Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE PLUCKY PRINCE, by MAY BRYANT



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THE PLUCKY PRINCE, by            
First Line: There was a young scion
Last Line: They hastened home to tell.
Subject(s): Arbor Day; Trees


THERE was a youthful scion
Of a race of tyrant kings,
Who roused his father's anger
By the way he wasted things.
Quoth then the wrathful monarch:
"Quick from my presence flee!
Yet turn your heedless ear
To this my stern decree:
No fish or flesh or fowl
Shall your hunger's needs supply.
Nor beast nor worm contribute
To the clothing which you buy.
When comes the gloomy night-time,
No oil or vapor light,
No wax or tallow candle,
Shall make the darkness bright.
Nor grains upon the hill-side,
Nor tuberous roots on earth,
Nor fruitful vines, and juicy,
Contribute to your mirth.
Thou prodigal! Avaunt!
Go, starve upon the plain!
Thou never, nevermore,
Shalt waste my wealth again."

His son this law of exile
Conned over at his ease:
"He has," he said, "left to me
The mighty help of trees."
He gayly snapped his fingers,
He slammed the palace door —
"Stern monarch, I shall flourish
As proudly as before!"

A house he quickly builded:
It all was wondrous fine;
Of English oak its rafters,
Its floors of Norway pine.
On pillars of palmetto
The cypress-shingled roof,
With oaken eaves and gargoyles,
Against the storms was proof.
There curious palm-mattings
Spread over all the floors,
Dyed crimson with the logwood
From warm Caribbean shores.
Quaint furniture of walnut
And perfumed sandal-wood,
With highly polished rose-wood,
Throughout the mansion stood.
"Now," said this Prince complaisant,
"A ball I mean to give,
I'll show the King, my father,
How finely I can live!"

The night came on apace
When the house was light as day,
For candle-nuts in sconces
Shed many a golden ray.
Magnolias from the South land,
Pink apple-blooms from Maine,
All vied with orange-flowers
The subtlest sense to chain.
The noted guests assembled
Found waiting for them all
A fairer feast than ever
Graced kingly banquet-hall.
For dishes, carved in queer ways
That haunt the Chinese mind,
Bore nuts and fruits from every land
Familiar to mankind.

Cassava cakes from Java,
The solid plantain's meat,
With chocolate were proffered,
And maple-sugar sweet.
Fair pomegranates and soursops,
With luscious guava jam,
Stood near the odious durion
From islands near Siam.
Bananas, figs, and lemons,
Dates, cherries, plums and pears,
All seemed so very common
One passed them unawares.

Amid this festive splendor
The Prince received his guest;
In robes of cocoa woven
He was superbly drest,
While from the crown of laurels
His realm placed on his brow,
Down to his shoes of caoutchouc,
He looked a king, I trow.
"Warm welcomes to my mansion!" —
'T was thus he met the King —
"See what a man you made me
By your cold banishing!"

A genial smile illumined
The monarch and his train.
"O Prince! of you I'm very proud —
Come to my arms again!"
So spake the King, embracing
His enterprising son,
And then, with jokes and laughter
The banquet was begun.
The court drank so much cider
They complimentary grew;
While the King declared the cashew
Was the finest wine he knew.
To this the Premier added,
He hoped the Prince would grow
Like to the giant banyan,
And live long here below.
Then soon the party ended,
The guests all said: "Farewell,"
And the wonders of the woodland
They hastened home to tell.





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