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THE WANDERER: 5. IN HOLLAND: KING SOLOMON, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: King solomon stood, in his crown of gold
Last Line: And they picked from the dust a golden crown.
Alternate Author Name(s): Meredith, Owen; Lytton, 1st Earl Of; Lytton, Robert
Subject(s): Browning, Robert (1812-1889); Netherlands; Poetry & Poets; Solomon (10th Century B.c.); Travel; Holland; Dutch People; Journeys; Trips

KING Solomon stood, in his crown of gold,
Between the pillars, before the altar
In the House of the Lord. And the King was old,
And his strength began to falter,
So that he leaned on his ebony staff,
Sealed with the seal of the Pentegraph.

All of the golden fretted work,
Without and within so rich and rare,
As high as the nest of the building stork,
Those pillars of cedar were: --
Wrought up to the brazen chapiters
Of the Sidonian artificers.

And the King stood still as a carven king,
The carven cedarn beams below,
In his purple robe, with his signet-ring,
And his beard as white as snow,
And his face to the Oracle, where the hymn
Dies under the wing of the cherubim.

The wings fold over the Oracle,
And cover the heart and eyes of God:
The Spouse with pomegranate, lily, and bell,
Is glorious in her abode;
For with gold of Ophir, and scent of myrrh,
And purple of Tyre, the King clothed her.

By the soul of each slumbrous instrument
Drawn soft through the musical misty air,
The stream of the folk that came and went,
For worship, and praise, and prayer.
Flowed to and fro, and up and down,
And round the King in his golden crown.

And it came to pass, as the King stood there,
And looked on the house he had build, with pride,
That the Hand of the Lord came una ware,
And touched him; so that he died,
In his purple robe, with his signet-ring
And the crown wherewith they had crowned him king.

And the stream of the folk that came and went
To worship the Lord with prayer and praise,
Went softly ever, in wonderment,
For the King stood there always;
And it was solemn and strange to behold
That dead king crowned with a crown of gold.

For he leaned on his ebony staff upright;
And over his shoulders the purple robe;
And his hair and his beard were both snow-white
And the fear of him filled the globe;
So that none dared touch him, though he was dead,
He looked so royal about the head.

And the moons were changed: and the years rolled on:
And the new king reigned in the old king's stead:
And men were married and buried anon;
But the King stood, stark and dead;
Leaning upright on his ebony staff;
Preserved by the sign of the Pentegraph.

And the stream of life, as it went and came,
Ever for worship and praise and prayer
Was awed by the face, and the fear, and the fame
Of the dead king standing there;
For his hair was so white, and his eyes so cold,
That they left him alone with his crown of gold.

So King Solomon stood up, dead, in the House
Of the Lord, held there by the Pentegraph,
Until out from a pillar there ran a red mouse,
And gnawed through his ebony staff:
Then, flat on his face, the King fell down:
And they picked from the dust a golden crown.

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