As Freedom with eyes aglow
Smiled glad through her childbirth pain,
How was the mother to know
That her woe and travail were vain?
A smirking servant smiled
When she gave him her child to keep;
Did she know he would strangle the child
As it lay in his arms asleep?
Liberty’s cruellest shame!
She is stunned and speechless yet
In her grief and bloody sweat
Shall we make her trust her blame?
The treasure of ’Forty-Eight
A lurking jail-bird stole,
She can but watch and wait
As the swift sure seasons roll.
And when in God’s good hour
Comes the time of the brave and true,
Freedom again shall rise
With a blaze in her awful eyes
That shall wither this robber-power
As the sun now dries the dew.
This Place shall roar with the voice
Of the glad triumphant people,
And the heavens be gay with the chimes
Ringing with jubilant noise
From every clamorous steeple
The coming of better times.
And the dawn of Freedom waking
Shall fling its splendors far
Like the day which now is breaking
On the great pale Arch of the Star,
And back o’er the town shall fly,
While the joy-bells wild are ringing,
To crown the Glory springing
From the Column of July!
The Sphinx of the Tuileries
Out of the Latin Quarter
I came to the lofty door
Where the two marble Sphinxes guard
The Pavilion de Flore.
Two Cockneys stood by the gate, and one
Observed, as they turned to go,
“No wonder He likes that sort of thing,—
He’s a Sphinx himself, you know.”
I thought as I walked where the garden glowed
In the sunset’s level fire,
Of the Charlatan whom the Frenchmen loathe
And the Cockneys all admire.
They call him a Sphinx,—it pleases him,—
And if we narrowly read,
We will find some truth in the flunkey’s praise,
The man is a Sphinx indeed.
For the Sphinx with breast of woman
And face so debonair
Had the sleek false paws of a lion,
That could furtively seize and tear.
So far to the shoulders,—but if you took
The Beast in reverse you would find
The ignoble form of a craven cur
Was all that lay behind.
She lived by giving to simple folk
A silly riddle to read,
And when they failed she drank their blood
In cruel and ravenous greed.
But at last came one who knew her word,
And she perished in pain and shame,—
This bastard Sphinx leads the same base life
And his end will be the same.
For an Oedipus-People is coming fast
With swelled feet limping on,
If they shout his true name once aloud
His false foul power is gone.
Afraid to fight and afraid to fly,
He cowers in an abject shiver;
The people will come to their own at last,—
God is not mocked forever.