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

January 31

Three Portraits of Prince Charles

By Andrew Lang (1844–1912)

  • Charles Edward, the grandson of James II. of England, was known as the Young Pretender to distinguish him from his father the Old Pretender, the son of James II. In the rising of 1745 he was at one time very near entering London, but the fatality that hung over the Stuarts overwhelmed him; he retreated to Scotland where he and his army were utterly routed at Culloden. With him the direct line of the Stuarts became extinct. He died Jan. 31, 1788.

  • 1731.
    Beautiful face of a child,

    Lighted with laughter and glee,

    Mirthful, and tender, and wild,

    My heart is heavy for thee!

    Beautiful face of a youth,

    As an eagle poised to fly forth

    To the old land loyal of truth,

    To the hills and the sounds of the North:

    Fair face, daring and proud,

    Lo! the shadow of doom even now,

    The fate of thy line, like a cloud,

    Rests on the grace of thy brow!

    Cruel and angry face,

    Hateful and heavy with wine,

    Where are the gladness, the grace,

    The beauty, the mirth that were thine?

    Ah, my Prince, it were well,—

    Hadst thou to the gods been dear,—

    To have fallen where Keppoch fell,

    With the war-pipe loud in thine ear!

    To have died with never a stain

    On the fair White Rose of Renown,

    To have fallen fighting in vain,

    For thy father, thy faith, and thy crown!

    More than thy marble pile,

    With its women weeping for thee,

    Were to dream in thine ancient isle,

    To the endless dirge of the sea!

    But the Fates deemed otherwise;

    Far thou sleepest from home,

    From the tears of the Northern skies,

    In the secular dust of Rome.

    A city of death and the dead,

    But thither a pilgrim came,

    Wearing on weary head

    The crowns of years and fame:

    Little the Lucrine lake

    Or Tivoli said to him,

    Scarce did the memories wake,

    Of the far-off years and dim,

    For he stood by Avernus’ shore.

    But he dreamed of a Northern glen,

    And he murmured, over and o’er,

    “For Charlie and his men:”

    And his feet, to death that went,

    Crept forth to St. Peter’s shrine,

    And the latest Minstrel bent

    O’er the last of the Stuart line.