Page images

Must she too bend, must she too share Thy late repentance, long despair,

Thou throneless Homicide?

If still she loves thee, hoard that gem, 'Tis worth thy vanish'd diadem !

Then haste thee to thy sullen Isle,
And gaze upon the sea;

That element may meet thy smile-
It ne'er was ruled by thee!
Or trace with thine all idle hand
In loitering mood upon the sand
That Earth is now as free!

That Corinth's pedagogue hath now
Transferr'd his by-word to thy brow.

Thou Timour! in his captive's cage What thoughts will there be thine, While brooding in thy prison'd rage?

But one-"The world was mine!" Unless, like he of Babylon,

All sense is with thy sceptre gone,
Life will not long confine

That spirit pour'd so widely forth—
So long obey'd-so little worth!

Or, like the thief of fire from heaven,
Wilt thou withstand the shock?
And share with him, the unforgiven,
His vulture and his rock!
Foredoom'd by God-by man accurst,
And that last act, though not thy worst,
The very Fiend's arch mock;
He in his fall preserved his pride,
And, if a mortal, had as proudly died!

There was a day-there was an hour, While earth was Gaul's-Gaul thineWhen that immeasurable power

Unsated to resign

Had been an act of purer fame
Than gathers round Marengo's name,
And gilded thy decline

Through the long twilight of all time,
Despite some passing clouds of crime.

But thou forsooth must be a king,
And don the purple vest,—
As if that foolish robe could wring
Remembrance from thy breast.
Where is that faded garment? where
The gewgaws thou wert fond to wear,
The star-the string—the crest?
Vain froward child of empire! say,
Are all thy playthings snatch'd away?

Where may the wearied eye repose
When gazing on the Great;
Where neither guilty glory glows,
Nor despicable state?

Yes-one-the first-the last—the best—

The Cincinnatus of the West,

Whom envy dared not hate, Bequeath'd the name of Washington,

To make man blush there was but one!


WE do not curse thee, Waterloo !
Though Freedom's blood thy plain bedew ;
There 'twas shed, but is not sunk-
Rising from each gory trunk,
Like the water-spout from ocean,'
With a strong and growing motion-
It soars, and mingles in the air,
With that of lost Labedoyère-
With that of him whose honour'd grave
Contains the "bravest of the brave."
A crimson cloud it spreads and glows,
But shall return to whence it rose ;
When 'tis full 'twill burst asunder-

Never yet was heard such thunder

As then shall shake the world with wonderNever yet was seen such lightning

As o'er heaven shall then be bright'ning!

Like the Wormwood Star foretold

By the sainted Seer of old,

Show'ring down a fiery flood,

Turning rivers into blood.

The Chief has fallen, but not by you,

Vanquishers of Waterloo !




Thanks for that lesson-it will teach
To after-warriors more

Than high Philosophy can preach,
And vainly preach'd before.
That spell upon the minds of men
Breaks never to unite again,

That led them to adore

Those Pagod things of sabre sway,
With fronts of brass, and feet of clay.

The triumph, and the vanity,
The rapture of the strife—
The earthquake voice of Victory,
To thee the breath of life;
The sword, the sceptre, and that sway
Which man seem'd made but to obey,
Wherewith renown was rife-

All quell'd!-Dark Spirit! what must be
The madness of thy memory!

The Desolator desolate ?

The Victor overthrown!
The Arbiter of others' fate

A Suppliant for his own!

Is it some yet imperial hope

That with such change can calmly cope?
Or dread of death alone?

To die a prince—or live a slave—
Thy choice is most ignobly brave!

He who of old would rend the oak,
Dream'd not of the rebound;
Chain'd by the trunk he vainly broke-
Alone-how look'd he round?

Thou in the sternness of thy strength
An equal deed hast done at length,
And darker fate hast found;
He fell, the forest prowlers' prey;
But thou must eat thy heart away!

The Roman, when his burning heart Was slaked with blood of Rome, Threw down the dagger-dared depart, In savage grandeur, home.

He dared depart in utter scorn

Of men that such a yoke had borne,

Yet left him such a doom!

His only glory was that hour
Of self-upheld abandon'd power.

The Spaniard, when the lust of sway
Had lost its quickening spell,
Cast crowns for rosaries away,
An empire for a cell;

A strict accountant of his beads,
A subtle disputant on creeds,
His dotage trifled well :

Yet better had he neither known

A bigot's shrine, nor despot's throne.

But thou-from thy reluctant hand

The thunderbolt is wrung

Too late thou leav'st the high command

To which thy weakness clung;

All Evil Spirit as thou art,

It is enough to grieve the heart

To see thine own unstrung;

To think that God's fair world hath been The footstool of a thing so mean;

« PreviousContinue »