Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, AWAITING THE GUILLOTINE, 1794, by ANDRE MARIE CHENIER

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

AWAITING THE GUILLOTINE, 1794, by                
First Line: As a last zephyr, or the last warm ray
Last Line: For you alone to live has any worth.
Subject(s): Capital Punishment; Chenier, Andre Marie De (1762-1794); French History - Reign Of Terror; Hanging; Executions; Death Penalty

As a last zephyr, or the last warm ray,
Gladdens the closing day,
Thus at the scaffold's foot my lyre I try,
My turn perchance draws nigh.
Perchance before this hour in circle led
Has o'er the dial sped,
Before the sixty little steps that bound
Its course be travelled round,
The sleep of death shall on my lids recline,
And ere the second line
Be written of the couplet I begin,
Perchance these walls within
Death's herald, black recruiter of pale ghosts
Led by his murdering hosts,
Shall, with my name, fill these long corridors.

Save me! Preserve one arm
To hurl your thunder-bolts. One Lover, sworn
To wreck full vengeance for each harm
By thee, my country, borne.
What! die before my quiver all is spent?
Till I have torn, and rent,
Trod under foot, and kncaded into clay,
Those ruffians who with Justice play:
Those shameless tyrants who would France destroy,
France, murdered, butchered France, O thou, my joy!
My scathing pen, gall, fury, deathless hate,
Until revenge I sate
You are my only gods; henceforth
For you alone to live has any worth.

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