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On the Death of the Duke of Reichstadt.
HEIR of that name
Which shook with sudden terror the far earth
Child of strange destinies e'en from thy birth,
When kings and princes round thy cradle came,
And gave their crowns, as playthings, to thine hand,
Thine heritage the spoils of many a land !
How were the schemes
Of human foresight baffled in thy fate,
Thou victim of a parent's lofty state !
What glorious visions filled thy father's dreams,
When first he gazed upon thy infant face,
And deemed himself the Rodolph of his race !
Scarce had thine eyes Beheld the light of day, when thou wert bound With power's vain symbols, and thy young brow crowned
With Rome's imperial diadem :—the prize From priestly princes by thy proud sire won, To deck the pillow of his cradled son.
Yet where is now
The sword that flashed as with a meteor light,
And led on half the world to stirring fight;
Bidding whole seas of blood and carnage flow?
Alas! when foiled on his last battle plain,
Its shattered fragments forged thy father's chain.
Far worse thy fate
Than that which doomed him to the barren rock;
Through half the universe was felt the shock,
When down he toppled from his high estate;
And the proud thought of still acknowledged power,
Could cheer him e'en in that disastrous hour.
But thou, poor boy! .
Hadst no such dreams to cheat the lagging hours,
Thy chains still galled, tho' wreathed with fairest flowers;
Thou hadst no images of by-gone joy,
No visions of anticipated fame,
To bear thee through a life of sloth and shame.
And where was she, Whose proudest title was Napoleon's wife? She who first gave, and should have watched thy life,
Trebling a mother's tenderness for thee, Despoiled heir of empire ? On her breast Did thy young head repose in its unrest?
No! round her heart
Children of humbler, happier lineage twined,
Thou couldst but bring dark memories to mind
Of pageants where she bore a heartless part;
She who shared not her monarch-husband's doom
Cared little for her first-born's living tomb.
Thou art at rest !
Child of Ambition's martyr :-life had been
To thee no blessing, but a dreary scene
Of doubt and dread and suffering at the best;
For thou wert one, whose path, in these dark times,
Would lead to sorrows-it may be to crimes.
Thou art at rest !
The idle sword has worn its sheath away,-
The spirit has consumed its bonds of clay,–
And they, who with vain tyranny comprest
T'hy soul's high yearnings, now forget their fear,
And fling ambition's purple o'er thy bier !
I THANK thee, Father, that the night is near
When I this conscious being may resign;
Whose only task thy words of love to hear,
And in thy acts to find each act of mine;
A task too great to give a child like me,
The myriad-handed labors of the day,
Too many for my closing eyes to see,
Thy words too frequent for my tongue to say ;
Yet when thou seest me burthened by thy love,
Each other gift more lovely then appears,
For dark-robed night comes hovering from above,
And all thine other gifts to me endears;
And while within her darkened couch I sleep, Thine eyes untired above will constant vigils keep.
Why, dotard, wouldst thou longer groan
Beneath a weight of years and wo-
Thy youth is lost, thy pleasures flown,
And age proclaims, “ 'Tis time to go.”
To willows sad and weeping yews
With us awhile, old man, repair ;
Nor to the vault thy steps refuse,
Thy constant home must soon be there.
To summer suns and winter moons
Prepare to bid a long, adieu,
Autumnal seasons shall return
And spring shall bloom, but not for you.
Why so perplexed with cares and toil
To rest upon this darksome road;
'Tis but a thin, a thirsty soil,
A barren and a bleak abode.