
no matter whom it may displease – in many a chronicle
and history-book!

VIII

Oyez par tout l’univers monde
Chose sur toute merveillable!
Notez se Dieu, en qui habonde
Toute grace, est point secourable
Au droit en fin. C’est fait notable,
Consideré le présent cas!
Si soit aux deceilz valable,
Que Fortune a flati à cas!

Now hear, throughout the whole world, of sornething which
is more wonderful than anything else! See if God, in
whom all grace abounds, does not in the end support
what is right. This is a fact worthy of note, given the
matter in band! And let it be of profit to the disillusioned,
whom Fortune has cast down!

IX

Et note[z] comment esbahir
Ne se doit nul pour infortune,
Se voiant à grant tort haïr,
Et courir sus par voix commune!
Voie[z] comment tousjours n’est une
Fortune, qui a nuit à maint!
Car Dieu, qui aux tors faiz repune,
Ceulx relieve en qui espoir maint.

And note how, when someone finds himself quite unjustly
attacked and hated on all sides, there is no need for such
a person to feel dismayed by misfortune. See how Fortune,
Who bas harmed many a one, is so inconstant, for God,
Who opposes all wrong deeds, raises up those in whom
hope dwells.

X

Qui vit doncques chose avenir
Plus hors de toute opinion
(Qui à noter et souvenir
Fait bien en toute région),
Que France (de qui mention
On faisoit que jus ert ruée)
Soit, par divine mission,
Du mal en si grant bien muée,

Did anyone, then, see anything quite so extraordinary
come to pass (something that is well Worth noting and
remembering in every region), namely, that France (about
whom it was said she had been cast down) should see
her fortunes change, by divine command, from evil to
such great good,

XI

Par tel miracle voirement
Que, se la chose n’yert notoire
Et évident quoy et comment,
Il n’est homs qui le peiist croire?
Chose est bien digne de mémoire
Que Dieu, par une vierge tendre,
Ait adès voulu (chose est voire!)
Sur France si grant grace estendre.

as the result, indeed, of such a miracle that, if the matter
were not so well-known and crystal-clear in every aspect,
nobody would ever believe it? It is a fact well Worth
remembering that God should nevertheless have wished
(and this is the truth!) to bestow such great blessings
on France, through a young virgin.

XII

0 quel honneur à la couronne
De France par divine preuve!
Car par les graces qu’Il lui donne
Il appert comment Il l’apreuve,
Et que plus foy qu’autre part treuve
En l’estat royal, dont je lix
Qu’oncques (ce n’est pas chose neuve!)
En foy n’errerent fleurs de lix.

And what honour for the French crown, this proof of
divine intervention! For all the blessings which God
bestows upon it demonstrate how much He favours it and
that He finds more faith in the Royal House than anywhere
else; as far as it is concerned, I read (and there is nothing
new in this) that the Lilies of France never erred in
matters of faith.

XIII

Et tu, Charles, roy des Francois,
VIIe d’icellui hault nom,
Qui si grant guerre as eue aincois
Que bien t’en prensist se peu non:
Mais, Dieu grace, or voiz ton renon
Hault eslevé par la Pucelle,
Qui a soubzmis soubz ton penon
Tes ennemis (chose est nouvelle!)

And you Charles, King of France, seventh of that noble
name, Who have been involved in such a great war before
things turned out at all well for you, now, thanks be to
God, see your honour exalted by the Maid Who has laid
low your enemies beneath your standard (and this is new!)

XIV

En peu de temps; que l’on cuidoit
Que ce feust com chose impossible
Que ton pays, qui se perdoit,
Reusses jamais. Or est visible-
Ment tien, [puis que] qui que nuisible
T’ait esté, tu l’as recouvré!
C’est par la Pucelle sensible,
Dieu mercy, qui y a ouvré!

in a short time; for it was believed quite impossible
that you should ever recover your country which you
were on the point of losing. Now it is manifestly yours
for, no matter who may have done you harm, you have
recovered it! And all this has been brought about by
the intelligence of the Maid who, God be thanked, has
played her part in this matter!

XV

Si croy fermement que tel grace
Ne te seroit de Dieu donnée,
Se à toy, en temps et espace,
Il n’estoit de Lui ordonnée
Quelque grant chose solempnée
A terminer et mettre à chief,
Et qu’Il t’ait donné destinée
D’estre de tresgrans faiz le chief.

And I firmly believe that God would never have bestowed
such grace upon you if it were not ordained by Him that
you should, in the course of time, accomplish and bring
to completion some great and solemn task; I believe
too that He has destined you to be the author of very
great deeds.

XVI

Car ung roy de France doit estre
Charles, filz de Charles, nommé,
Qui sur tous rois sera grant maistre.
Propheciez l’ont surnommé
“Le Cerf Volant,” et consomé
Sera par cellui conquereur
Maint fait (Dieu l’a à ce somé),
Et en fin doit estre empereur.

For there will be a King of France called Charles, son
of Charles, who will be supreme ruler over all Kings.
Prophecies have given him the name of ‘The Flying
Stag’, and many a deed will be accomplished by this
conqueror (God bas called him to this task) and in the
end he will be emperor.

XVII

Tout ce est le prouffit de t’ame.
Je prie à Dieu que cellui soies,
Et qu’Il te doint, sans le gref d’ame,
Tant vivre qu’encoures tu voyes
Tes enfans grans, et toutes joyes
Par toy et eulz soient en France!
Mais en servant Dieu toutesvoies,
Ne guerre [plus] n’y face oultrance!

All this is to the profit of your soul. I pray to God that
you may be the person I have described, and that He
grant you long life, to nobody’s harm, so that you may
yet see your children grown up, I pray too that all joy
come to France because of you and them! But, as you
serve God always, may war never cause havoc there
again (or by emending face to face[s]: ‘May you never
wage war to the death there again!’)

XVIII

Et j’ay espoir que bon seras,
Droiturier et amant justice,
Et [tres] tous autres passeras,
Mais qu’orgueil ton fait ne honnisse;
A ton pueple doulz et propice,
Et crairignant Dieu, qui t’a esleu
Pour son servant (si com prémisse
En as), mais que faces ton deu.

I hope that you will be good and upright, and a lover of
justice and that you will surpass all others, provided
your deeds are not tarnished by pride, that you will
be gentle and well-disposed towards your people, that
you will always love God who elected you as His servant
(and you have a first manifestation of this), on condition
that you do your duty.

XIX

Et comment pourras-tu jamais
Dieu mercier à souffisance,
Servir, doubter en tous tes fais,
Qui de si grant contrariance
T’a mis à paix, et toute France
Relevée de tel ruyne,
Quant sa tressainte providence
T’a fait de si grant honneur digne?

And how will you ever be able to thank God enough,
serve and fear Him in all your deeds (for He has led
you from such great adversity to peace and raised up
the whole of France from such ruin) when His most
holy providence made you worthy of such signal honour?

XX

Tu en soyes loué, hault Dieu!
A Toy gracier tous tenuz
Sommes, qui donné temps et lieu
As, où ces biens sont avenus.
[A] jointes mains, grans et menus,
Graces Te rendons, Dieu céleste,
Par qui nous sommes parvenus
A paix, et hors de grant tempeste!

May You be praised for this, great God! It is our bounden
duty to thank You who decreed time and place for these
blessings to come about. With hands clasped, both
great and small, we all thank You, Heavenly Lord, who
have guided us through the great tempest into peace
[ful water].

XXI

Et toy, Pucelle beneurée,
Y dois-tu estre obliée,
Puis que Dieu t’a tant honnorée
Que as la corde desliée
Qui tenoit France estroit liée?
Te pourroit-on assez louer
Quant ceste terre, humiliée
Par guerre, as fait de paix douer?

And you, blessed Maid, are you to be forgotten, given
that God honoured you so much that you untied the
rope which held France so tightly bound? Could one
ever praise you enough for having bestowed peace on
this land humiliated by war?

XXII

Tu, Jehanne, de bonne heure née,
Benoist soit cil qui te créa!
Pucelle de Dieu ordonnée,
En qui le Saint Esprit réa
Sa grant grace, en qui ot et a
Toute largesse de hault don,
N’onc requeste ne te véa.
Qui te rendra assez guerdon?

Blessed be He who created you, Joan, who were born
at a propitious hour! Maiden sent from God, into whom
the Holy Spirit poured His great grace, in whom [Le.
the Holy Spirit] there was and is an abundance of noble
gifts, never did Providence refuse you any request.
Who can ever begin to repay you?

XXIII

ue puet-il d’autre estre dit plus
Ne des grans faiz des temps passez?
Moÿses, en qui Dieu afflus
Mist graces et vertuz assez,
Il tira, sans estre lassez,
Le pueple de Dieu hors d’Egipte
Par miracle. Ainsi repassez
Nous as de mal, Pucelle eslite!

And what more can be said of any other person or of
the great deeds of the past? Moses, upon whom God
in His bounty bestowed many a blessing and virtue,
miraculously and indefatigably led God’s people out
of Egypt. In the same way, blessed Maid, you have
led us out of evil!

XXIV

Considerée ta personne,
Qui es une jeune pucelle,
A qui Dieu force et povoir donne
D’estre le champion et celle
Qui donne à France la mamelle
De paix et doulce norriture,
Et ruer jus la gent rebelle,
Véez bien chose oultre nature!

When we take your person into account, you who are a
young maiden, to whom God gives the strength and
power to be the champion who casts the rebels down
and feeds France with the sweet, nourishing milk of
peace, here indeed is something quite extraordinary!

XXV

Car, se Dieu fist par Josué
Des miracles à si grant somme,
Conquérant lieux, et jus rué
Y furent maint, il estoit homme
Fort et puissant. Mais, toute somme,
Une femme — simple bergiere –
Plus preux qu’onc homs ne fut à Romme!
Quant à Dieu, c’est chose legiere.

For if God performed such a great number of miracles
through Joshua who conquered many a place and cast
down many an enemy, he, Joshua, was a strong and
powerful man. But, after ail, a woman – a simple
shepherdess – braver than any man ever was in Rome!
As far as God is concerned, this was easily accom-
plished.

XXVI

Mais quant à nous, oncques parler
N’oÿsmes de si grant merveille,
Car tous les preux au long aler
Qui ont esté; ne s’appareille
Leur prouesse à ceste qui veille
A bouter hors noz ennemis.
Mais ce fait Dieu, qui la conseille,
En qui cuer plus que d’omme a mis.

But as for us, we never heard tell of such an extraord-
inary marvel, for the prowess of ail the great men of
the past cannot be compared to this woman’s whose
concern it is to cast out our enemies. This is God’s
doing: it is He who guides her and who has given her
a heart greater than that of any man.

XXVII

De Gedeon on fait grant compte,
Qui simple laboureur estoit,
Et Dieu le fist, ce dit le conte,
Combatre, ne nul n’arrestoit
Contre lui, et tout conquestoit.
Mais onc miracle si appert
Ne fist, quoy qu’Il ammonestoit,
Com pour ceste fait, il appert.

Much is made of Gideon, who was a simple workman,
and it was God, so the story tells, who made him fight;
nobody could stand firm before him and he conquered
everything. But whatever guidance God gave [him],
it is clear that He never performed so striking a miracle
as He does for this woman.

XXVIII

Hester, Judith et Delbora,
Qui furent dames de grant pris,
Par lesqueles Dieu restora
Son pueple, qui fort estoit pris,
Et d’autres plusers ay apris
Qui furent preuses, n’y ot celle,
Mains miracles en a pourpris.
Plus a fait par ceste Pucelle.

I have heard of Esther, Judith and Deborah, who were
women of great worth, through whom God delivered
His people from oppression, and I have heard of many
other worthy women as well, champions every one,
through them He performed many miracles, but He has
accomplished more through this Maid.

XXIX

Par miracle fut envoiée
Et divine amonition,
De l’ange de Dieu convoiée
Au roy, pour sa provision.
Son fait n’est pas illusion,
Car bien a esté esprouvée
Par conseil (en conclusion,
A l’effect la chose est prouvée),

She was miraculously sent by divine command and
conducted by the angel of the Lord to the King, in
order to help him. Her achievement is no illusion for
she was carefully put to the test in council (in short,
a thing is proved by its effect)

XXX

Et bien esté examinée
A, ains que l’on l’ait voulu croire,
Devant clers et sages menée
Pour ensercher se chose voire
Disoit, ainçois qu’il fust notoire
Que Dieu l’eust vers le roy tramise.
Mais on a trouvé en histoire
Qu’à ce faire elle estoit commise;

and well examined, before people were prepared to
believe her; before it became common knowledge that
God had sent her to the King, she was brought before
clerks and wise men so that they could find out if she
was telling the truth. But it was found in history
records that she was destined to accomplish her mission;

XXXI

Car Merlin et Sebile et Bede,
Plus de Vc ans a la virent
En esperit, et pour remede
En France en leurs escripz la mirent,
Et leur[s] prophecies en firent,
Disans qu’el pourteroit baniere
Es guerres françoises, et dirent
De son fait toute la maniere.

for more than 500 years ago, Merlin, the Sibyl and Bede
foresaw her coming, entered her in their writings as
someone who would put an end to France’s troubles,
made prophecies about her, saying that she would carry
the banner in the French wars and describing all that
she would achieve.

XXXII

Et sa belle vie, par foy,
Monstre qu’elle est de Dieu en grace;
Par quoy on adjouste plus foy
A son fait. Car, quoy qu’elle face,
Tousjours a Dieu devant la face,
Qu’elle appelle, sert et deprie
En fait, en dit; ne va en place
Où sa devotion detrie.

And, in truth, the beauty of her life proves that she
has been blessed with God’s grace – and for that reason
her actions are more readily accepted as genuine. For
whatever she does, she always has her eyes fixed on
God, to whom she prays and whom she invokes and
serves in word and deed; nowhere does her devotion
ever falter.

XXXIII

O comment lors bien y paru
Quant le siege ert devant Orliens,
Où premier sa force apparu!
Onc miracle, si com je tiens,
Ne fut plus cler, car Dieu aux siens
Aida telement, qu’ennemis
Ne s’aiderent ne que mors chiens.
Là furent prins et à mort mis.

Oh, how clear this was at the siege of Orléans where
her power was first made manifest! It is my belief
that no miracle was ever more evident, for God so came
to the help of His people that our enemies were unable
to help each other any more than would dead dogs.
It was there that they were captured and put to death.

XXXIV

Hee! quel honneur au femenin
Sexe! Que Dieu l’ayme il appert,
Quant tout ce grant pueple chenin,
Par qui tout le regne ert desert,
Par femme est sours et recouvert,
Ce que Cm hommes [fait] n’eussent,
Et les traictres mis à desert!
A peine devant ne le creussent.

Oh! What honour for the female sex! It is perfectly
obvious that God has special regard for it when all
these wretched people who destroyed the whole King
dom – now recovered and made safe by a woman, some
thing that 5000 men could not have done – and the
traitors [have been] exterminated. Before the event
they would scarcely have believed this possible.

XXXV

Une fillete de XVI ans
(N’est-ce pas chose fors nature?),
A qui armes ne sont pesans,
Ains semble que sa norriture
Y soit, tant y est fort et dure!
Et devant elle vont fuyant
Les ennemis, ne nul n’y dure.
Elle fait ce, mains yeulx voiant,

A little girl of sixteen (isn’t this something quite super
natural?) who does not even notice the weight of the
arms she bears – indeed her whole upbringing seems
to have prepared her for this, so strong and resolute
is she! And her enemies go fleeing before her, not
one of them can stand up to her. She does all this in
full view of everyone,

XXXVI

Et d’eulx va France descombrant,
En recouvrant chasteaulx et villes.
Jamais force ne fu si grant,
Soient ou à cens ou à miles!
Et de noz gens preux et abiles
Elle est principal chevetaine.
Tel force n’ot Hector n’Achilles!
Mais tout ce fait Dieu, qui la menne.

and drives her enemies out of France, recapturing
castles and towns. Never did anyone see greater
strength, even in hundreds or thousands of men! And
she is the supreme captain of our brave and able men.
Neither Hector nor Achilles had such strength! This
is God’s doing: it is He who leads her.

XXXVII

Et vous, gens d’armes esprouvez,
Qui faites l’execution,
Et bons et loyaulx vous prouvez,
Bien faire on en doit mention
(Louez en toute nation
Vous en serez!), et sans faillance
Parler sur toute election
De vous, et de vostre vaillance,

And you trusty men-at-arms who carry out the task
and prove yourselves to be good and loyal, one must
certainly make mention of you (you will be praised in
every nation!) and not fail to speak of you and your
valour in preference to everything else,

XXXVIII

Qui sanc, corps et vie exposez
Pour le droit, en peine si dure,
Et contre tous perilz osez
Vous aler mettre à l’avanture.
Soiés constans, car je vous jure
Qu’en aurés gloire ou ciel et los!
Car qui se combat pour droiture
Paradis gaingne, dire l’os.

you who, in pain and suffering, expose life and limb
in defence of what is right and dare to risk confronting
every danger. Be constant, for this, I promise, will
win you glory and praise in heaven. For whoever fights
for justice wins a place in Paradise – this I do venture
to say.

XXXIX

Si rabaissez, Anglois, voz cornes
Car jamais n’aurez beau gibier!
En France ne menez voz sornes!
Matez estes en l’eschiquier.
Vous ne [le] pensiez pas l’autrier,
Où tant vous monstriez perilleux;
Mais n’estiez encour ou santier,
Où Dieu abat les orguilleux.

And so, you English, draw in your horns for you will
never capture any good game! Don’t attempt any foolish
enterprise in France! You have been check-mated.
A short time ago, when you looked so fierce, you had no
inkling that this would be so; but you were not yet
treading the path upon which God casts down the proud.

XL

Ja cuidiés France avoir gaingnée,
Et qu’elle vous deust demourer.
Autrement va, faulse mesgnié[e]!
Vous irés ailleurs tabourer,
Se ne voulez assavourer
La mort, comme voz compaignons,
Que loups pevent bien devourer,
Car mors gisent par les sillons!

You thought you had already conquered France and that
she must remain yours. Things have turned out other-
wise, you treacherous lot! Go and beat your drums
elsewhere, unless you want to taste death, like your
companions, whom wolves may well devour, for their
bodies lie dead amidst the furrows!

XLI

Et sachez que par elle Anglois
Seront mis jus sans relever,
Car Dieu le veult, qui oit les voiz
Des bons qu’ilz ont voulu grever!
Le sanc des occis sans lever
Crie contre eulz. Dieu ne veult plus
Le souffrir, ains les reprouver
Comme mauvais, il est conclus.

And know that she will cast down the English for good,
for this is God’s will: He hears the prayer of the good
whom they wanted to harm! The blood of those who are
dead and have no hope of being brought back to life
again cries out against them. God will tolerate this
no longer – He has decided, rather, to condemn them
as evil.

XLII

En Christianté et l’Eglise
Sera par elle mis concorde.
Les mescreans dont on devise,
Et les herites de vie orde
Destruira, car ainsi l’acorde
Prophecie, qui l’a predit,
Ne point n’aura misericorde
De lieu, qui la foy Dieu laidit.

She will restore harmony in Christendom and the Church.
She will destroy the unbelievers people talk about, and
the heretics and their vile ways, for this is the substance
of a prophecy that has been made. Nor will she have
mercy on any place which treats faith in God with
disrespect.

XLIII

Des Sarradins fera essart,
En conquerant la Saintte Terre.
Là menra Charles, que Dieu gard!
Ains qu’il muire, fera tel erre.
Cilz est cil qui la doit conquerre.
Là doit-elle finer sa vie,
Et l’un et l’autre gloire acquerre.
Là sera la chose assovye.

She will destroy the Saracens, by conquering the Holy
Land. She will lead Charles there, whom God preserve!
Before he dies he will make such a journey. He is the
one who is to conquer it. It is there that she is to
end her days and that both of them are to win glory.
It is there that the whole enterprise will be brought to
completion.

XLIV

Donc desur tous les preux passez,
Ceste doit porter la couronne,
Car ses faiz ja monstrent assez
Que plus prouesse Dieu lui donne
Qu’à tous ceulz de qui l’on raisonne.
Et n’a pas encor tout parfait!
Si croy que Dieu ça jus l’adonne,
Afin que paix soit par son fait.

Therefore, in preference to all the brave men of times
past, this woman must wear the crown, for her deeds
show clearly enough already that God bestows more
courage upon her than upon all those men about whom
people speak. And she bas not yet accomplished her
whole mission! I believe that God bestows her here
below so that peace may be brought about through her
deeds.

XLV

Si est tout le mains qu’à faire ait
Que destruire l’Englecherie,
Car elle a ailleurs plus son hait
C’est que la Foy ne soit perie.
Quant des Anglois, qui que s’en rie
Ou pleure, il en est sué.
Le temps avenir moquerie
En sera fait. Jus sont rué!

And yet destroying the English race is not her main
concern for her aspirations lie more elsewhere: it is
her concern to ensure the survival of the Faith. As
for the English, whether it be a matter for joy or sorrow,
they are done for. In days to come scorn will be heaped
on them. They have been cast down!

XLVI

Et vous, rebelles rouppieux,
Qui à eulz vous estes adhers,
Or voiez-vous qu’il vous fust mieulx
D’estre alez droit que le revers,
Pour devenir aux Anglois serfs.
Gardez que plus ne vous aviengne
(Car trop avez esté souffers),
Et de la fin bien [vous] souviengne!

And all you base rebels who have joined them, you can
see now that it would have been better for you to have
gone forwards rather than backwards as you did, thereby
becoming the serfs of the English. Beware that more
does not befall you (for you have been tolerated long
enough!), and remember what the outcome will be!

XLVII

N’appercevez-vous, gent avugle,
Que Dieu a icy la main mise?
Et qui ne le voit est bien bugle,
Car comment seroit en tel guise
Ceste Pucelle ça tramise
Qui tous mors vous fait jus abatre?
— Ne force [n’]avez qui souffise!
Voulez-vous contre Dieu combatre?

Oh, all you blind people, can’t you detect God’s hand
in this? If you can’t, you are truly stupid for how else
could the Maid who strikes you all down dead have
been sent to us? – And you don’t have sufficient
strength! Do you want to fight against God?

XLVIII

N’a el le roy mené au sacre,
Que tousjours tenoit par la main?
Plus grant chose oncques devant Acre
Ne fu faite; car pour certain
Des contrediz y ot tout plain.
Mais, maulgré tous, à grant noblesse
Y fu receu, et tout à plain
Sacré, et là ouÿ la messe.

Has she not led the King with her own hand to his
coronation? No greater deed was performed at Acre;
for there were certainly plenty of opponents. But in
spite of everyone, he was most nobly received and
truly anointed, and there he heard mass.

XLIX

Atresgrant triumphe et puissance
Fu Charles couronné à Rains,
L’an mil CCCC, sans doubtance,
[Et XXIX, tout] sauf et sains,
Ou gens d’armes et barons mains,
Droit ou XVIIe jour
De juillet. [Pou plus ou pou mains’]
Par là fu V jours à sejour,

It was exactly on the 17th day of July 1429 that Charles
was, without any doubt, safely crowned at Rheims,
amidst great triumph and splendour and surrounded by
many men-at-arms and barons; and he stayed there for
approximately five days,

L

Avecques lui la Pucellette.
En retournant par son païs,
Cité ne chastel ne villete
Ne remaint. Amez ou haÿs
Qu’il soit, ou soient esbaïs
Ou asseurez, les habitans
Se rendent. Pou sont envahis,
Tant sont sa puissance doubtans!

with the little Maid. As he returns through his country,
neither city nor castle nor small town can hold out
against them. Whether be be loved or hated, whether
they be dismayed or reassured, the inhabitants surrender.
Few are attacked, so fearful are they of his power.

LI

Voir est qu’aucuns de leur folie
Cuident resister, mais peu vault,
Car au derrain, qui contralie,
A Dieu compere le deffault.
C’est pour neant. Rendre leur fault,
Vueillent ou non. N’y a si forte
Résistance qui à l’assault
De la Pucelle ne soit morte,

It is true that some, in their folly, think they can resist,
but this serves little purpose, for, in the end, whoever
does offer opposition must pay God for his mistake.
It is quite pointless. Whether they want to or not, they
must surrender. No matter how strong the resistance
offered, it collapses beneath the Maid’s assault,

LII

Quoy qu’on ait fait grant assemblée,
Cuidant son retour contredire
Et lui courir sur par emblée;
Mais plus n’y fault confort de mire,
Car tous mors et pris tire à tire
Y ont esté les contrediz,
Et envoyez, com j’oÿ dire,
En Enfer ou en Paradis.

even though huge forces were gathered together, in
order to launch a surprise attack and bar his return;
but there is no need for a doctor’s attentions now, for
all his opponents have been captured and killed, one
by one, and dispatched, so I’ve been told, to Heaven
or Hell.

LIII

Ne sçay se Paris se tendra
(Car encoures n’y sont-ilz mie),
Ne se la Pucelle attendra,
Mais s’il en fait son ennemie,
Je me doubt que dure escremie
Lui rende, si qu’ailleurs a fait.
S’ilz resistent heure ne demie,
Mal ira, je croy, de son fait,

I don’t know if Paris will hold out (for they have not
reached there yet) or if the Maid will delay [or if it will
resist the Maid]. But if it decides to see her as an
enemy, I fear that she will subject it to a fierce attack,
as she bas done elsewhere. If they offer resistance for
an hour, or even half an hour, it’s my belief that things
will go badly for them,

LIV

Car ens entrera, qui qu’en groingne!
— La Pucelle lui a promis.
Paris, tu cuides que Bourgoingne
Defende qu’il ne soit ens mis?
Non fera, car ses ennemis
Point ne se fait. Nul n’a puissance
Qui l’en gardast, et tu soubmis
Seras, et ton oultrecuidance!

for [the King] will enter Paris, no matter who may
grumble about it! – The Maid has given her word that
he will. Paris, do you think Burgundy will prevent
him from entering? By no means, for he does not see
himself as an enemy. Nobody has the power to prevent
him, and you will be overcome, you and your presumption!

LV

O Paris tresmal conseillié!
Folz habitans sans confiance!
Ayme[s]-tu mieulz estre essillié
Qu’à ton prince faire accordance?
Certes, ta grant contrariance
Te destruira, se ne t’avises!
Trop mieulx te feust par suppliance
Requerir mercy. Mal y vises!

Oh Paris, how could you be so ill-advised? Foolish
inhabitants, you are lacking in trust! Do you prefer to
be laid waste, Paris, rather than make peace with your
prince? If you are not careful your great opposition
will destroy you. It would bc far better for you if you
were to humbly beg for mercy. You are quite miscalculat-
ing!

LVI

J’entens des mauvais, car des bons
Y a maint, je n’en fais pas doubte,
Mais parler n’osent, j’en respons,
A qui moult il desplaist sans doubte
Que leur prince ainsi on deboute.
Si n’auront pas ceulx deservie
La punition où se boute
Paris, où maint perdront la vie.

It is the evil inhabitants I’m referring to, for there are
many good people there, I have no doubt about that;
but, take my word for it, these good people, who are
no doubt much displeased to see their prince rejected
in this way, do not dare speak out. They will not merit
the punishment which will fall upon Paris and cost
many a person his life.

LVII

Et vous, toutes villes rebelles,
Et gens qui avez regnié
Vostre seigneur, et ceulx et celles
Qui pour autre l’avez nié,
Or soit après aplaniè
Par doulceur, requerant pardon!
Car se vous este[s] manié
A force, à tart vendrez au don.

And as for you, all you rebel towns, all of you who
have renounced your lord, all of you men and women who
have transferred your allegiance to another, may every
thing now be peacefully settled, with you beseeching
his pardon! For if force is used against you, the gift
[i.e.of forgiveness] will come too late [i.e. not at all,
never].

LVIII

Et qu’i[l] ne soit occision
Faite, retarde tant qu’il puet,
Ne sur char d’omme incision,
Car de sang espandre se deult.
Mais, au fort, qui rendre ne veult
Par bel et doulceur ce qu’est sien,
Se par force en effusion
De sang le recouvre, il fait bien.

And so as to avoid killing and wounding anyone [the
King] delays for as long as he can, for the spilling of
blood grieves him. But, in the end, if someone does
not want to hand over, with good grace, what is rightly
his, he is perfectly justified if he does recover it by
force and bloodshed.

LIX

Helas! Il est si debonnaire
Qu’à chascun il veult pardonner!
Et la Pucelle lui fait faire,
Qui ensuit Dieu. Or ordonner
Vueillez voz cueurs et vous donner
Comme loyaulx François à lui!
Et quant on l’orra sermonner
N’en serés reprins de nulluy.

Alas! He is so magnanimous that he wishes to pardon
each and everyone. And it is the Maid, the faithful
servant of God, who makes him do this. Now as loyal
Frenchmen submit your hearts and yourselves to him!
And when you hear him speak, you will not be reproached
by anyone.

LX

Si pry Dieu qu’Il mecte en courage
A vous tous qu’ainsy le faciez,
Afin que le cruel orage
De ces guerres soit effaciez,
Et que vostre vie passiez
En paix, soubz vostre chief greigneur,
Si que jamais ne l’offensiez
Et que vers vous soit bon seigneur.
Amen

And I pray to God that He will prevail upon you to act
in this way, so that the cruel storm of these wars may
be erased from memory and that you may live your lives
in peace, always loyal to your supreme ruler, so that
you may never offend him and that he may be a good
overlord to you. Amen.

LXI

Donné ce Ditié par Christine,
L’an dessusdit mil CCCC
Et XXIX, le jour où fine
Le mois de juillet. Mais j’entens
Qu’aucuns se tendront mal contens
De ce qu’il contient, car qui chiere
A embrunche, et les yeux pesans,
Ne puet regarder la lumiere.

This poem was completed by Christine in the above
mentioned year, 1429, on the last day of July. But I
believe that some people will bc displeased by its
contents, for a person whose head is bowed and whose
eyes are heavy canne look at the light.

Explicit ung tresbel Ditié fait par Christine.

Explicit a very beautiful poem composed by Christine.

Resource: A. J. Kennedy and K. Varty, Oxford: Society for the Study of Medieval Languages and Literature, 1977.