Winter 1956 • Vol. XVIII No. 1 Poetry |

Stanzas to Be Placed under Fouquet’s Madonna

With Gallic understanding and the lead France always shows to straightened English minds—For Donne and Crashaw took good time to read Christ's passion into lovers and their need—Fouquet seduces converts to his god With this fair breast, a bloodless globe to bleed. Court painter to a maiden warrior's king, Did he remember how that saint seduced The vanquished of Agincourt to break the ring Round Orleans; and did he think to bring To mind those leaping flames, the Hell she bore, By scarlet mourning angels with outstretched wing? And yet this virgin's beauty is as pale And ashen-hued as that grisaille cloth She holds beneath her son (some filmy mail About the child keeps from him yet the stale Grey linen—portent of His winding sheet, Prophetic of Golgotha's death-rent veil). And why should Fouquet find it strange to pour The saintliness of Joan and the holiness Of Mary into Charles the Seventh's whore, When Alberti built a chapel at the roar Of Malatesta while the age

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