Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward

The King's Image

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Of iron were his arms; they could have held
The need of half the kingdom up; and in
His brow were iron atoms too. Thus was
He built. His heart, observe, was wrought of gold,
Burnished; it dazzled one to look at it.
His feet were carved of clay--and so he fell.


Clay unto clay shall perish and return.
The tooth of rust shall gnaw the iron down.
The conqueror of time, gold must endure.


Thou great amalgam! Suffering in thyself,
The while inflicting still the certain fate
Of thy disharmony. From Nature's law,
Unto her law, thy doom appeals; bids thee
To fear the metal sinews of thy soul,
And scorn the dust on which thou totterest;
But save, oh, save the heart of gold for one
Who did, beholding, trust in it.

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Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward