On what foundation stands the warrior's pride
How just his hopes let Swedish Charles decide
A frame of adamant, a soul of fire
No dangers fright him, and no labours tire
O'er love, o'er fear, extends his wide domain
Unconquered lord of pleasure and of pain
No joys to him pacific sceptres yield
War sounds the trump, he rushes to the field
Behold surrounding kings their power to combine
And one capitulate, and one resign
Peace courts his hand, but spreads her charms in vain
'Think nothing gained,' he cries, 'till nought remain
On Moscow's walls till Gothic standards fly
And all be mine beneath the polar sky.
'The march begins in military state
And nations on his eye suspended wait
Stern Famine guards the solitary coast
And Winter barricades the realms of Frost
He comes, not want and cold his course delay
-Hide, blushing Glory, hide Pultowa's day
The vanquished hero leaves his broken bands
And shows his miseries in distant lands
Condemned a needy supplicant to wait
While ladies interpose, and slaves debate
But did not Chance at length her error mend?
Did no subverted empire mark his end?
Did rival monarchs give the fatal wound?
Or hostile millions press him to the ground?
His fall was destined to a barren strand
A petty fortress, and a dubious hand
He left the name, at which the world grew pale
To point a moral or adorn a tale.