I AM DYING, EGYPT, DYING
I am dying, Egypt, dying,
Ebbs the crimson lifetide fast,
And the dark Plutonian shadows
Gather on the evening blast;
Let thine arms, oh! Queen, support me;
Hush thy sobs, and bow thine ear,
Listen to the great heart secrets,
Thou, and thou alone must hear.
Tho’ my scarr’d and vet’ran legions
Bear their Eagles high no more,
And my wreck’d and scatter’d galleys
Strew dark Actium’s fatal shore;
Tho’ no glitt’ring guards surround me,
Proud to do their master’s will,
I must perish like a Roman,
Die, the great Triumvir still.
Let not Caesar’s servile minions
Mock the lion thus laid low:
‘Twas no foeman’s hand that fell’d him,
‘Twas his own that struck the blow,
His, who, pillow’d on thy bosom,
Turn’d aside from glory’s ray,
His, who, drunk with thy caresses,
Madly threw a world away.
Should the base plebian rabble
Dare assail my name at Rome,
Where the noble spouse, Octavia,
Weeps within her widow’d home,
Seek her; say the gods bear witness,
Altars, augurs, circling wings,
That her blood with mine commingled,
Yet shall mount the throne of kings.
And for thee, star-eyed Egyptian,
Glorious sorceress of the Nile,
Light the path to Stygian horrors
With the splendors of thy smile;
Give the Caesar crowns and arches,
Let his brow the laurel twine,
I can scorn the senate’s triumphs,
Triumphing in love like thine.
I am dying, Egypt, dying;
Hark! the insulting foeman’s cry
They are coming! quick, my falchion,
Let me front them ere I die.
Ah, no more amid the battle
Shall my heart exulting swell,
Isis and Osiris guard thee,
Cleopatra, Rome, farewell!