Verse > Oscar Wilde > Poems

Oscar Wilde (1854–1900).  Poems.  1881.

5. Louis Napoleon

EAGLE of Austerlitz! where were thy wings 
    When far away upon a barbarous strand, 
    In fight unequal, by an obscure hand, 
Fell the last scion of thy brood of Kings! 
Poor boy! thou wilt not flaunt thy cloak of red,         5
    Nor ride in state through Paris in the van 
    Of thy returning legions, but instead 
Thy mother France, free and republican, 
Shall on thy dead and crownless forehead place 
    The better laurels of a soldier’s crown,  10
    That not dishonoured should thy soul go down 
To tell the mighty Sire of thy race 
That France hath kissed the mouth of Liberty, 
    And found it sweeter than his honied bees, 
    And that the giant wave Democracy  15
Breaks on the shores where Kings lay crouched at ease. 



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