Collected Poems of Henry Derozio: Preface by Manu Samriti Chander; Edited by Amardeep Singh

All is Lost, Save Honour

[Editor's Note]

"It was after this decisive blow that Francis I wrote the justly celebrated Spartan letter to his mother, containing the following words only— 'Madam, all is lost, save Honour.'" -Thurtle's History of France

My path of life an adverse fiend, 
   In evil hour, hath crost, 
My sceptre from my hand is riven, 
   Save Honour, all is lost! 

My yeomen good all bathed in blood 
   Lie on the battle-field, 
And many a gallant knight who bore 
   High crest on blazoned shield. 

Against my warrior-band was laid 
   Full many a lance in rest, 
But every foeman's lance was broke 
   Within a hero's breast. 

The spoiler now may seize my realm, 
   The stranger fill my throne; 
But let them take the world from me, 
   So Honour be my own. 

My heart will bleed to think, fair France! 
   Of thee, and all thy woes; 
Thou ne'er may'st know for years, perchance, 
   A moment of repose. 

Perchance—but from yon star on high 
   Proceeds a heavenly strain, 
It bids me hope for better days 
   When France shall smile again. 

What though my sceptre's snatched away? 
   My sword is in my hand; 
What though my banner waves no more 
   In my loved native land? 

My sceptre's snatched from me—but still 
  There's life-blood in my veins; 
And though my kingdom fair is lost, 
   My Honour still remains. 

Honour remains! but all beside 
   Is lost, is lost to me; 
And cold on Pavia's fatal plain 
   Sleeps, France! thy chivalry. 

There let them rest; unconquered there 
   They sleep the hero's sleep; 
Like men they fell in glory's cause, 
   For them we should not weep. 

We should not weep for them; they rest 
   Unconscious of our cares; 
Who envies not their bed of death? 
   For Honour still is their's! 

And here I roam like ocean-weed 
   Upon the billows tost— 
Where are my warriors, where's my crown? 
   Save Honour—all is lost! 

Save Honour, all is lost; but still 
   While Honour yet remains, 
It fires me with the hope to break 
   The conquering tyrant's chains. 

With one fond wish for fairest France
   My heart is swelling high, 
And oh ! for all her future ills 
   One tear bedims mine eye. 

But, cheer thee up, my drooping heart, 
   Though by misfortune crost; 
Hope still shall light thee on to fame, 
   For Honour is not lost! 

April, 1827. 

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