Letitia Elizabeth Landon (1802-1838 / England)
Alexander And Phillip
HE stood by the river's side
A conqueror and a king,
None match'd his step of pride
Amid the armed ring.
And a heavy echo rose from the ground,
As a thousand warriors gather'd round.
And the morning march had been long,
And the noontide sun was high,
And weariness bow'd down the strong,
And heat closed every eye;
And the victor stood by the river's brim
Whose coolness seem'd but made for him.
The cypress spread their gloom
Like a cloak from the noontide beam,
He flung back his dusty plume,
And plunged in the silver stream;
He plunged like the young steed, fierce and wild,
He was borne away like the feeble child.
They took the king to his tent
From the river's fatal banks,
A cry of terror went
Like a storm through the Grecian ranks:
Was this the fruit of their glories won,
Was this the death for AMMON'S son?
Many a leech heard the call,
But each one shrank away;
For heavy upon all
Was the weight of fear that day:
When a thought of treason, a word of death,
Was in each eye, and on each breath.
But one with the royal youth
Had been from his earliest hour,
And he knew that his heart was truth,
And he knew that his hand was power;
He gave what hope his skill might give,
And bade him trust to his faith and live.
ALEXANDER took the cup,
And from beneath his head a scroll,
He drank the liquor up,
And bade PHILLIP read the roll;
And PHILLIP look'd on the page, where shame,
Treason, and poison were named with his name.
An angry flush rose on his brow,
And anger darken'd his eye,
What I have done I would do again now!
If you trust my fidelity.
The king watch'd his face, he felt he might dare
Trust the faith that was written there.
Next day the conqueror rose
From a greater conqueror free;
And again he stood amid those
Who had died his death to see:
He stood there proud of the lesson he gave
That faith and trust were made for the brave.
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