Thou Timour! in his captive's cage
What thoughts will there be thine,
While brooding in thy prisoned rage?
But one—"The world was mine!"
Unless, like he of Babylon,
All sense is with thy sceptre gone,
Life will not long confine
That spirit poured so widely forth—
So long obeyed—so little worth!
Or, like the thief of fire from heaven,
Wilt thou withstand the shock?
And share with him, the unforgiven,
His vulture and his rock!
- There Timour in his captive cage.—[First Proof.]
- The cage of Bajazet, by order of Tamerlane.
[The story of the cage is said to be a fable. After the battle of Angora, July 20, 1402, Bajazet, whose escape from prison had been planned by one of his sons, was chained during the night, and placed in a kafes (kàfess), a Turkish word, which signifies either a cage or a grated room or bed. Hence the legend.—Hist. de l' Empire Othoman, par J. von Hammer-Purgstall, 1836, ii. 97.]
- [Presumably another instance of "careless and negligent ease."]
- ["Have you heard that Bertrand has returned to Paris with the account of Napoleon's having lost his senses? It is a report; but, if true, I must, like Mr. Fitzgerald and Jeremiah (of lamentable memory), lay claim to prophecy."—Letter to Murray, June 14, 1814, Letters, 1899, iii, 95.]
He suffered for kind acts to men
Who have not seen his like again,
At least of kingly stock
Since he was good, and thou but great
Thou canst not quarrel with thy fate.—[First Proof, stanza x.]