Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE WORLD'S WAY, by THOMAS BAILEY ALDRICH

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE WORLD'S WAY, by             Poem Explanation     Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: At haroun's court it chanced, upon a time
Last Line: You get beheaded when your skill is gone.
Subject(s): Poetry & Poets

AT Haroun's court it chanced, upon a time,
An Arab poet made this pleasant rhyme:

"The new moon is a horseshoe, wrought of God,
Wherewith the Sultan's stallion shall be shod."

On hearing this, his highness smiled, and gave
The man a gold-piece. Sing again, O slave!

Above his lute the happy singer bent,
And turned another gracious compliment.

And, as before, the smiling Sultan gave
The man a sekkah. Sing again, O slave!

Again the verse came, fluent as a rill
That wanders, silver-footed, down a hill.

The Sultan, listening, nodded as before,
Still gave the gold, and still demanded more.

The nimble fancy that had climbed so high
Grew weary with its climbing by and by:

Strange discords rose; the sense went quite amiss;
The singer's rhymes refused to meet and kiss:

Invention flagged, the lute had got unstrung,
And twice he sang the song already sung.

The Sultan, furious, called a mute, and said,
O Musta, straightway whip me off his head!

Poets! not in Arabia alone
You get beheaded when your skill is gone.

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