Cleopatra! Rome! Farewell!

21 01 2012

Lyrics (Poem) – W.H. Lytle
Music – Armand
Publisher – A.E. Blackmar, New Orleans – 1865

I am dying, Egypt, dying,
Ebbs the crimson life-tide 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 scarred and vet’ran legions,
Bear their eagles high no more,
Tho’ 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 dealt the blow:
Dear, then pillow on thy bosom,
Ere a star shall loose its ray,
Him who drunk with thy caresses
Madly flung a world away.

Should the base plebeian rabble
Dare assail my fame at Rome,
Where the noble spouse Octavia
Weeps within her widowed home,
Seek her, say the Gods have told me,
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 paths 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 triumph,
Triumphing in love like thine.

I am dying, Egypt, dying,
Hark th’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!




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