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The Despot

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Written by Edith Nesbit

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 1 The garden mould was damp and chill,
2 Winter had had his brutal will
3 Since over all the year's content
4 His devastating legions went.
5 Then Spring's bright banners came: there woke 6 Millions of little growing folk 7 Who thrilled to know the winter done, 8 Gave thanks, and strove towards the sun.
9 Not so the elect; reserved, and slow 10 To trust a stranger-sun and grow, 11 They hesitated, cowered and hid 12 Waiting to see what others did.
13 Yet even they, a little, grew, 14 Put out prim leaves to day and dew, 15 And lifted level formal heads 16 In their appointed garden beds.
17 The gardener came: he coldly loved 18 The flowers that lived as he approved, 19 That duly, decorously grew 20 As he, the despot, meant them to.
21 He saw the wildlings flower more brave 22 And bright than any cultured slave; 23 Yet, since he had not set them there, 24 He hated them for being fair.
25 So he uprooted, one by one 26 The free things that had loved the sun, 27 The happy, eager, fruitful seeds 28 That had not known that they were weeds.


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