Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, DEATH-BED OF ALEXANDER THE GREAT, by LETITIA ELIZABETH LANDON



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DEATH-BED OF ALEXANDER THE GREAT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: On his bed the king was lying
Last Line: The warriors of the world!
Alternate Author Name(s): L. E. L.; Maclean, Letitia
Subject(s): Alexander The Great (356-323 B.c.); Death; Dead, The


ON his bed the king was lying --
On his purple bed;
"Tell us not that he is dying;"
So his soldiers said,
"He is yet too young to die.
Have ye drugged the cup ye gave him,
From the fatal spring?
Is it yet too late to save him?
We will see our king!
Let his faithful ones draw nigh,
The silver-shielded warriors --
The warriors of the world!"

Back they fling the fragrant portals
Of the royal tent;
Vainly to the stern immortals
Sacrifice and vow were sent.
Cold and pitiless are they!
Silent in their starry dwelling,
Nothing do they heed
Of the tale that earth is telling,
In her hour of need!
They have turned their face away,
Ye silver-shielded warriors,
Ye warriors of the world!

In that royal tent is weeping;
Women's tears will flow;
There the queens their watch are keeping
With a separate woe.
One still wears her diadem --
One her long fair hair is rending,
From its pearls unbound;
Tears from those soft eyes descending,
Eyes that seek the ground.
But Roxana looks on them,
The silver-shielded warriors,
The warriors of the world!

In the east the day was reddening,
When the warriors pass'd;
In the west the night was deadening,
As they looked their last;
As they looked their last on him --
He, their comrade -- their commander --
He, the earth's adored --
He, the godlike Alexander!
Who can wield his sword?
As they went their eyes were dim,
The silver-shielded warriors,
The warriors of the world!

Slowly passed the sad procession
By the purple bed;
Every soldier in succession
Thro' that tent was led.
All beheld their monarch's face --
Pale and beautiful -- reclining,
There the conqueror lay,
From his radiant eyes the shining
Had not passed away.
There he watched them from his place --
His silver-shielded warriors,
His warriors of the world!

Still he was a king in seeming,
For he wore his crown;
And his sunny hair was streaming
His white forehead down.
Glorious was that failing head!
Still his golden baldric bound him,
Where his sword was hung:
Bright his arms were scattered round him,
And his glance still clung
To the warriors by his bed --
The silver-shielded warriors,
The warriors of the world!

Pale and motionless he rested,
Like a statue white and cold,
With his royal state invested;
For the purple and the gold
In his latest hour he wore.
But the eye and breath are failing,
And the mighty Soul has fled!
Lift ye up the loud bewailing,
For a wide world mourns the Dead;
And they have a Chief no more --
The silver-shielded warriors,
The warriors of the world!





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