Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE WANDERER: 5. IN HOLLAND: KING LIMOS, by EDWARD ROBERT BULWER-LYTTON



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THE WANDERER: 5. IN HOLLAND: KING LIMOS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: There once was a wicked, old, gray king
Last Line: And the love in her two large eyes?
Alternate Author Name(s): Meredith, Owen; Lytton, 1st Earl Of; Lytton, Robert
Subject(s): Netherlands; Travel; Holland; Dutch People; Journeys; Trips


THERE once was a wicked, old, gray king --
Long damned, as I have reason to know,
For he was buried (and no bad thing!)
Hundreds of years ago.

His wicked old heart had grown so chilled
That the leech, to warm him, did not shrink
To give him each night a goblet, filled
With a virgin's blood, to drink.

"A splenetic legend," ... you say, of course!
Yet there may be something in it, too.
Kill, or be killed ... which choice were the worse?
I know not. Solve it you.

But even the wolf must have his prey:
And even the gallows will have her food:
And a king, my friend, will have his way,
Though that way may lie through blood.

My heart is hungry, and must be fed;
My life is empty, and must be filled;
One is not a Ghoul, to live on the dead:
What then if fresh blood be spilled?

We follow the way that nature leads.
What's the very first thing that we learn? To devour.
Each life the death of some other needs
To help it from hour to hour.

From the animalcule that swallos his friends,
Nothing loath, in the wave as it rolls,
To man, as we see him, this law ascends;
'T is the same in the world of souls.

The law of the one is still to absorb:
To be absorbed is the other's lot: --
The lesser orb by the larger orb,
The weak by the strong ... why not?

My want's at the worst: so why should I spare
(Since just such a thing my want supplies)
This little girl with the silky hair,
And the love in her two large eyes?





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