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Lollingdon Downs VIII

Written by: John Masefield | Biography
 | Quotes (8) |
 THE Kings go by with jewled crowns; 
Their horses gleam, their banners shake, their spears are many. 
The sack of many-peopled towns 
Is all their dream: 
The way they take 
Leaves but a ruin in the brake, 
And, in the furrow that the plowmen make, 
A stampless penny, a tale, a dream. 

The Merchants reckon up their gold, 
Their letters come, their ships arrive, their freights are glories; 
The profits of their treasures sold 
They tell and sum; 
Their foremen drive 
Their servants, starved to half-alive, 
Whose labors do but make the earth a hive 
Of stinking stories; a tale, a dream. 

The Priests are singing in their stalls, 
Their singing lifts, their incense burns, their praying clamors; 
Yet God is as the sparrow falls, 
The ivy drifts; 
The votive urns 
Are all left void when Fortune turns, 
The god is but a marble for the kerns 
To break with hammers; a tale, a dream. 

O Beauty, let me know again 
The green earth cold, the April rain, the quiet waters figuring sky, 
The one star risen. 
So shall I pass into the feast 
Not touched by King, Merchant, or Priest; 
Know the red spirit of the beast, 
Be the green grain; 
Escape from prison.