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

Various Islands: St. Helena

Napoleon at Rest

By John Pierpont (1785–1866)

HIS falchion flashed along the Nile,

His host he led through Alpine snows,

O’er Moscow’s towers, that blazed the while,

His eagle-flag unrolled—and froze!

Here sleeps he now, alone!—not one,

Of all the kings whose crowns he gave

Bends o’er his dust; nor wife nor son

Has ever seen or sought his grave.

Behind the sea-girt rock the star

That led him on from crown to crown

Has sunk, and nations from afar

Gazed as it faded and went down.

High is his tomb: the ocean flood,

Far, far below, by storms is curled,—

As round him heaved, while high he stood,

A stormy and unstable world.

Alone he sleeps: the mountain cloud,

That night hangs round him, and the breath

Of morning scatters, is the shroud

That wraps the conqueror’s clay in death.

Pause here! The far-off world at last

Breathes free; the hand that shook its thrones,

And to the earth its mitres cast,

Lies powerless now beneath these stones.

Hark! Comes there from the pyramids,

And from Siberian wastes of snow,

And Europe’s hills, a voice that bids

The world be awed to mourn him?—No!

The only, the perpetual dirge

That ’s heard here, is the sea-bird’s cry,—

The mournful murmur of the surge,

The cloud’s deep voice, the wind’s low sigh.