Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE JESTER CONDEMNED TO DEATH, by HORACE SMITH



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THE JESTER CONDEMNED TO DEATH, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: One of the kings of scanderoon
Last Line: "I'll die, so please you, of old age."
Alternate Author Name(s): Smith, Horatio
Subject(s): Death; Jesters; Sin; Dead, The


ONE of the Kings of Scanderoon,
A royal jester,
Had in his train a gross buffoon,
Who used to pester
The court with tricks inopportune,
Venting on the highest folks his
Scurvy pleasantries and hoaxes.

It needs some sense to play the fool;
Which wholesome rule
Occurred not to our jackanapes,
Who consequently found his freaks
Lead to innumerable scrapes,
And quite as many kicks and tweaks,
Which only seemed to make him faster
Try the patience of his master.

Some sin at last beyond all measure,
Incurred the desperate displeasure
Of his serene and raging highness:
Whether the wag had twitched his beard,
Which he was bound to have revered,
Or had intruded on the shyness
Of the seraglio, or let fly
An epigram at royalty,
None knows -- his sin was an occult one;
But records tell us that the sultan,
Meaning to terrify the knave,
Exclaimed -- "'Tis time to stop that breath;
Thy doom is sealed; -- presumptuous slave!
Thou stand'st condemned to certain death.
Silence, base rebel! -- no replying! --
But such is my indulgence still,
That, of my own free grace and will,
I leave to thee the mode of dying."

"Thy royal will be done -- 'tis just,"
Replied the wretch, and kissed the dust;
"Since my last moments to assuage,
Your majesty's humane decree
Has deigned to leave the choice to me,
I'll die, so please you, of old age."





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