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A Monarch's Death-Bed

Felicia Dorothea Hemans 1793 (Liverpool, Lancashire) – 1835 (Dublin, County Dublin)

A monarch on his death-bed lay -
Did censors waft perfume,
And soft lamps pour their silvery ray,
Thro' his proud chamber's gloom?
He lay upon a greensward bed,
Beneath a dark'ning sky -
A lone tree waving o'er his head,
A swift stream rolling by.

Had he then fall'n as warriors fall,
Where spear strikes fire with spear?
Was there a banner for his pall,
A buckler for his bier?
Not so;–nor cloven shields nor helms
Had strewn the bloody sod,
Where he, the helpless lord of realms,
Yielded his soul to God.

Were there not friends with words of cheer,
And princely vassals nigh?
And priests, the crucifix to rear
Before the glazing eye?
A peasant girl that royal head
Upon her bosom laid,
And, shrinking not for woman's dread,
The face of death survey'd.

Alone she sat: -– from hill and wood
Red sank the mournful sun;
Fast gush'd the fount of noble blood, -
Treason its worst had done!
With her long hair she vainly press'
The wounds, to staunch their tide -
Unknown, on that meek humble breast,
Imperial Albert died!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Felicia Dorothea Hemans

Felicia Dorothea Hemans was an English poet. Two of her opening lines, "The boy stood on the burning deck" and "The stately homes of England", have acquired classic status. more…

All Felicia Dorothea Hemans poems | Felicia Dorothea Hemans Books

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