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(The last word spoken by Napoleon the Great, before his death, in the prison at St. Helena, was the name of his first wife, the Empress Josephine.)

Sternest soldiers are the guards
Of these rocky battlements,
Bright the glistening of their swords,
Keen their bristling bayonets.


Not the marialed power of France
Dares this fortress height to scale,
Britain here her standard plants,
Streams her pennons on the gale.


Past the scowling battlements,
Past the British lion bold,
Past the bristling bayonets,
Stalks a monster grim and old.


None beside has dared to storm
Fortress rock, or prison bar,
Death, with sure release has come
To the prisoned Emperor.


Burns the tropic sun o'erhead
With a fervid, lurid glare.
Sounds the soldier's measured tread
Guarding Britain's prize with care.


To a narrow cell consigned
On a lonely isle outcast;
Where is now that mighty mind
Midst the ruins of the past?


Does the fatal Waterloo
To Napoleon's mind recall
Martialed armies into view
Trooping through his prison wall?


Amid Russia's frozen snow,
Over Egypt's burning sands,
Do his armored warriors go
At their leader's stern commands?


Does the eagle, that has won
Victory's zenith for his brow,
Brighter than the noon-day sun,
Thrill with pride his bosom now?


Or does she, the Empress Queen,
Careless of his hopeless fate,
Grace his life's brief closing scene
In her royal robes of state?


Is her name upon his lips
Who his crown and crime could share,
Watch his glory's dark eclipse
And forsake his deep despair?


One face only does he see
Fresh on recollection's scroll;
One loved name, one memory
Soothes at last his troubled soul.


She, the wronged, the fair, the good,
Victim of ambition's greed,
In her injured womanhood
Can she soothe him in his need?


Does her angel spirit, strong
From some distant sphere descend,
With forgiveness for her wrong,
O'er his dying couch to bend?


Broken-hearted, beautiful,
Last to close his weary eyes
With her gentle spirit full
Of the love that never dies.


He the strong and yet the weak,
He the lofty and the low,
Moves his ashen lips to speak
Ere the monster bids him go.


One alone Napoleon crowns
First and last his Empress Queen,
List! his mighty spirit sounds
Its last echo, "Josephine."