George Sylvester Viereck

Prince Carnival

 Next Poem          

JINGLING bells and cracking whip,
Laughter and jest on every lip! —
Thou drew'st thy gorgeous mantle tight —
But lo! I marked and knew at sight.
In all this dazzling mirth the best,
A golden star upon thy breast,
The kingly sceptre in thy hand,
Thou gazest on thy fairyland.
Yet as thou tak'st the golden wine,
A glory round thy head will shine;
Then all will know along the hall
That it is thou — Prince Carnival!
A shout goes up from row to row,
The viols scrape and trumpets blow.
The quick hand swings the whip with art —
Thy laughter masters every heart.
But as into thine eyes I peep,
There looks on me a woe so deep —
Unutterable and hidden all,
Unhappy Prince of Carnival,
'Tis but a mask, this jesting part!
Mankind's eternal pain thou art!
Once in the year, like storm long pent,
Forth bursts thy heart-sick merriment.
An inward fire feverishly
Tortures and goads the blood in thee,
That on the moment thou dost forget
How poor, how sick thy heart is yet.
Therefore my heart it burns for thee,
Thou beautiful prince of faery,
And oh, my love, my Prince, is great —
As boundless as impassionate.
It is the deepest of all things
How man unto his sorrow clings —
His breast's own pain, supreme through all;
So I love thee, Prince Carnival.

Next Poem 

 Back to
George Sylvester Viereck