Classic and Contemporary Poetry
THE FROG, by JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY Poet's Biography
First Line: Who am I but the frog -- the frog
Last Line: And grace to his royal whim!
Alternate Author Name(s): Johnson Of Boone, Benj. F.
Subject(s): Animals; Courts & Courtiers; Frogs; Swamps; Bogs; Fens; Marshes
Who am I but the Frog -- the Frog!
My realm is the dark bayou,
And my throne is the muddy and moss-grown log
That the poison-vine clings to --
And the blacksnakes slide in the slimy tide
Where the ghost of the moon looks blue.
What am I but a King -- a King! --
For the royal robes I wear --
A scepter, too, and a signet-ring,
As vassals and serfs declare:
And a voice, god wot, that is equaled not
In the wide world anywhere!
I can talk to the Night -- the Night! --
Under her big black wing
She tells me the tale of the world outright,
And the secret of everything;
For she knows you all, from the time you crawl,
To the doom that death will bring.
The Storm swoops down, and he blows -- and blows, --
While I drum on his swollen cheek,
And croak in his angered eye that glows
With the lurid lightning's streak;
While the rushes drown in the watery frown
That his bursting passions leak.
And I can see through the sky -- the sky --
As clear as a piece of glass;
And I can tell you the how and why
Of the things that come to pass --
And whether the dead are there instead,
Or under the graveyard grass.
To your Sovereign lord all hail -- all hail! --
To your Prince on his throne so grim!
Let the moon swing low, and the high stars trail
Their heads in the dust to him;
And the wide world sing: Long live the King,
And grace to his royal whim!
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