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The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 3/Napoleon's Farewell

NAPOLEON'S FAREWELL.[1]

[FROM THE FRENCH.]

1.

Farewell to the Land, where the gloom of my Glory
Arose and o'ershadowed the earth with her name—
She abandons me now—but the page of her story,
The brightest or blackest, is filled with my fame.[2]
I have warred with a World which vanquished me only
When the meteor of conquest allured me too far;
I have coped with the nations which dread me thus lonely,
The last single Captive to millions in war.


2.

Farewell to thee, France! when thy diadem crowned me,
I made thee the gem and the wonder of earth,—
But thy weakness decrees I should leave as I found thee,[3]
Decayed in thy glory, and sunk in thy worth.
Oh! for the veteran hearts that were wasted
In strife with the storm, when their battles were won—
Then the Eagle, whose gaze in that moment was blasted
Had still soared with eyes fixed on Victory's sun![4]


3.

Farewell to thee, France!—but when Liberty rallies
Once more in thy regions, remember me then,—
The Violet still grows in the depth of thy valleys;
Though withered, thy tear will unfold it again—
Yet, yet, I may baffle the hosts that surround us,
And yet may thy heart leap awake to my voice—
There are links which must break in the chain that has bound us,
Then turn thee and call on the Chief of thy choice!

July 25, 1815. London.
[First published, Examiner, July 30, 1815.]


  1. ["We need scarcely remind our readers that there are points in these spirited lines, with which our opinions do not accord; and, indeed, the author himself has told us that he rather adapted them to what he considered the speaker's feelings than his own."—Examiner, July 30, 1815.]
  2. The brightest and blackest are due to my fame.—[MS.]
  3. But thy destiny wills ——.—[MS.]
  4. Oh for the thousands of Those who have perished
    By elements blasted, unvanquished by man
    Then the hope which till now I have fearlessly cherished,
    Had waved o'er thine eagles in Victory's van.—[MS.]