Robert William Service (16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)
A gaunt and hoary slab of stone
I found in desert place,
And wondered why it lay alone
In that abandoned place.
Said I: 'Maybe a Palace stood
Where now the lizards crawl,
With courts of musky quietude
And turrets tall.
Maybe where low the vultures wing
'Mid mosque and minaret,
The proud pavilion of a King
Was luminously set.
'Mid fairy fountains, alcoves dim,
Upon a garnet throne
He ruled,--and now all trace of him
Is just this stone.
Ah well, I've done with wandering,
But from a blousy bar
I see with drunk imagining
A Palace like a star.
I build it up from one grey stone
With gardens hanging high,
And dream . . . Long, long ere Babylon
It's King was I.
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