Cromwell And The Crown.

A poem by Victor Marie Hugo

("Ah! je le tiens enfin.")

[CROMWELL, Act II., October, 1827.]

THURLOW communicates the intention of Parliament to
offer CROMWELL the crown.

CROMWELL. And is it mine? And have my feet at length
Attained the summit of the rock i' the sand?

THURLOW. And yet, my lord, you have long reigned.

CROM. Nay, nay!
Power I have 'joyed, in sooth, but not the name.
Thou smilest, Thurlow. Ah, thou little know'st
What hole it is Ambition digs i' th' heart
What end, most seeming empty, is the mark
For which we fret and toil and dare! How hard
With an unrounded fortune to sit down!
Then, what a lustre from most ancient times
Heaven has flung o'er the sacred head of kings!
King - Majesty - what names of power! No king,
And yet the world's high arbiter! The thing
Without the word! no handle to the blade!
Away - the empire and the name are one!
Alack! thou little dream'st how grievous 'tis,
Emerging from the crowd, and at the top
Arrived, to feel that there is something still
Above our heads; something, nothing! no matter -
That word is everything.


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