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Felicia Dorothea Hemans

(25 September 1793 – 16 May 1835 / Liverpool, England)

A Monarch's Death-Bed


A monarch on his death-bed lay -
Did censors waft perfume,
And soft lamps pour their silvery ray,
Thro' his proud chamber's gloom?
He lay upon a greensward bed,
Beneath a dark'ning sky -
A lone tree waving o'er his head,
A swift stream rolling by.

Had he then fall'n as warriors fall,
Where spear strikes fire with spear?
Was there a banner for his pall,
A buckler for his bier?
Not so;–nor cloven shields nor helms
Had strewn the bloody sod,
Where he, the helpless lord of realms,
Yielded his soul to God.

Were there not friends with words of cheer,
And princely vassals nigh?
And priests, the crucifix to rear
Before the glazing eye?
A peasant girl that royal head
Upon her bosom laid,
And, shrinking not for woman's dread,
The face of death survey'd.

Alone she sat: -– from hill and wood
Red sank the mournful sun;
Fast gush'd the fount of noble blood, -
Treason its worst had done!
With her long hair she vainly press'
The wounds, to staunch their tide -
Unknown, on that meek humble breast,
Imperial Albert died!

Submitted: Thursday, April 08, 2010

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