An Elegiac Ode on the Death of Louis XVI
Ruin seize ye, lawless band
Destruction on your councils wait;
For stain'd by Murder's gory hand,
Humanity recoils from Fate.
Mark the year--abhor the sight,
When France re-murmur'd with affright:--
The shrieks of Anguish, borne on Echo's wing,
Proclaim'd the sorrows of a suff'ring King.
Such were the sounds that Gallia's Genius bore,
As slow she mov'd along the Belgic-shore,
Then on some ndoding cliff's projecting brow,
Shrinking, bemoan'd the horrors of the blow;
Fond to lament, though impotent to save,
She pour'd her sorrows for the good and brave;
And now inspir'd with all a Patriot's glow
She tun'd her lyre and struck the notes of Woe.
Did cruel Destiny ere shed
Such horrors on a Regal-Head;
Did ere once happy Monarch know,
Such sad reserve of heart-felt woe?
"Without a friend to close his eyes,"
The Parent groans--the Monarch dies:
Deny'd the blessings of a miscreant slave,
The sev'ring axe cosigns him to the grave--
Tho' Faction staind' the Sov'reign-bloomd,
And bid it wither in the tomb;
With seraph's flight, Religion came,
To strengthen Nature's feeble frame--
Clad in the splendor of the sky,
A whisp'ring cherub, wing'd on high,
With heav'nly light illum'd Death's awful way,
And chang'd his darkness to eternal day.
Ah, hapless Queen! Repress that sigh,
Thy happier stars may intervene--
Hope darts her ever radiant eye,
To calm Affliction's stormy-scene.
Hark! 'Tis the chorus of seraphic strain!
Triumphant shouts the Empyrean sky!
The Monarch murder'd--lives to joy again,
Crown'd, and array'd in immortality.
Now from life, and labours freed,
he receives his virtues' meed;
Tastes of bliss to men unknown,
Far above an earthly throne.
What, tho' no sculptur'd, marble-bust,
Is seen to grace his mould'ring-dust,
Yet Mem'ry shall his name revere;
For whilst the crystal song of Woe,
With tributary drops shall flow,
The best memorial is--the pitying tear.
Blow the brazen trump of War;
Erect the standard in the field!
Mars, high-throned in his car,
Displays the dire, ensanguin'd shield.
Stream wide your banners, roll the martial drums,
For England's champion, Royal Frederick, comes,
to right an injur'd nation's sov'reign cause,
Protect its freedom, and defend her laws;
To add new trophies to the opening year,
And curb Rebellion in its mad career--
Till Britain's vengeance on her foes be hurl'd,
And England rise the Mistress of the World.