terros of ancient Kings
Descend from the gloom and wander thro' the palace, and weep round the King
and his Nobles;
While loud thunders roll, troubling the dead. Kings are sick throughout all the earth!
voice ceas'd: the Nation sat; and the triple forg'd fetters of times were unloos'd.
The voice ceas'd: the Nation
sat; but ancient darkness and trembling wander thro' the palace.
As in day of havoc and routed battle among thick shades of discontent, On the soul-skirting mountains
of sorrow cold waving, the Nobles fold round the King;
Each stern visage lock'd up as with strong bands
of iron, each strong limb bound down as with marble,
In flames of red wrath burning, bound in astonishment
a quarter of an hour.
Then the King glow'd: his Nobles fold round, like the sun of old time quench'd in clouds;
In their darkness
the King stood; his heart flam'd, and utter'd a with'ring heat, and these words burst forth:
`The nerves of five thousand years' ancestry tremble, shaking the heavens of France;
Throbs of anguish
beat on brazen war foreheads; they descend and look into their graves.
I see thro' darkness, thro' clouds
rolling round me, the spirits of ancient Kings
Shivering over their bleachèd bones; round them their counsellors
look up from the dust,
Crying: "Hide from the living! Our bonds and our prisoners shout in the open field.
in the nether earth! Hide in the bones! Sit obscurèd in the hollow scull!
Our flesh is corrupted, and we
wear away. We are not numberèd among the living. Let us hide
In stones, among roots of trees. The
prisoners have burst their dens.
Let us hide! let us hide in the dust! and plague and wrath and tempest
He ceas'd, silent pond'ring; his brows folded heavy, his forehead was in affliction.
central fire from the window he saw his vast armies spread over the hills,
Breathing red fires from man to
man, and from horse to horse: then his bosom
Expanded like starry heaven; he sat down: his Nobles took
their ancient seats.
Then the ancientest Peer, Duke of Burgundy, rose from the Monarch's right hand, red as wines
mountains; an odour of war, like a ripe vineyard, rose from his garments,
And the chamber became as
a clouded sky; o'er the Council he stretch'd his red limbs
Cloth'd in flames of crimson; as a ripe vineyard
stretches over sheaves of corn,
The fierce Duke hung over the Council; around him crowd, weeping in his
A bright cloud of infant souls: his words fall like purple autumn on the sheaves:
`Shall this marble-built heaven become a clay cottage, this earth an oak stool, and these mowers
the Atlantic mountains mow down all this great starry harvest of six thousand years?
And shall Necker,
the hind of Geneva, stretch out his crook'd sickle o'er fertile France,
Till our purple and crimson is faded
to russet, and the kingdoms of earth bound in sheaves,
And the ancient forests of chivalry hewn, and the
joys of the combat burnt for fuel;
Till the power and dominion is rent from the pole, sword and sceptre
from sun and moon,
The law and gospel from fire and air, and eternal reason and science From the
deep and the solid, and man lay his faded head down on the rock
Of eternity, where the eternal lion and
eagle remain to devour?
This to prevent, urg'd by cries in day, and prophetic dreams hovering in night,
enrich the lean earth that craves, furrow'd with ploughs, whose seed is departing from her,
have gather'd thy starry hosts round this rebellious city,
To rouse up the ancient forests of Europe, with
clarions of cloud-breathing war,
To hear the horse neigh to the drum and trumpet, and the trumpet and
war shout reply.
Stretch the hand that beckons the eagles of heaven: they cry over Paris, and wait
Fayette point his finger to Versailles--the eagles of heaven must have their prey!'
He ceas'd, and burn'd silent: red clouds roll round Necker; a weeping is heard o'er the palace.
Like a dark
cloud Necker paus'd, and like thunder on the just man's burial day he paus'd.
Silent sit the winds, silent
the meadows; while the husbandman and woman of weakness
And bright children look after him into the
grave, and water his clay with love,
Then turn towards pensive fields: so Necker paus'd, and his visage
was cover'd with clouds.
The King lean'd on his mountains; then lifted his head and look'd on his armies, that shone
tinging morning with beams of blood; then turning to Burgundy, troubled:--
`Burgundy, thou wast born a
lion! My soul is o'ergrown with distress For the Nobles of France, and dark mists roll round me and