James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

September 1

Before Sedan

By Austin Dobson (1840–1921)

  • “The dead hand clasped a letter.”—Special Correspondence.
  • The surrender of Napoleon III. to the Emperor William I. at Sedan on Sept. 1, 1870, led directly to the fall of the Empire and the establishment of the Republic.

  • HERE, in this leafy place,

    Quiet he lies,

    Cold, with his sightless face

    Turned to the skies;

    ’Tis but another dead;

    All you can say is said.

    Carry his body hence,—

    Kings must have slaves;

    Kings climb to eminence

    Over men’s graves:

    So this man’s eye is dim;—

    Throw the earth over him.

    What was the white you touched,

    There, at his side?

    Paper his hand had clutched

    Tight ere he died;—

    Message or wish, may be;—

    Smooth out the folds and see.

    Hardly the worst of us

    Here could have smiled!—

    Only the tremulous

    Words of a child;—

    Prattle, that has for stops

    Just a few ruddy drops.

    Look. She is sad to miss,

    Morning and night,

    His—her dead father’s—kiss;

    Tries to be bright,

    Good to mamma, and sweet.

    That is all. “Marguerite.”

    Ah, if beside the dead

    Slumbered the pain!

    Ah, if the hearts that bled

    Slept with the slain!

    If the grief died;—But no;—

    Death will not have it so.