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The Death Of Conradin

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

No cloud to dim the splendour of the day
Which breaks o'er Naples and her lovely bay,
And lights that brilliant sea and magic shore
With every tint that charmed the great of yore-
The imperial ones of earth, who proudly bade
Their marble domes e'en Ocean's realm invade.

That race is gone - but glorious Nature here
Maintains unchanged her own sublime career,
And bids these regions of the sun display
Bright hues, surviving empires pass away.

The beam of heaven expands - its kindling smile
Reveals each charm of many a fairy isle,
Whose image floats, in softer colouring drest,
With all its rocks and vines, on Ocean's breast.
Misenum's cape hath caught the vivid ray,
On Roman streamers there no more to play;
Still, as of old, unalterably bright,
Lovely it sleeps on Posilippo's height,
With all Italia's sunshine to illume
The ilex canopy of Virgil's tomb.
Campania's plains rejoice in light, and spread
Their gay luxuriance o'er the mighty dead;
Fair glittering to thine own transparent skies,
Thy palaces, exulting Naples! rise:
While, far on high, Vesuvius rears his peak,
Furrowed and dark with many a lava streak.

Oh, ye bright shores of Circe and the Muse!
Rich with all Nature's and all fiction's hues;
Who shall explore your regions, and declare
The poet erred to paint Elysium there?
Call up his spirit, wanderer! bid him guide
Thy steps, those siren-haunted seas beside;
And all the scene a lovelier light shall wear,
What though his dust be scattered, and his urn
Long from its sanctuary of slumber torn,
Still dwell the beings of his verse around,
Hovering in beauty o'er the enchanted ground:
His lays are murmured in each breeze that roves
Soft o'er the sunny waves and orange-groves;
His memory's charm is spread o'er shore and sea,
The soul, the genius of Parthenope;
Shedding o'er myrtle shade and vine-clad hill
The purple radiance of Elysium still.

Yet that fair soil and calm resplendent sky
Have witnessed many a dark reality.
Oft o'er those bright blue seas the gale hath borne
The sighs of exiles never to return.
There with the whisper of Campania's gale
Hath mingled oft affection's funeral-wail,
Mourning for buried heroes - while to her
That glowing land was but her sepulchre.
And there, of old, the dread mysterious moan
Swelled from strange voices of no mortal tone
And that wild trumpet, whose unearthly note
Was heard, at midnight, o'er the hills to float
Around the spot where Agrippina died,
Denouncing vengeance on the matricide.

Passed are those ages - yet another crime,
Another woe, must stain the Elysian clime.
There stands a scaffold on the sunny shore -
It must be crimsoned ere the day is o'er!
There is a throne in regal pomp arrayed, -
A scene of death from thence must be surveyed.
Marked ye the rushing throngs? - each mien is pale,
Each hurried glance reveals a fearful tale:
But the deep workings of the indignant breast,
Wrath, hatred, pity, must be all suppressed;
The burning tear awhile must check its course,
The avenging thought concentrate all its force;
For tyranny is near, and will not brook
Aught but submission in each guarded look.

Girt with his fierce Provencals, and with mien
Austere in triumph, gazing on the scene,
And in his eye a keen suspicious glance
Of jealous pride and restless vigilance,
Behold the conqueror! Vainly in his face,
Of gentler feeling hope would seek a trace;
Cold, proud, severe, the spirit which hath lent
Its haughty stamp to each dark lineament;
And pleading mercy, in the sternness there,
May read at once her sentence - to despair!

But thou, fair boy! the beautiful, the brave,
Thus passing from the dungeon to the grave,
While all is yet around thee which can give
A charm to earth, and make it bless to live;
Thou on whose form hath swelt a mother's eye,
Till the deep love that not with thee shall die
Hath grown too full for utterance - Can it be?
And is this pomp of death prepared for
thee?

Young, royal Conradin! who shouldst have known
Of life as yet the sunny smile alone!
Oh! who can view thee, in the pride and bloom
Of youth, arrayed so richly for the tomb,
Nor feel, deep swelling in his inmost soul,
Emotions tyranny may ne'er control?
Bright victim! to Ambition's altar led,
Crowned with all flowers that heaven on earth can shed
Who, from the oppressor towering in his pride,
May hope for mercy - if to thee denied?
There is dead silence on the breathless throng,
Dead silence all the peopled shore along,
As o
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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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    "The Death Of Conradin" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 16 Jun 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/13565/the-death-of-conradin>.

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