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

Mexico: Queretaro

Maximilian at Queretaro

By Margaret Junkin Preston (1820–1897)

Poor Carlotta

THE SCION of immemorial lines,

August with histories hoary,

Whose grand, imperial heirship shines

With the starriest names of story,—

Stands doomed to die:—and the grenadiers

In serried and silent column,

Their pitiless eyes half hazed with tears,

Are waiting the signal solemn.

The brave young Emperor lifts his brow,—

It never has shown so regal;

Yet it is not the pride of the Hapsburg now,

Nor the glance of the clefted eagle.

No blazing coronet binds his head,

No ermined purple is round him;

But his manhood’s majesty instead

With royaller rank has crowned him.

An instant’s space he is caught away

To Schönbrunn’s peaceful bowers;

There ’s a lightning-dazzle of boyhood’s day;

Vienna’s glittering towers

Flash back with a mocking, blinding glare;

To barter such princely splendor,

For wrecked ambition and stark despair,

Betrayal and base surrender!

Wild, infinite, taunting memories thrill

His soul to its molten centre;

Remorses that madden him clamor still,

But he will not let them enter.

The grovelling traffic of time all done,

He would have the temple lonely,

Its sanctuaries emptied one by one,

That God may fill it only.

But under the Austrian skies afar,

Aglow with a light elysian,

The mullioned windows of Miramar

Loom out on his tortured vision:

He looks on its gray abeles again;

He is threading its pleachèd alleys;

He is guiding his darling’s slackened rein,

As they scour the dimpled valleys.

He can gaze his last on the earth and sky,—

Step forth to his doom, nor shiver,—

Eternity front his steadfast eye,

And never a muscle quiver:

But love’s heart-rackings, despairs, and tears

Wrench the fixt lips asunder;

“My poor Carlotta!”—Now, grenadiers,

Your volley may belch its thunder!