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The triumph, and the vanity,
The rapture of the strife— (1)
To thee the breath of life;
Wherewith renown was rife-
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-
He (2) 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?
And darker fate hast found :
The Roman, (3) when his burning heart
Was slaked with blood of Rome, Threw down the dagger-dared depart,
In savage grandeur, home.-
Yet left him such a doom !
The Spaniard, 4) when the lust of sway
Had lost its quickening spell,
An empire for a cell;
His dotage trifled well :
But thou—from thy reluctant hand
The thunderbolt is wrung-
To which thy weakness clung ;
To see thine own unstrung;
And Earth hath spilt her blood for him,
Who thus can hoard his own! And Monarchs bow'd the trembling limb,
And thank'd him for a throne ! Fair Freedom! we may hold thee dear, When thus thy mightiest foes their fear
In humblest guise have shown. Oh! ne'er may tyrant leave behind A brighter name to lure mankind!
Thine evil deeds are writ in
gore, Nor written thus in vain
Thy triumphs tell of fame no more,
Or deepen every stain-
To shame the world again-
Weigh'd in the balance, hero dust
Is vile as vulgar clay;
To all that pass away;
To dazzle and dismay;
And she, proud Austria's mournful flower,
Thy still imperial bride;
Still clings she to thy side?
Thou throneless Homicide?