Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  Death of Antony

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Africa: Vol. XXIV. 1876–79.

Egypt, Nubia, and Abyssinia: Alexandria

Death of Antony

By William Haines Lytle (1826–1863)

I AM dying, Egypt, dying!

Ebbs the crimson life-tide fast,

And the dark Plutonian shadows

Gather on the evening blast.

Let thine arm, O queen, support me!

Hush thy sobs and bow thine ear,

Hearken to the great heart secrets,

Thou, and thou alone, must hear.

Though my scarred and veteran legions

Bear their eagles high no more,

And my wrecked and shattered galleys

Strew dark Actium’s fatal shore;

Though no glittering guards surround me,

Prompt to do their master’s will,

I must perish like a Roman,—

Die the great Triumvir still.

Let not Cæsar’s servile minions

Mock the lion thus laid low;

’T was no foeman’s hand that slew him,

’T was his own that struck the blow.

Hear, then, pillowed on thy bosom,

Ere his star fades quite away,

Him who, drunk with thy caresses,

Madly flung a world away!

Should the base plebeian rabble

Dare assail my fame at Rome,

Where the noble spouse, Octavia,

Weeps within her widowed home.

Seek her,—say the gods have told me,

Altars, augurs, circling wings,

That her blood, with mine commingled,

Yet shall mount the throne of kings.

And for thee, star-eyed Egyptian!

Glorious sorceress of the Nile,

Light the path to Stygian horrors

With the splendors of thy smile.

Give the Cæsar crowns and arches,

Let his brow the laurel twine;

I can scorn the Senate’s triumphs,

Triumphing in love like thine.

I am dying, Egypt, dying;

Hark! the insulting foeman’s cry:

They are coming,—quick, my falchion!

Let me front them ere I die.

Ah! no more amid the battle

Shall my heart exulting swell;

Isis and Osiris guard thee,—

Cleopatra! Rome! farewell!