Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE CONQUERORS, by HARRY HIBBARD KEMP



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THE CONQUERORS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I saw the conquerors riding by
Last Line: Came christ, the swordless, on an ass!
Subject(s): Conquistadors; History; War; Historians


I SAW the Conquerors riding by
With trampling feet of horse and men:
Empire on empire like the tide
Flooded the world and ebbed again;

A thousand banners caught the sun,
And cities smoked along the plain,
And laden down with silk and gold
And heaped-up pillage groaned the wain.

I saw the Conquerors riding by,
Splashing through loathsome floods of war—
The Crescent leaning o'er its hosts,
And the barbaric scimitar,—

And continents of moving spears,
And storms of arrows in the sky,
And all the instruments sought out
By cunning men that men may die!

I saw the Conquerors riding by
With cruel lips and faces wan:
Musing on kingdoms sacked and burned
There rode the Mongol Ghengis Khan;

And Alexander, like a god,
Who sought to weld the world in one;
And Cæsar with his laurel wreath;
And like a thing from Hell the Hun;

And, leading like a star the van,
Heedless of upstretched arm and groan,
Inscrutable Napoleon went
Dreaming of empire, and alone ...

Then all they perished from the earth
As fleeting shadows from a glass,
And, conquering down the centuries,
Came Christ, the Swordless, on an ass!





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