The King

I am the king of a wide domain, and you deem it a wonderful thing;
But the kingly height is a terrible height--God pity the lonely king!

Heed this, O you who envy me my purple, and pomp, and clan;
Thank Him who made you, and made us all, that He made you a Common Man!

What of the pride and the glory of name, the absolute wealth of the land,
When what I need and crave the most is the clasp of a comrade's hand?

But king am I of a vast domain, and crowned by a foolish fate,
While a foolish world bows down to me and dares to call me great.

My ships fare forth to the open sea, my mariners speed afar,
Where the sweet adventure, the risk, and the loss, and the wonderful conflict are.

My soldiers fly to the far-off hills at the sound of the cannon's call,
But the hapless king, and the lonely king, he bides in the palace hall.

O for a glimpse of the wide, great world, and a taste of the life that is true--
A taste of the life that is yours, and yours! O for the larger view!

To march, uncrowned, with the eager crowd that moves on the white highway,
To know their mirth, their tears, their loves, the hopes of their golden day;

To sing with them, and to lift his voice with the horde of the Common Men--
This is the prayer the monarch prays, again, and again, and again!

Out in the heart of the golden Spring I know where banners wave
More bright than the pennons that are mine own, more beautiful and brave.

Crown me with freedom of the hills, and place upon my lip
A song of the honest brotherhood and the noble fellowship!

Make me the equal of other men! O let it not be said
No humble heart may walk with me the foolish height I tread!

Let me out where the teeming flood pours toward Life's open sea,
And let me walk the way of man with all humanity.

Bitter the heart that beats in my breast when I hear the clamor of life,
And I know that the world so far from me gives me no part in its strife.

They prate the joy of rulers; yea, they cry the glory of kings,
But few may know what loneliness about a great throne clings.

Sadly I reign in my palace place, and none may understand
How much I crave the world's turmoil and the clap of a comrade's hand.


I am the king of a wide domain, and you deem it a wonderful thing;
But the kingly height is a terrible height--God pity the lonely king!

by Charles Hanson Towne

Other poems of CHARLES HANSON TOWNE (106)

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