Death of the Prince Imperial

A poem by Abram Joseph Ryan

Waileth a woman, "O my God!"
A breaking heart in a broken breath,
A hopeless cry o'er her heart-hope's death!
Can words catch the chords of the winds that wail,
When love's last lily lies dead in the vale!
Let her alone,
Under the rod
With the infinite moan
Of her soul for God.
Ah! song! you may echo the sound of pain,
But you never may shrine,
In verse or line,
The pang of the heart that breaks in twain.

Waileth a woman, "O my God!"
Wind-driven waves with no hearts that ache,
Why do your passionate pulses throb?
No lips that speak -- have ye souls that sob?
We carry the cross -- ye wear the crest,
We have our God -- and ye, your shore,
Whither ye rush in the storm to rest;
We have the havens of holy prayer --
And we have a hope -- have ye despair?
For storm-rocked waves ye break evermore,
Adown the shores and along the years,
In the whitest foam of the saddest tears,
And we, as ye, O waves, gray waves!
Drift over a sea more deep and wide,
For we have sorrow and we have death;
And ye have only the tempest's breath;
But we have God when heart-oppressed,
As a calm and beautiful shore of rest.

O waves! sad waves! how you flowed between
The crownless Prince and the exiled Queen!

Waileth a woman, "O my God!"
Her hopes are withered, her heart is crushed,
For the love of her love is cold and dead,
The joy of her joy hath forever fled;
A starless and pitiless night hath rushed
On the light of her life -- and far away
In Afric wild lies her poor dead child,
Lies the heart of her heart -- let her alone
Under the rod
With her infinite moan,
O my God!
He was beautiful, pure, and brave,
The brightest grace
Of a royal race;
Only his throne is but a grave;
Is there fate in fame?
Is there doom in names?
Ah! what did the cruel Zulu spears
Care for the prince or his mother's tears?
What did the Zulu's ruthless lance
Care for the hope of the future France?

Crieth the Empress, "O my son!"
He was her own and her only one,
She had nothing to give him but her love.
'Twas kingdom enough on earth -- above
She gave him an infinite faith in God;
Let her cry her cry
Over her own and only one,
All the glory is gone -- is gone,
Into her broken-hearted sigh.

Moaneth a mother, "O my child!"
And who can sound that depth of woe?
Homeless, throneless, crownless -- now
She bows her sorrow-wreathed brow --
(So fame and all its grandeurs go)
Let her alone
Beneath the rod
With her infinite moan,
"O my God!"

Reader Comments

Tell us what you think of 'Death of the Prince Imperial' by Abram Joseph Ryan

comments powered by Disqus

Home | Search | About this website | Contact | Privacy Policy