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William Ernest Henley (Уильям Эрнст Хенли)

Echoes. 37. Or Ever the Knightly Years Were Gone

              To W. A.

Or ever the knightly years were gone
   With the old world to the grave,
I was a King in Babylon
   And you were a Christian Slave.

I saw, I took, I cast you by,
   I bent and broke your pride.
You loved me well, or I heard them lie,
   But your longing was denied.
Surely I knew that by and by
   You cursed your gods and died.

And a myriad suns have set and shone
   Since then upon the grave
Decreed by the King in Babylon
   To her that had been his Slave.

The pride I trampled is now my scathe,
   For it tramples me again.
The old resentment lasts like death,
   For you love, yet you refrain.
I break my heart on your hard unfaith,
   And I break my heart in vain.

Yet not for an hour do I wish undone
   The deed beyond the grave,
When I was a King in Babylon
   And you were a Virgin Slave.

William Ernest Henley's other poems:
  1. In Hospital. 12. Etching
  2. Attadale, West Highlands
  3. In Hospital. 18. Children: Private Ward
  4. In Hospital. 3. Interior
  5. Echoes. 14. The Wan Sun Westers, Faint and Slow

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