The sword, the sceptre, and that sway
Which man seemed made but to obey,
Wherewith renown was rife—
All quelled!—Dark Spirit! what must be
The madness of thy memory!
The Desolator desolate!
The Victor overthrown!
The Arbiter of others' fate
A Suppliant for his own!
Is it some yet imperial hope
That with such change can calmly cope?
Or dread of death alone?
To die a Prince—or live a slave—
Thy choice is most ignobly brave!
He who of old would rend the oak,
Dreamed not of the rebound;
Chained by the trunk he vainly broke—
Alone—how looked he round?
- [Added in Proof v.]
- [The first four lines of stanza v. were quoted by "Mr. Miller in the House of Representatives of the United States," in a debate on the Militia Draft Bill (Weekly Messenger, Boston, February 10, 1815). "Take warning," he went on to say, "by this example. Bonaparte split on this rock of conscription," etc. This would have pleased Byron, who confided to his Journal, December 3, 1813 (Letters, 1898, ii. 360), that the statement that "my rhymes are very popular in the United States," was "the first tidings that have ever sounded like Fame to my ears."]
- ["Like Milo, he would rend the oak; but it closed again, wedged his hands, and now the beasts—lion, bear, down to the dirtiest jackal—may all tear him,"—Journal, April 8, 1814, Letters, 1898, ii. 408. For the story of Milo and the Oak, see Valerius Maximus, Factorum, Dictorumque Memorabilium, lib, ix. cap. xii. Part II. example 9.]