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Lollingdon Downs VIII

 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.

by John Masefield
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