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

Pultowa (Poltava)

The Battle of Pultowa

By Robert Southey (1774–1843)

ON Vorska’s glittering waves

The morning sunbeams play;

Pultowa’s walls are thronged

With eager multitudes;

Athwart the dusty vale

They strain their aching eyes,

Where to the fight moves on

The conqueror Charles, the iron-hearted Swede.

Him famine hath not tamed,—

The tamer of the brave.

Him winter hath not quelled;

When man by man his veteran troops sunk down,

Frozen to their endless sleep,

He held undaunted on.

Him pain hath not subdued;

What though he mounts not now

The fiery steed of war,

Borne on a litter to the field he goes.

Go, iron-hearted king!

Full of thy former fame;

Think how the humbled Dane

Crouched underneath thy sword;

Think how the wretched Pole

Resigned his conquered crown:

Go, iron-hearted king!

Let Narva’s glory swell thy haughty breast;

The death-day of thy glory, Charles, hath dawned!

Proud Swede! the sun hath risen

That on thy shame shall set!

Now, Patkul, may thine injured spirit rest!

For over that relentless Swede

Ruin hath raised his unrelenting arm;

For ere the night descends,

His veteran host destroyed,

His laurels blasted to revive no more,

He flies before the Muscovite.

Impatiently that haughty heart must bear

Long years of hope deceived;

Long years of idleness

That sleepless soul must brook.

Now, Patkul, may thy injured spirit rest!

To him who suffers in an honest cause

No death is ignominious; not to thee,

But upon Charles, the cruel, the unjust,—

Not upon thee, on him

The ineffaceable reproach is fixed,

The infamy abides.

Now, Patkul, may thine injured spirit rest!