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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

Death’s Epitaph

By Philip Freneau (1752–1832)

[From The Poems of Philip Freneau. 1786.—Poems Written During the Revolutionary War, etc. 3d Ed. 1809.]

DEATH in this tomb his weary bones hath laid,

Sick of dominion o’er the human kind—

Behold what devastations he hath made,

Survey the millions by his arm confined.

Six thousand years has sovereign sway been mine,

None, but myself, can real glory claim;

Great Regent of the world I reigned alone,

And princes trembled when my mandate came.

Vast and unmatched throughout the world my fame

Takes place of gods, and asks no mortal date—

No: by myself, and by the heavens, I swear,

Not Alexander’s name is half so great.

Nor swords nor darts my prowess could withstand,

All quit their arms, and bowed to my decree,

Even mighty Julius died beneath my hand,

For slaves and Cæsars were the same to me!

Traveller, would’st thou his noblest trophies seek,

Search in no narrow spot obscure for those;

The sea profound, the surface of all land,

Is moulded with the myriads of his foes.