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Statues stood upon the lawns, and the splendid
Woke the birds to bathe in basins of the marble founts that graced
And the shepherd with his flocks, high among the savage rocks,
Oft at night looked down upon the valley with a kindly smile,
And of holy cross the sign made, as if a shield divine He would raise 'gainst evil spirits that were seeking to defile
O the prince's life was sweet as with ever-willing feet
In the shaded aisles he wandered with the lady by his side!
O the prayer upon his lips was forgetfulness of ships And of journeys; and that Heaven itself from worldliness would hide
But one day the tempter came, and he touched with tongue of flame
Hearts that had forgot ambition, and they felt its subtle fire:
'Over seas an Empire waits for thy coming. All its gates
Open wide for Maximilian,-yet he lingers to admire Miramar !'
Said the prince, 'I have forsworn archiducal splendours worn
In the past, that I may linger here within the pleasant shade.
Here a poet's life I live. Montezuma's
Nought but glory: but 'twas not for fleeting glory that I made
Then the lady said, 'To reign over Empire is not vain :
Destiny and duty call thee to the tropics in the West!
And together we will go to that distant Mexico,
'but I love best
Yet Carlotta's voice prevailed, and the prince and lady sailed Westward over
seas escorted by a friendly army
Maximilian felt a dread settle at his heart like lead, And with tears in eyes he murmured, 'I shall never more behold
O the Adriatic's wave melancholy echo gave
To this mournful prophesying of a prince who knew no sin !
O the birdlings hushed their lays, and the breezes seemed to raise
Gloomy murmurs, sad forebodings in the perfumed aisles within
O the paradise on earth never echoed more to mirth Of the gentle princely lovers, nor to whispers nor to sighs!
O the fishers seemed to fear when they passed the palace near,
And the shepherds fancied that the saints had reason to despise
Maximilian died forlorn, from his loving princess torn, Near that bloody Queretaro where he lost his fatal
Thrice a twelvemonth from the time, when with music and with rhyme
He had sung of love beside her, as they wandered up and down
And Carlotta? Madness dwells in her brain's disordered cells,
And she lingers in a world that is to her unreal and strange:
When she babbles of the past that is with a cloud o'er
She forgets the happy moments when with speed she loved to range
Home there came a stately fleet, with the prince in winding-sheet :
And they laid him in the vaults beside his many mighty peers;
Yet if he could but have said where he wished to lay his head,
'Twould have been within that valley where he passed such joyous years,
O the Adriatic's tone sinks to sad regretful moan When Sirocco blows at even: when the nightingale doth call;
And the spirits of the deep seem with mourningchant to keep
Vigil round thy vine-enshrouded, memory-haunted palace-wall,