Janet Hamilton

1795-1873 / Scotland

The Child Of France

On the Birth of the Prince Imperial of France
Exhausted, faint, and pale,
A fair young mother lies-
She hears her babe's first wail,
And lifts her languid eyes;
For he, the Imperial Sire,
Her couch of suffering tends-
In his dark eyes the fire
Of pride and triumph blends.
And while his arms retain
The new-born child of France,
Ambition's phantom train
Through brain and bosom dance!
A shadowy line of kings
In long prospective rise,
On rush of eagle wings,
They cross his dreaming eyes.
A hundred cannons boom-
Loud vivas rend the air-
Ten thousand lights illume
The city of the heir.
The noble, brave, and fair,
The palace portals throng-
All earth deems rich and rare,
The admiring gaze prolong.
The regal splendours round
The wond'rous cot that holds
The worshipp'd heir, late found
His robes, embroider'd, folds
The ermine gems and lace
That drape the tiny form.
Shall o'er that placid face
Sweep Revolution's storm?
Shall madden'd thousands swell,
And rush like waves on shore,
Assail with blow and yell?
All this hath been before.
Pale Reichstadt, where art thou?
Bordeaux and Orleans, where?
Dead! exiles-wanderers now-
And this is France's heir.
The Sire hath rear'd a throne-
Perchance a funeral pyre.
Beneath chained thunders groan,
And glows volcanic fire;
An earthquake shock may rend
The hollow-heaving earth,
And from the gulf ascend
A newer, sterner birth!
The Titans of the press-
The powers of speech and mind-
Each in his dark recess,
Like Samson, shorn and blind-
May rise in strength and light,
And, chainless, walk abroad;
Their motto-Human right,
Our country, and our God!
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