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<< Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worms are spread under thee, and the worms cover thee :
How art thou cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations! ISAIAH.
HE whom plumed Victory placed upon her throne,
The despot lord of Europe, he is gone!
Whose power, whene'er its death-flag was unfurl'd,
Breathed out destruction o'er a trembling world:
All irresistible, it seem'd to bind,
As with a magic spell, the o'ermaster'd mind.
Cradled amid the storms of war, the child
Of anarchy fought well, and fortune smiled:
The consul would be emperor, enthroned
He play'd the tyrant; France obey'd, and groan'd.
Ambitious self-destroyer! grasping all,
'Till nations burst indignant from their thrall;
'Till the insulted master of the North
Awoke, and sent his hardy legions forth.
The mighty warrior flies, his men are lost,
Their strength avails not 'gainst a Scythian frost!
Baffled ambition scorns to feel: he eyed
Their stiffening corpses with a sullen pride,
Cursing his fallen star, that rose again
Terrific to his foes, and not in vain ;
'Till England with her lion-banner's might
Check'd the imperial eagle's second flight.
What were his feelings when an exile, far
From his once glorious theatre of war ?
Fame, conquest, empire vanishing-what left?
Life: but of all that gave him life bereft—
Unpitied, since he laughed at others' woe,
And hated, as an unrelenting foe.
With him were feasible, so vast his schemes,
Such plans as please a madman in his dreams.
As a high-crested dragon with his wings
Beats foemen down, he smote the pride of kings.
Self was his idol, self; 'twas nought to him
If thousands fell, so he might please his whim.
Was he a spirit sent to scourge mankind
For vice? to dazzle them till they were blind?
As potent as the magic shield of old *,
Withering the strength of all who dared behold.
He hated converse: his o'erweening pride
Taught him man's social pleasures to deride:
Men were his instruments, and he could have
Nothing in common with them but a grave.
As wave succeeding wave breaks on the shore,
Tyrants o'erleap their bounds and are no more.
His course was rapid, he has pass'd away,
In time's vast book a tale of yesterday;
And he who held the proudest kings in awe
Of his imperious will, to them a law,
Now lies alone in a far distant isle!
Well might philosophy at grandeur smile.
The ill Napoleon did we all well know,
Each day the good he might have done will show.
Through him Italia might again have been
Renown'd in arms as she of arts is queen;
Nor would the Austrian fox have dared by stealth
To snatch, though now he rudely takes her wealth.
*This wonderful shield belonged to Atlante, but afterwards was possessed by Ruggiero.-See ARIOSTO, Canto 2.
The cloud of selfishness will ne'er decrease
That glooms the prospect of a lasting peace, 'Till Christian kings the Christian maxim heed : God never doom'd mankind to crouch and bleed.
Like some frail exhalation which the dawn
Robes in its golden beams; ah, thou hast fled,
The brave, the gentle, and the beautiful!
The child of grace and beauty.-SHELLEY.
THY wooded hills, Firenze *, castle-crown'd,
In beautiful luxuriance rise around:
What sweetly-blended hues enchant the sight
As the sun 'gins to soften down his light!
On houses, olives, vineyards, crags, he glows,
All nature woos him as he smiles repose.
The purple-coloured Apennines appear
Like fairy-mountains painted in the air:
While o'er the fertile vale, where Arno flows,
The queen of beauty's sacred myrtle grows.
* Firenze, al cui splendore
Ogni bella cittate aspira indarno,
Inclita figlia d'Arno,
Che al Padre cingi d'ogni onore il crine, &c.