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Destiny

 1856 

Paris, from throats of iron, silver, brass, 
Joy-thundering cannon, blent with chiming bells, 
And martial strains, the full-voiced pæan swells.
The air is starred with flags, the chanted mass Throngs all the churches, yet the broad streets swarm With glad-eyed groups who chatter, laugh, and pass, In holiday confusion, class with class.
And over all the spring, the sun-floods warm! In the Imperial palace that March morn, The beautiful young mother lay and smiled; For by her side just breathed the Prince, her child, Heir to an empire, to the purple born, Crowned with the Titan's name that stirs the heart Like a blown clarion--one more Bonaparte.
1879 Born to the purple, lying stark and dead, Transfixed with poisoned spears, beneath the sun Of brazen Africa! Thy grave is one, Fore-fated youth (on whom were visited Follies and sins not thine), whereat the world, Heartless howe'er it be, will pause to sing A dirge, to breathe a sigh, a wreath to fling Of rosemary and rue with bay-leaves curled.
Enmeshed in toils ambitious, not thine own, Immortal, loved boy-Prince, thou tak'st thy stand With early doomed Don Carlos, hand in hand With mild-browed Arthur, Geoffrey's murdered son.
Louis the Dauphin lifts his thorn-ringed head, And welcomes thee, his brother, 'mongst the dead.

by Gregory Corso
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