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

July 15

Napoleon’s Farewell

By Lord Byron (1788–1824)

  • After the battle of Waterloo Napoleon repaired to Paris but finally surrendered to the British Admiral Hotham at Rochefort, July 15, 1815.

  • FAREWELL to the Land, where the gloom of my glory

    Arose and o’ershadow’d the earth with her name—

    She abandons me now—but the page of her story,

    The brightest or blackest, is fill’d with my fame.

    I have warr’d with a world which vanquish’d me only

    When the meteor of conquest allured me too far;

    I have coped with the nations which dread me thus lonely,

    The last single Captive to millions in war.

    Farewell to thee, France! when thy diadem crown’d me,

    I made thee the gem and the wonder of earth,—

    But thy weakness decrees I should leave as I found thee,

    Decay’d in thy glory, and sunk in thy worth.

    Oh! for the veteran hearts that were wasted

    In strife with the storm, when their battles were won—

    Then the Eagle, whose gaze in that moment was blasted,

    Had still soar’d with eyes fix’d on victory’s sun!

    Farewell to thee, France!—but when Liberty rallies

    Once more in thy regions, remember me then—

    The violet still grows in the depth of thy valleys;

    Though withered, thy tears will unfold it again—

    Yet, yet I may baffle the hosts that surround us,

    And yet may thy heart leap awake to my voice—

    There are links which must break in the chain that has bound us,

    Then turn thee and call on the Chief of thy choice!