Mary Hannay Foott
Ave Caesar! Morituri te salutant
The coup d'etat is blotted out
With fresher blood, with blacker crime,
As midnight horrors put to rout
The vaguer ghosts of twilight-time.
“Greeting from those who are to die!
Hail Caesar!” Draw the curtains round.
In vain! That mournful mocking cry
Pierces the purple with its sound.
And they who raise it enter too,
With spectral looks and noiseless tread,
Unbidden, hold their dread review,
Beside the Emperor's very bed.
They sought in his deserted tent;
They found him in the German camp.
They tarry till the oil be spent
That feeds his life's poor flickering lamp.
The hope of France, the “gilded youth,”
So answering the trumpet's peal
As if revealing how, in sooth,
The gilding oft o'erlies the steel.
Soldiers Algeria's sun has spared;
Heroes from Russia's fire and frost;
Grey veterans, scarred and scanty-haired,
Who wept at word of eagles lost.
Workmen, who leave the rattling looms
To ply, perforce, a deadlier trade;
Students, who quit their cloudy rooms
To step within a heavier shade.
Slow-breaking hearts that suffer long,
Blinded and chilled 'neath love's eclipse;
Singing no more the happy song
By horror frozen on their lips.
From castled cities battle-proof,
They press to the accusing ranks,
From cottage walls, from canvas roof,
Ere passing to the Stygian banks.
The thousands famine yet shall waste,
The holocaust disease will claim,
As to God's Judgment-Bar they haste,
They gaze on him who is to blame.
“Hail Caesar!” While Napoleon's star
From yon horizon beams “Farewell!”
Setting in exile, where, afar,
The children of St. Louis dwell.
Come from the past, once-dreaded ghosts,
Whose number and whose names he knew!
The future plants, at countless posts,
Sentries more terrible than you!
Mary Hannay Foott's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (Ave Caesar! Morituri te salutant by Mary Hannay Foott )
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)
Harivansh Rai Bachchan
(27 November 1907 – 18 January 2003)
(8 February 1911 – 6 October 1979)
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
- Inspiration, Henry David Thoreau
- If, Rudyard Kipling
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
- Daffodils, William Wordsworth
- No Man Is An Island, John Donne
- As I Grew Older, Langston Hughes
- Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep, Mary Elizabeth Frye
Poem of the Day
- Solitudinarian, hafiz qasim
- The Secret, Hazel Durham
- MG CLUB, lee fones
- True Beauty, Michael P. McParland
- Coma, Fabrizio Frosini
- Tribute To The Pet Shop Boys, Michael P. McParland
- Tribute To Freddie Mercury, Michael P. McParland
- Hail! The Coming Year, Anthony Di'anno
- Treat, Michael P. McParland
- Touched, Michael P. McParland