A Dead King

A poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne

Ferdinand II entered Malebolge May 22nd, 1859.


Go down to hell. This end is good to see;
The breath is lightened and the sense at ease
Because thou art not; sense nor breath there is
In what thy body was, whose soul shall be
Chief nerve of hell's pained heart eternally.
Thou art abolished from the midst of these
That are what thou wast: Pius from his knees
Blows off the dust that flecked them, bowed for thee.
Yea, now the long-tongued slack-lipped litanies
Fail, and the priest has no more prayer to sell
Now the last Jesuit found about thee is
The beast that made thy fouler flesh his cell
Time lays his finger on thee, saying, "Cease;
Here is no room for thee; go down to hell."

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