Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S DAY, by ROBERT SOUTHEY



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ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S DAY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The night is come, no fears disturb
Last Line: And ye had joy in heaven.
Subject(s): Courts & Courtiers; Death; Despair; France; Freedom; Future Life; Guilt; Saints; Dead, The; Liberty; Retribution; Eternity; After Life


THE night is come, no fears disturb
The dreams of innocence;
They trust in kingly faith and kingly oaths,
They sleep—alas! they sleep!

Go to the palace wouldst thou know
How hideous night can be;
Eye is not closed in those accursed walls,
Nor heart at quiet there.

The monarch from the window leans,
He listens to the night,
And with a horrible and eager hope
Awaits the midnight bell.

Oh, he has hell within him now!
God, always art thou just!
For innocence can never know such pangs
As pierce successful guilt.

He looks abroad and all is still.
Hark!—now the midnight bell
Sounds through the silence of the night alone;
And now the signal gun!

Thy hand is on him, righteous God!
He hears the frantic shriek,
He hears the glorying yells of massacre,
And he repents too late.

He hears the murderer's savage shout,
He hears the groan of death;
In vain they fly,—soldiers defenceless now,
Women, old men, and babes.

Righteous and just art thou, O God!
For at his dying hour
Those shrieks and groans re-echoed in his ear
He heard that murderous yell!

They throng'd around his midnight couch
The phantoms of the slain,—
It preyed like poison on his powers of life,—
Righteous art thou, O God!

Spirits who suffered at that hour
For freedom and for faith,
Ye saw your country bent beneath the yoke,
Her faith and freedom crush'd.

And like a gaint from his sleep
Ye saw when France awoke;
Ye saw the people burst their double chain,
And ye had joy in heaven.





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