Lionel Pigot Johnson

(1867-1902 / England)

By The Statue Of King Charles At Charing Cross - Poem by Lionel Pigot Johnson

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Sombre and rich, the skies;
Great glooms, and starry plains.
Gently the night wind sighs;
Else a vast silence reigns.


The splendid silence clings
Around me: and around
The saddest of all kings
Crowned, and again discrowned.


Comely and calm, he rides
Hard by his own Whitehall:
Only the night wind glides:
No crowds, nor rebels, brawl.


Gone, too, his Court; and yet,
The stars his courtiers are:
Stars in their stations set;
And every wandering star.


Alone he rides, alone,
The fair and fatal king:
Dark night is all his own,
That strange and solemn thing.


Which are more full of fate:
The stars; or those sad eyes?
Which are more still and great:
Those brows; or the dark skies?


Although his whole heart yearn
In passionate tragedy:
Never was face so stern
With sweet austerity.


Vanquished in life, his death
By beauty made amends:
The passing of his breath
Won his defeated ends.


Brief life and hahpless? Nay:
Through death, life grew sublime.
Speak after sentence? Yea:
And to the end of time.


Armoured he rides, his head
Bare to the stars of doom:
He triumphs now, the dead,
Beholding London's gloom.


Our wearier spirit faints,
Vexed in the world's employ:
His soul was of the saints;
And art to him was joy.


King, tried in fires of woe!
Men hunger for thy grace:
And through the night I go,
Loving thy mournful face.


Yet when the city sleeps;
When all the cries are still:
The stars and heavenly deeps
Work out a perfect will.


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010



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