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Ill-minded man! why scourge thy kind
Who bowed so low the knee?
By gazing on thyself grown blind,
With might unquestioned,-power to save
Thine only gift hath been the grave
To those that worshipped thee; Nor, till thy fall, could mortals guess Ambition's less than littleness!
Thanks for that lesson-it will teach
To after-warriors more
Than high Philosophy can preach,
And vainly preached 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 shout of Victory,
The sword, the sceptre, and that sway
Which man seemed made but to obey,
Wherewith renown was rife
All quelled!-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,
Chained by the trunk he vainly broke,
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, 3 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 abandoned power.
The Spaniard, when the lust of sway
Had lost its quickening spell,
Cast crowns for rosaries away,
A strict accountant of his beads,
A subtle disputant on creeds,
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;
And Earth hath spilt her blood for him,
Who thus can hoard his own!
And Monarchs bowed the trembling limb,
Fair Freedom! we may hold thee dear,
Thine evil deeds are writ in gore,
Thy triumphs tell of fame no more,
If thou hadst died as honour dies,
Some new Napoleon might arise,