Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE KING OF THE PLOW, by PAUL HAMILTON HAYNE



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE KING OF THE PLOW, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The sword is re-sheathed in its scabbard
Last Line: Was once the swart king of the plow!
Subject(s): Reconstruction (1865-1876)


THE sword is re-sheathed in its scabbard,
The rifle hangs safe on the wall;
No longer we quail at the hungry
Hot rush of the ravenous ball,
The war-cloud has hurled its last lightning,
Its last awful thunders are still,
While the demon of conflict in Hades
Lies fettered in force as in will:
Above the broad fields that he ravaged,
What monarch rules blissfully now?
Oh! crown him with bays that are bloodless,
The king, the brave king of the plow!

A king! ay! what ruler more potent
Has ever swayed earth by his nod?
A monarch! aye, more than a monarch,
A homely, but bountiful God!
He stands where in earth's sure protection
The seed-grains are scattered and sown,
To uprise in serene resurrection
When spring her soft trumpet hath blown!
A monarch! yea, more than a monarch,
Though toil-drops are thick on his brow;
O! crown him with corn-leaf and wheat-leaf,
The king, the strong king of the plow!

Through the shadow and shine of past ages,
(While tyrants were blinded with blood)
He reared the pure ensign of Ceres
By meadow, and mountain, and flood,
And the long, leafy gold of his harvests
The earth-sprites and air-sprites had spun,
Grew rhythmic when swept by the breezes,
Grew royal, when kissed by the sun;
Before the stern charm of his patience
What rock-rooted forces must bow!
Come! crown him with corn-leaf and wheat-leaf,
The king, the bold king of the plow!

Through valleys of balm-drooping myrtles,
By banks of Arcadian streams,
Where the wind-songs are set to the mystic
Mild murmur of passionless dreams;
On the storm-haunted uplands of Thule,
By ice-girdled fiords and floes,
Alike speeds the spell of his god-hood,
The bloom of his heritage glows;
A monarch! yea, more than a monarch,
All climes to his prowess must bow;
Come crown him with bays that are stainless,
The king, the brave king of the plow.

Far, far in earth's uttermost future,
As boundless of splendor as scope,
I see the fair angel! -- fruition,
Outspeed his high heralds of hope;
The roses of joy rain around him,
The lilies of sweetness and calm,
For the sword has been changed to the plowshare,
The lion lies down with the lamb!
O! angel-majestic! We know thee,
Though raised and transfigured art thou,
This lord of life's grand consummation
Was once the swart king of the plow!





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