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Denis Florence MacCarthy
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 123 pages of information about Poems.

As we trace its ancient pavement,
As we tread its roofless halls,
How alluring is the figure
Which this castle still recalls! 
For ’tis Queen Theodelinda
Whom its ruined arches frame,
And the passing breeze seems laden
With the music of her name.

As we gaze from ivied ramparts
On the storied lake below,
We forget the world about us
For the world of long ago,
When the Lombards had descended
From the mountains to the plain,
And all Italy lay mourning
For the thousands of her slain;

When their brave, ambitious leader,
Not content to make his home
By these northern lakes of beauty,
Had resolved to capture Rome! 
For no longer could her legions
His resistless course withstand,
And the road lay open, southward,
To the conquest of the land.

When his valiant host stood ready
And impatient for the start,
What reversed their king’s decision? 
What so changed the warlord’s heart? 
’Twas the passionate entreaty
Of his wife,—­a Christian queen;
’Twas the conquest of the pagan
By the lowly Nazarene.

Through her prayers Rome’s aged Pontiff
From the threatened doom was freed;
By her aid the Church was strengthened
As the king professed its creed;
And Saint Peter’s great successor,
Thus preserved from grievous loss,
Gave to her, his faithful daughter,
A true relic of the Cross.

What to pious Theodelinda
Could be recompense more sweet
Than the nail, forever sacred,
That once pierced her Saviour’s feet? 
Which, when rounded to a circlet,
(To fine wire beaten down,)
Then became the precious basis
Of the Lombards’ Iron Crown.

Through the ages that have followed
What a line of the Renowned
Have been proud to wear this emblem,
As they, each in turn, were crowned! 
Charlemagne, Charles Fifth, Napoleon,
German Kaisers by the score,
And at last poor King Umberto,
Basely slain at Monza’s door!

Since that coronet was fashioned
Fifteen centuries have passed
O’er the castle by Lake Como,
Where the good queen breathed her last;
But the Crown is still at Monza,
And its iron basic line
Tells the world of human glory
And the death of the Divine.

CONTRASTS

The wind is roaring down the lake,
The clear, cold moon rides high,
The mountains, crystal to their crests,
Indent the starlit sky;
The wild sea beats my garden-wall,
And all its peace transforms;
Dear Heart, how different is the lake
When swept by Alpine storms!

My soul to-night is dark and sad
From proofs of hate displayed,
From envy and rapacity,
And kindness ill-repaid;
The baseness of humanity
Hath spoiled a cherished dream;
Dear Heart, how different is the lake
When Evil reigns supreme!

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