After the Verdict

A poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne

France, cloven in twain by fire of hell and hate,
Shamed with the shame of men her meanest born,
Soldier and judge whose names, inscribed for scorn,
Stand vilest on the record writ of fate,
Lies yet not wholly vile who stood so great,
Sees yet not all her praise of old outworn.
Not yet is all her scroll of glory torn,
Or left for utter shame to desecrate.
High souls and constant hearts of faithful men
Sustain her perfect praise with tongue and pen
Indomitable as honour. Storms may toss
And soil her standard ere her bark win home:
But shame falls full upon the Christless cross
Whose brandmark signs the holy hounds of Rome.

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