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Percy Bysshe Shelley

(1792-1822 / Horsham / England)

Otho


I.
Thou wert not, Cassius, and thou couldst not be,
Last of the Romans, though thy memory claim
From Brutus his own glory--and on thee
Rests the full splendour of his sacred fame:
Nor he who dared make the foul tyrant quail
Amid his cowering senate with thy name,
Though thou and he were great--it will avail
To thine own fame that Otho’s should not fail.

II.
'Twill wrong thee not—thou wouldst, if thou couldst feel,
Abjure such envious fame--great Otho died
Like thee--he sanctified his country’s steel,
At once the tyrant and tyrannicide,
In his own blood—a deed it was to bring
Tears from all men—though full of gentle pride,
Such pride as from impetuous love may spring,
That will not be refused its offering.

Submitted: Thursday, April 01, 2010

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