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Philip James Bailey (Филип Джеймс Бэйли)

The Nemesis of Nations

Deep in earth's caverned heart, I see her now--
The Nemesis of Nations. Stern she sits
Her monumental throne. The hush of death
Spreads round her like a halo. She is girt
With silence, as a girdle. Even Hope
Might deem her dead. Yet lives she; live she will.
She hath a vital secret in her breast,
As though she nursed a god, which scarcely breathes,
The freedom of the future. To all else
Superior in that secret, nought beside
Heeds she; but hears, indifferent, o'er her head
The ebb, or flow, of empire; and the march
Of many a generation; and but smiles,
And rocks her foot, contemptuous. Not for these
Moves she; nor is she moved; nor doth she watch.
Dumb prophetess of woe! she hath not been
Incarcerate; nor abandoned; nor beguiled;
Nor, of the good, suspected; nor, by kings,
Ever forgot;--if, haply, one hath eyed,
Nor, shuddering, shrunk before that stately stare,
Her pale and dominant brow, and mounded breast,
Elate with life:--nay, she hath never been
Save by her own serene and sacred will
Exiled from Earth's face. What, then, doth she there,
Darkling, in central solitudes? Alas!
Of her divine prevision all devoid,
Unworthy suitors hath she, many an one,
Who her to forfeiture would tempt, nor own
God's gracious gift, empowering her to abide
The hour of destiny. But when the dew,
Now wet, hath ripened to the thunder--cloud,
And man's breath to God's lightning, one shall come,
And ope her sealéd hand;--take out the spell
And put in it a spear; and sanctify
Her forehead with a crown; and wreathe her loins
With silver serpents; and so lead her forth
To head reviving manhood. Would to Heaven
I, too, might see the awakening of that day,
Day--dawn, or sun--down, speed it, God of right! 

Philip James Bailey's other poems:
  1. Festus - 35
  2. Festus - Proem
  3. Festus - 37
  4. Festus - 8
  5. Festus - 44

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