Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

TO MY NATIVE LAND, by             Poem Explanation         Poet's Biography
First Line: Awake! Arise! Shake off thy dreams!
Last Line: The wreck and ruin of what once was great!

Awake! arise! shake off thy dreams!
Thou art not what thou wert of yore:
Of all those rich, those dazzling beams,
That once illum'd thine aspect o'er
Show me a solitary one
Whose glory is not quenched and gone.

The harp remaineth where it fell,
With mouldering frame and broken chord;
Around the song there hangs no spell-
No laurel wreath entwines the sword;
And startlingly the footstep falls
Along thy dim and dreary halls.

When other men in future years,
In wonder ask, how this could be?
Then answer only by thy tears,
That ruin fell on thine and thee;
Because thyself wouldst have it so-
Because thou welcomedst the blow!

To stamp dishonour on thy brow
Was not within the power of earth;
And art thou agonised, when now
The hour that lost thee all thy worth,
And turned thee to the thing thou art,
Rushes upon thy bleeding heart?

Weep, weep, degraded one-the deed,
The desperate deed was all thine own:
Thou madest more than maniac speed
To hurl thine honours from their throne.
Thine honours fell, and when they fell
The nations rang thy funeral knell.

Well may thy sons be seared in soul,
Their groans be deep by night and day;
Till day and night forget to roll,
Their noblest hopes shall morn decay-
Their freshest flowers shall die by blight-
Their brightest sun shall set at night.

The stranger, as he treads thy sod,
And views thy universal wreck,
May execrate the foot that trod
Triumphant on a prostrate neck;
But what is that to thee? Thy woes
May hope in vain for pause or close.

Awake! arise! shake off thy dreams!
'Tis idle all to talk of power,
And fame and glory-these are themes
Befitting ill so dark an hour;
Till miracles be wrought for thee,
Nor fame nor glory shalt thou see.

Thou art forsaken by the earth,
Which makes a byword of thy name;
Nations, and thrones, and powers whose birth
As yet is not, shall rise to fame,
Shall flourish and may fall-but thou
Shalt linger as thou lingerest now.

And till all earthly power shall wane,
And Time's grey pillar, groaning, fall;
Thus shall it be, and still in vain
Thou shalt essay to burst the thrall
Which binds, in fetters forged by fate,
The wreck and ruin of what once was great.

Discover our Poem Explanations and Poet Analyses!

Other Poems of Interest...

Home: PoetryExplorer.net