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Louis Napoleon by Oscar Wilde


"Louis Napoleon" is a poem written by Oscar Wilde. This poem is about the Prince Imperial Napoleon, son of Emperor Napoleon III of France. Louis Napoleon was known as the last hope to restore the Napoleon's to the French throne. After the Franco-Prussian War, the Napoleons were forced out of France and Democracy took control of the country. The Napoleons went to England. The line "Fell the last scion of thy brood of Kings" makes a reference to their departure from France. He goes on to pitty little Napoleon "Poor boy!", he says. "[T]hough shalt not flaunt thy cloak of red, [...] They mother France, free and republican,". Wilde ends the poem by stating, "Breaks on the shores where Kings lay couched at ease", to mean that the Kings around the world believe they are safe, but so did the Napoleons.

"Louis Napoleon" is a four stanza poem made up of four lines in each stanza. The stanzas have an alternating rhyme pattern: ABBA-CDCD-EFFE-GHHG-IJIJ.


Louis Napoleon

Eagle of Austerlitz! where were thy wings
When far away upon a barbarous strand,
In fight unequal, by an obscure hand,
Fell the last scion of thy brood of Kings!

Poor boy! thou shalt not flaunt thy cloak of red,
Or ride in state through Paris in the van
Of thy returning legions, but instead
Thy mother France, free and republican,

Shall on thy dead and crownless forehead place
The better laurels of a soldier's crown,
That not dishonoured should thy soul go down
To tell the mighty Sire of thy race

That France hath kissed the mouth of Liberty,
And found it sweeter than his honied bees,
And that the giant wave Democracy
Breaks on the shores where Kings lay couched at ease.

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