Feelings of a Republican on the Fall of Bonaparte


Napoleon at Fontainbleau, Paul Hippolyte Delaroche, 1814

by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I hated thee, fallen tyrant! I did groan
To think that a most unambitious slave,
Like thou, shouldst dance and revel on the grave
Of Liberty. Thou mightst have built thy throne
Where it had stood even now: thou didst prefer
A frail and bloody pomp which Time has swept
In fragments towards Oblivion. Massacre,
For this I prayed, would on thy sleep have crept,
Treason and Slavery, Rapine, Fear, and Lust,
And stifled thee, their minister. I know
Too late, since thou and France are in the dust,
That Virtue owns a more eternal foe
Than Force or Fraud: old Custom, legal Crime,
And bloody Faith the foulest birth of Time.


About the Author:

Percy Bysshe Shelley (4 August 1792 – 8 July 1822) was an English Romantic poet.