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Poem by Andrew Lang

Three Portraits of Prince Charles


BEAUTIFUL face of a child, 
  Lighted with laughter and glee, 
Mirthful, and tender, and wild, 
  My heart is heavy for thee! 

Beautiful face of a youth, 
  As an eagle poised to fly forth 
To the old land loyal of truth, 
  To the hills and the sounds of the North: 
Fair face, daring and proud, 
  Lo! the shadow of doom, even now,
The fate of thy line, like a cloud, 
  Rests on the grace of thy brow! 

Cruel and angry face, 
  Hateful and heavy with wine, 
Where are the gladness, the grace,
  The beauty, the mirth that were thine? 
Ah, my Prince, it were well, 
  Hadst thou to the gods been dear, 
To have fallen where Keppoch fell, 
  With the war-pipe loud in thine ear! 
To have died with never a stain 
  On the fair White Rose of Renown, 
To have fallen, fighting in vain, 
  For thy father, thy faith, and thy crown! 
More than thy marble pile, 
  With its women weeping for thee, 
Were to dream in thine ancient isle, 
  To the endless dirge of the sea! 
But the Fates deemed otherwise; 
  Far thou sleepest from home,
From the tears of the Northern skies, 
  In the secular dust of Rome. 
A city of death and the dead, 
  But thither a pilgrim came, 
Wearing on weary head 
  The crowns of years and fame: 
Little the Lucrine lake 
  Or Tivoli said to him, 
Scarce did the memories wake 
  Of the far-off years and dim,
For he stood by Avernus shore. 
  But he dreamed of a Northern glen, 
And he murmured, over and oer, 
  For Charlie and his men: 
And his feet, to death that went,
  Crept forth to St. Peters shrine, 
And the latest Minstrel bent 
  Oer the last of the Stuart line.

Andrew Lang

Andrew Lang's other poems:
  1. In Ithaca
  2. Les Roses de Sâdi
  3. Ballade of the Tweed
  4. Ballade of His Books
  5. Dizain

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