Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE GREAT GREY KING, 1800-1900, by SAMUEL VALENTINE COLE



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THE GREAT GREY KING, 1800-1900, by            
First Line: The great grey king, the lastest and best of his line, spake thus
Last Line: In the silent fields with his peers; and another reigned in his stead.
Subject(s): Courts & Courtiers; Judgment Day; Spiritual Life; Royal Court Life; Royalty; Kings; Queens; End Of The World; Doomsday; Fall Of Man


THE Great Grey King, the latest and best of his line, spake thus,
Having reigned over all the earth in glory a hundred years:
"My work is finished to-day; and, lo, I must pass away
To the Silent Fields, evermore as a king among my peers."

They praised him, the Great Grey King, through his realm to the far off lands:
"His work and his fame stand sure, whatever the years may bring;"
And there came and bowed the knee his servants in their degree,
Saying, "Give us, before you go, your blessing, O father, the king."

"The Spirit of Water am I, who toil for the welfare of men;
You taught me to toil when I rise from my home in the rain and the snow—
To turn the great wheels, and to be the driver of ships on the sea,
And the lifter of burdens: O king, a blessing before you go."

"And I am the Spirit of Fire; I work, as you bade me, for men;
Their manifold errands I take up and down in the earth, to and fro;
A fleet-footed devil I seem, for I dash through the world like a gleam,
And am here and am there all at once: a blessing before you go."

"And I am the Spirit of Search; I honestly seek the truth;
A troubler of men who fear, but the helper of them that know;
I found how the life of the sod has climbed the great ladder of God,
And all things are linked into one: your blessing before you go."

"And I am the Spirit of Life; the letter is passing away;
I live and I make alive; I raise what is fallen and low;
For the sake of humanity's needs I break through the forms and the creeds
With the truth that makes men free: the blessing before you go."

So he lifted his withered hands o'er the heads of them there, and said:
"Receive my blessing: behold, the Future stands at the door:
Go back to your work, and be true to the task I bequeath you to do:
For the blessing of them that serve is ever to serve the more."

And he turned to the people, and said: "Ye see that my hand has brought
The ends of the earth together and set them face to face.
Learn, therefore, O great, and O small, that as God is the father of all,
Ye all are one brotherhood,—all, whatever your land or race."

Then the Great Grey King, wrapped around in his glory under the stars,
Became as a great grey mist, receding with noiseless tread,
And solemnly passed away to wait for the Judgment Day
In the Silent Fields with his peers; and another reigned in his stead.





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