Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, RIZPAH, by ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

RIZPAH, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: How many sons, how many generations
Last Line: That lights towards hell his bondslaves and their czar.
Subject(s): Mothers; Poland; Rizpah (bible); Russia; Tragedy; Women - Bible; Soviet Union; Russians

How many sons, how many generations,
For how long years hast thou bewept, and known
Nor end of torment nor surcease of moan,
Rachel or Rizpah, wofullest of nations,
Crowned with the crowning sign of desolation.
And couldest not even scare off with hand or groan
Those carrion birds devouring bone by bone
The children of thy thousand tribulations?
Thou wast our warrior once; thy song long dead
Against a foe less foul than this made head,
Poland, in years that sound and shine afar;
Ere the east beheld in thy bright sword-blade's stead
The rotten corpse-light of the Russian star
That lights towards hell his bondslaves and their Czar.

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