Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE KING, by SAMUEL VALENTINE COLE



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THE KING, by            
First Line: O sham, who sittest boldly on the throne
Last Line: "its tardy homage and all cry, ""the king!"
Subject(s): Caesar, Julius (100-44 B.c.); Courts & Courtiers; Crowns; Mansions; Royal Court Life; Royalty; Kings; Queens


O SHAM, who sittest boldly on the throne,
There's someone passing at the palace gate,
Who smiles, and whispers his dread word of fate,—
The real king to thee and thine unknown.
And he is passing through the world of men,
Pays tribute to the Cæsar bearing rule,
Walks in the market place, sees many a fool,
"Not yet" keeps saying, and is strong again;
Distinguishes what seems so from what is,
My manly man with that clear soul of his;
And through them all, illumined from afar
He starlike moves, himself led by a star
Which no earthborn ambition can unsphere;
Believes what should be will be; never dreams
The end is failure; knows—whatever seems—
He knows what light shines yonder; can endure
All else should perish—his ideal is sure.
And that means triumph; shows that he can hear,
And see, and feel, with finer sense than most,—
Hear music from the far-off crystal coast
As of some victory—faint, but never lost;
And so by right, which none may steal or borrow,
Sustain to-day with strength drawn from tomorrow.
And shall we know him as we see him pass?
Some may; the multitude will not, alas!
Such gentleness and such simplicity;
No fuss, no noise, no label; but 't is he.
I think there may be thorn wounds on his brow;
Perhaps there will be nail prints in his hands;
The world bestows these things, nor understands;
Some hold them signs of failure even now.
And yet 't is he; his triumph most assured
Who stands for truth and right and has endured;
Been tempted and endured; made sacrifice
For noble ends, nor stooped to compromise,
Nor turned, but gone straightforward as did seem
The living creatures in the prophet's dream,
Straightforward always, and endured; I say
The way thus walked in is life's Sacred Way,
And it is he; for, when the light shall grow,
And all the bugles of the morning blow,
Oh, then the disillusioned world will bring
Its tardy homage and all cry, "The King!"





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