Verse > Anthologies > Hunt and Lee, eds. > The Book of the Sonnet
Hunt and Lee, comps.  The Book of the Sonnet.  1867.
II. To Nicholas, Emperor of Russia
By Richard Chenevix Trench (1807–1886)
(On His Reported Conduct towards the Poles)

WHAT would it help to call thee what thou art?
  When all is spoken, thou remainest still
  With the same power, and the same evil will
  To crush a nation’s life out; to dispart
All holiest ties; to turn awry and thwart        5
  All courses that kind Nature keeps; to spill
  The blood of noblest veins; to maim, or kill
  With torture of slow pain, the aching heart.
When our weak hands hang useless, and we feel
  Deeds cannot be, who then would ease his breast        10
  With the impotence of words? But our appeal
Is unto Him who counts a nation’s tears;
  With whom are the oppressor and opprest,
  And vengeance, and the recompensing years.

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