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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Georgian Verse. 1909.


Sir Aubrey de Vere (1788–1846)

WHY have the Mighty lived—why have they died?

Is it ever thus with idle wreck to strew

Fields such as thine, remorseless Waterloo?

Hopeless the lesson! Vainly hath ever cried

Stern Fate to man—‘So perish human pride!’

Still must the Many combat for the Few:

Still must the noblest blood fair earth bedew:

Tyrants, slaves, freeman, mouldering side by side!

On such a day the World was lost, and won,

By Pompey at Pharsalia: such a day

Saw glorious Hannibal a fugitive:

So faded ’neath the Macedonian Sun

Persia’s pale star: so empire passed away

From Harold’s brow,—but He disdained to live!