KIND solace in a dying hour!
Such, father, is not (now) my theme -
I will not madly deem that power
Of Earth may shrive me of the sin
Unearthly pride hath revell'd in -
I have no time to dote or dream:
You call it hope - that fire of fire!
It is but agony of desire:
If I can hope - Oh God! I can -
Its fount is holier - more divine -
I would not call thee fool, old man,
But such is not a gift of thine.
Know thou the secret of a spirit
Bow'd from its wild pride into shame.
O! yearning heart! I did inherit
Thy withering portion with the fame,
The searing glory which hath shone
Amid the jewels of my throne,
Halo of Hell! and with a pain
Not Hell shall make me fear again -
O! craving heart, for the lost flowers
And sunshine of my summer hours!
Th' undying voice of that dead time,
With its interminable chime,
Rings, in the spirit of a spell,
Upon thy emptiness - a knell.
I have not always been as now:
The fever'd diadem on my brow
I claim'd and won usurpingly -
Hath not the same fierce heirdom given
Rome to the Caesar - this to me?
The heritage of a kingly mind,
And a proud spirit which hath striven
Triumphantly with human kind.
On mountain soil I first drew life:
The mists of the Taglay have shed
Nightly their dews upon my head,
And, I believe, the winged strife
And tumult of the headlong air
Have nestled in my very hair.
So late from Heaven - that dew - it fell
(Mid dreams of an unholy night)
Upon me - with the touch of Hell,
While the red flashing of the light
From clouds that hung, like banners, o'er,
Appeared to my half-closing eye
The pageantry of monarchy,
And the deep trumpet-thunder's roar
Came hurriedly upon me, telling
Of human battle, where my voice,
My own voice, silly child! - was swelling
(O! how my spirit would rejoice,
And leap within me at the cry)
The battle-cry of Victory!
The rain came down upon my head
Unshelter'd - and the heavy wind
Was giantlike - so thou, my mind! -
It was but man, I thought, who shed
Laurels upon me: and the rush -
The torrent of the chilly air
Gurgled within my ear the crush
Of empires - with the captive's prayer -
The hum of suiters - and the tone
Of flattery 'round a sovereign's throne.