Verse > Anthologies > James and Mary Ford, eds. > Every Day in the Year
James and Mary Ford, eds.  Every Day in the Year.  1902.
March 13
Alexander II.
By Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–1882)
          Assassinated by the Nihilists in St. Petersburg on March 13, 1881.

FROM him did forty million serfs, endowed
  Each with six feet of death-due soil, receive
  Rich freeborn lifelong land, whereon to sheave
Their country’s harvest. These to-day aloud
Demand of Heaven a Father’s blood,—sore bowed        5
  With tears and thrilled with wrath; who, while they grieve,
  On every guilty head would fain achieve
All torment by his edicts disallowed.
He stayed the knout’s red-ravening fangs; and first
  Of Russian traitors, his own murderers go        10
  White to the tomb. While he,—laid foully low
With limbs red-rent, with festering brain which erst
Killed kingly freedom,—’gainst the deed accurst
  To God bears witness of his people’s woe.

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