- His ashes were torn out of the ground;
- And he was snatched away from the weeping willow,
- Where he, an Angel, lay alone in honor;
- He was alone, though not in splendid crimson clad
- But a faded soldier's coat,
Stretched out on his sword as if on a cross.
- Tell us how you found him in the grave,
- Royal prince , commander of the boat?
- Were his hands folded in the form of a cross,
- Or did one hand instinctively clutch the sword?
- And when you lifted the stone from his tomb,
Say, did his corpse tremble or shudder?
- He foresaw that the hour would come
- When his gravestone would crumble,
- But he thought that the hand of his son
- Would lift him up in the tomb
- And take from him the murderous chains,
And cry to his father's remains: -- O Father!
- But they came to pull him out of the grave,
- Foreign faces peered into the tomb
- And began shouting insults at the deceased
- And cried to the corpse: --Arise, o dust!
- Then they took the rotting remains
And asked -- "Do you want to return to your fatherland?"
- Roar! now roar you azure sea,
- They gave you a giant's coffin to carry.
- Pyramids! Go up to the mountains
- And behold him with the eyes of centuries.
- There! -- on the waters! -- see a grey flock of gulls:
That is the fleet which bears the remains of the Emperor.
- From their thrones nefarious devils look on,
- The emperor looks pale from behind the ice --
- Dismal eagles sit on the coffin
- And drip the blood of nations from their wings.
- The eagles, once conquering and proud
No longer look at the sun -- but at the coffin.
- Ashes! Ashes! O! lie still
- Until you hear the trumpet in the midst of the flood,
- For it will not be a call to war,
- But a call to prayer -- the voice of a lament . . .
- For the last time you will command a company
And win -- but with the victory of Golgotha.
- But never -- O! never! though you held
- The scepter, the world and naked sword:
- You never -- never walked amidst wailing
- With such magnificent immortal dignity
- And power... and with such a proud countenance
As today, O great one! when you return as nothing.