Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SOLOMON AND THE MONKEYS, by PATRICK REGINALD CHALMERS

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First Line: Apes and peacocks and almug and ivory
Last Line: That's their wisdom of gods of old!
Subject(s): Monkeys; Wisdom

APES and peacocks and almug and ivory
Solomon sent for over seas,
And, if you ask me the reason why for he
Sent his shipping for such as these—
Peacocks flaunt like an opal necklace,
Figurey almug's fair and fleckless,
Ivory's smooth and white and speckless
(Tusks on a plinth of gold);
And the little grey monkeys, so wrinkled wise,
Little grey apes with the twinkling eyes,
Puckered, brown and cold,
'Spite of their lightsome ways and reckless,
Know the wisdom of gods of old!

Solomon sat by his garden places
Seeking wisdom of earth and air;
Little grey apes, full of mocks and malices,
Chipped and chattered around his chair;
Chipped and chattered and made grimaces,
Rubbed their backs and their wrinkled faces,
Swung themselves with a score of graces
Through the cedar trees:
But never their knowledge could Solomon catch,
For, if he asked them, they'd only scratch,
Stop and scratch for fleas;
Then they'd rocket away in races,
Ruffling, scuffling, in twos and threes!

So Solomon sent for Hiram, King o' Tyre—
Hiram strode 'neath the budding leaf,
Purple vesture and golden ring, attire
Fit indeed for a merchant chief—
He bade him watch the monkeys slipping
Through the pomegranate branches dipping
Over the fountains ferned and dripping,
Green and clear and cold;
And " 'Tis excellent knowledge," King Hiram said,
"That keeps its learning inside its head;
That's your monkey's gold—
That's the reason that sets them skipping—
That's their wisdom of gods of old!

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