Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ON THE DEATH OF ALEXANDER, EMPEROR OF THE RUSSIAS, by JOHN GARDINER CALKINS BRAINARD



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ON THE DEATH OF ALEXANDER, EMPEROR OF THE RUSSIAS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Napoleon died upon helena's rock
Last Line: That wraps his relics round, o! These are worth them all.
Subject(s): Alexander I, Czar Of Russia (1777-1825)


NAPOLEON died upon Helena's rock; --
Round and beneath were piled and stored the waves,
Might and fathomless. Atlantic's shock
Recoiled, and through its deepest, coldest caves,
Of pillared spar and coral architraves,
Did ocean's homage to that strange man's death.
Bad was he, but yet great. Of kings, of slaves,
Of popes, the equal dread. His latest breath
Fell where the waters washed to shore his sea-green wreath.
But thou, by Asian Azof's shallow pool,
Where the Don pours its tributary mud,
Where nought but cold Cimmerian blasts have rule,
And Kalmuck's hungry Tartars fight for food;
Thou, whom we once thought wise, and great, and good --
Peace, such as thou didst wish to all, abide
With thee -- a despot's peace. So let the flood
Of memory stagnate round thee, like the tide
That washes Taganrok from Azof's shallowest side.
Then let the Cossack trail his barb'rous lance,
And learn to do the obsequies of Czars;
Teach his wild horse around thy grave to prance,
And know the sounds of amens from hurras.
He, paid in plunder for his wounds and scars,
Rejoices that another chance may come,
When southward, in the strife of Turkish wars,
That horse shall hear Tambourgi's muffled drum,
And trample, not as now, on many a lordly tomb.
Fair Liberty! Nor he of Helen's Isle,
Nor he of Azof's side, were born of thee;
Children of cruelty, long nursed by guile,
They claim no tear of tribute from the free.
Then let the despots rest. But where is he
Who, pure in life, majestic in his fall,
Lay down beneath his native cedar-tree?
Potomac's wave, Mount Vernon's grassy pall,
That wraps his relics round, O! these are worth them all.






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