Alaric Alexander Watts

(1797-1864 / England)

Woman's Love

Poem by Alaric Alexander Watts

'Tis morn: o'er Kyburg's castled crag day's first faint streak appears,
Like the ray of Truth through Error's mists, or the smile through Woman's tears;
With gradual step it glides along, from cloud to cloud, and now
Bathes in a flood of living light Mongarten's frowning brow.
The sun looks out, the heavens are gay, the earth beneath them shines,
And the fitful breeze hath ceased to toss yon broad, black sea of pines;
The storm that lately ravaged earth hath sunk into its lair,
And left œa scene of power to charm all sadness save despair!
Beneath yon mountain's gloomy crest a crowd is gathering fast,
To see, on murder's hellish wheel, a hero breathe his last:
What though his quivering clay be cold before that sun hath set,
Draw near, a noble lesson learn, it is not soulless yet!
Mangled, and bleeding at each pore, denied the bliss to die,
Coiled 'round that dread machine he lies in fearful agony;
Two days exposed to sun and storm and bleaching in the blast,
Those ghastly limbs have struggled there, but this will be the last.
Not his the crime for which he writhes, not his the 'vengeful dart,
Launched with unerring aim, that lodged in Albert's tyrant heart;
He would have braved him in the field, defied him in his might,
Not tracked his lone, defenceless steps with felon shaft to smite.
His innocence availed him not, they knew the quenchless hate
He bore that despot's iron rule, and dragged him to his fate;
Then stormed his undefended towers, and left of all his train
Of friends or vassals, kin or kind, but one to soothe his pain.
And not in pity was she spared from that remorseless slaughter,
'Twas but to glut the rage refined of Austria's wolfish daughter;
But ere her vengeance was complete, she glided from her power,
And flew to lighten with her prayers her Rudolph's parting hour.
And bending o'er her dying lord that faithful woman stands,
With pallid cheek, disheveled hair, and clasped, beseeching hands;
The aid denied to her on earth she craves from One above,
And sure, if mortal prayers avail, hers will not bootless prove!
They brained her babe before her eyes, even smiling in its sleep;
They wrenched her Rudolph from her arms, she shrieked, but did not weep;
She heard the sentence of their hate, but still she shed no tear;
They marred her beauty with their chains; she burst them, and is here!
Awed by such more than mortal love, the ruthless slaves around,
Even to the minister of death, are silent and spell-bound;
They dare not for their souls approach what to their wondering eyes
Shews like some radiant seraph form descended from the skies.
Well may they deem her not of earth, for earth hath seldom seen
Such holy love, such fervid faith, so suffering yet serene;
But when the cloud of blight descends, of darkness and despair,
Upon the trusted head and heart, what will not Woman dare!
That scene is all deserted now, that martyr's pangs no more;
And she who soothed his parting hour, her vigil too is o'er;
For when her last sad hope was gone, her stricken heart to hide,
She sought a covert from her foes, wrenched out the dart, and died.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, September 22, 2010