Unwonted weakness o'er me crept;
I sighed -- nay, weaker still -- I wept!
Wept, like a woman o'er the deed
I had been proud to do: --
As I had made his bosom bleed;
My own was bleeding too.
Back foolish tears! -- the man I slew
Was not the boy I cherished so;
And that young arm that clasped the friend
Was not the same that stabbed the foe:
By time and adverse thoughts estranged,
And wrongs and vengeance, both were changed.
Repentance, now, were worse that vain:
Time's current cannot backward run;
And be the action wrong or right,
It is for ever done.
Then reap the fruits -- I've said his death
Should be my country's gain: --
If not -- then I have spent my breath,
And spilt his blood in vain:
And I have laboured hard and long,
But little good obtained;
My foes are many, yet, and strong,
Not half the battle's gained;
For, still, the greater deeds I've done,