Albert Pike

(1809-1891 / USA)

France - Poem by Albert Pike

Wake! children of France! shall your tyrant forever
Enslave and enchain you, and trample you down?
Do you fear the sharp fetters that gall you to sever,
And tear from the brow of the despot his crown?

Up! children of France! Let the flag that you honor,
Be once more the flag of the free and the brave!
Your country is chained; the Philistines are on her;
Who heeds not her call is both coward and knave.

If you have but one spark of the spirit that lighted
The souls of your fathers, exhibit it now;
And sheathe not the sword till your wrongs are all righted,
Though blood to the reins of your horses should flow.

Ye fear not the throne, nor its base truckling minions;
On, on to the contest with cuirass and lance!
Till your eagles again spread their conquering pinions,
And peace and security reign over France.

Let the pale monarchs quake! for their thrones shall be shaken!
Let them league once again, as they leagued once before!
Their fury and madness, when France shall awaken,
Will be like the ocean-wave chafing the shore.

Up! men of gay France!—Your poor children upbraid you,
Your gray-headed parents cry out on your shame:
Up! up! and your ancestors' spirits will aid you,
Your tyrant to humble, your taskmaker tame.

Strike, children of France! strike for freedom and glory,
As ye and your fathers have stricken before;
Ye may fall, but your names shall be blazoned in story,
To beacon the free through the hurricane's roar.

Black Eagle of Russia! thy pride shall be lowered,
When France and her armies are roused for the fray;
And Austria shall cower again, as she cowered
When the Corsican swept her great armies away.

Up! arm for the contest! Your foes are around you;
The foot of your king presses hard on your hearts;
The Pigmies came, while you were sleeping, and bound you:
Strike once, ere occasion forever departs!

One blow! but one blow!—for your long years of anguish!
Your children, your parents, your own honest fame!
Or will you through ages of agony languish,—
To be cowards at heart. Frenchmen only in name?

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Poem Submitted: Monday, February 24, 2014

Poem Edited: Monday, February 24, 2014

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