An Epilogue, through custom, is your right,
But ne'er perhaps was needful till this night:
To-night the virtuous falls, the guilty flies,
Guilt's dreadful close our narrow scene denies.
In history's authentic record read
What ample vengeance gluts Demetrius' shade;
Vengeance so great, that, when his tale is told,
With pity some e'en Perseus may behold.
Perseus surviv'd, indeed, and fill'd the throne,
But ceaseless cares in conquest made him groan:
Nor reign'd he long; from Rome swift thunder flew,
And headlong from his throne the tyrant threw:
Thrown headlong down, by Rome in triumph led,
For this night's deed his perjur'd bosom bled:
His brother's ghost each moment made him start,
And all his father's anguish rent his heart.
When, rob'd in black, his children round him hung,
And their rais'd arms in early sorrow wrung;
The younger smil'd, unconscious of their woe;
At which thy tears, O Rome! began to flow;
So sad the scene! What then must Perseus feel,
To see Jove's race attend the victor's wheel:
To see the slaves of his worst foes increase,
From such a source!--An emperor's embrace!
He sicken'd soon to death; and, what is worse,
He well deserv'd, and felt, the coward's curse;
Unpitied, scorn'd, insulted his last hour,
Far, far from home, and in a vassal's power:
His pale cheek rested on his shameful chain,
No friend to mourn, no flatterer to feign;
No suit retards, no comfort soothes his doom,
And not one tear bedews a monarch's tomb.
Nor ends it thus--dire vengeance to complete,
His ancient empire falling shares his fate:
His throne forgot! his weeping country chain'd!
And nations ask--where Alexander reign'd.
As public woes a prince's crime pursue,
So public blessings are his virtue's due.
Shout, Britons, shout--auspicious fortune bless!
And cry, Long live--Our title to success!