The Huron Chief, and Other Poems

by Adam Kidd


 

NAPOLEON IN EXILE.


 

In the noon of thy fame, and the proud blaze of glory,
    Dark fate sent her mandate, and forced thee away—
As if dreading thy name, in the page of her story,
    Thou dread wonder of worlds—of kings the dismay.
     [Page 161]

On a wild barren rock in the bosom of ocean,
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    Where nought but the sea-fowl can willingly rest,
Thou art chained from the struggles of war’s fell commotion,
    And left to such pangs as may harass thy breast.

Yet—better, by far, thou hadst sunk in the battle,
    And closed thy career in the midst of the brave,
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Among clashing of arms, and war’s deadly rattle,
    Than walk down in silence to Helena’s grave.

Thou maker of kings, and dethroner of tyrants—
    Thou greatest of mortals this earth has yet known—
Not even the eye of the proudest aspirants
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    Dares look at the crowns made so easily thine own!

Yet, France must remember—let Bourbons deny it—
    If gratitude touch but one pulse of her heart—
Thou hast been her friend through both tumult and quiet,
    Though malice and envy their slander impart. [Page 162]
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But now, at the foot of a low bending willow,
    Shut out from the sound of the war-trumpet’s breath,
In the calm of repose—with a rock for thy pillow—
    Thou sleepest in silence—the long sleep of death.

Then, where are the trophies that victory brought thee—
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    And where are the diadems dragged from each throne,
When nations and kings with devotion have sought thee—
    Greatest monarch, and guide of the world alone?

’Tis all but a phantom—the dream of a minute—
    That flits from the circle where life makes a stand—
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And serves but to show, all the pleasures had in it
    Are not worth one half of the cares they command! [Page 163]