Menella Bute Smedley

Francis the First at Liberty

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AFTER THAT SHAMEFUL IMPRISONMENT WHICH WAS THE RESULT OF HIS DEFEAT AT PAVIA

I am once more a king!
Wave forth my pennon fair!
My foot is on mine own dear soil,
I am free as my native air!
Spring on, my gallant steed,
Thou mayst bound blithely on,
For thou bear'st to his home a warrior freed,
And a king to his crown and throne!
Leap from thy sheath, my sword!
I may wield thee once again;
I could not brook on thy sheen to look
While writhing in a chain.
I will not bid thee shine
To venge thy master's wrongs,
For, oh, to a heart as light as mine
No bitterness belongs!
These are thy vales, fair France!
Mine, mine, this matchless land!
Dearer than gold, in heaps untold,
Or aught save faith and brand.
The song of thy birds is sweet,
Thy glens seem doubly fair,
And, oh, how my heart leaps forth to meet
Each breath of thy balmy air!
Play on my brow, cool breeze,
For thou wakenest in my heart
High thoughts and generous sympathies,
Which long have slept apart.
It is the voice of France
Which breathes upon me now;
I will open my breast to thy glad advance,—
Play lightly on my brow!
I am free! I am free! I am free!
I may give my full heart way;
Its fire represt, hath scorch'd my breast,
It pants for the open day.
I am free! I am free! I am free!
Oh, is it a dream of joy?
Or do I stand, on my native land,
And look on mine own blue sky?
I do, I do! for when
Did a Spaniard's icy brow
Shine in the light of smiles so bright
As those which meet me now?
Mine own—ye are all mine own!
I laugh at treason's darts;
For my people's love is my loftiest throne,
My surest fence their hearts.
And, by mine own true sword,
No wrong shall e'er abase
The soul on which your love is pour'd,
To do that love disgrace!
Still in my changeless breast
Dwells one unsullied spring;
Free, chained, exalted, or opprest,
My soul is still a king!

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Menella Bute Smedley