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Ballad of the King’s Triumph

From the Evening Public Ledger, June 18, 1915. By Dana Burnet.

“Call me my minstrel,” said the king,
    “And let him sing a glee.
For I have won this summer day
    A mighty victory.

“Between the tides of dawn and dusk
    Upon a field I stood
And saw my gallant swords drink deep
    Of body and of blood.

“So bid my merry minstrel in
    With lute and silver thong,
And let him take my stained sword
    And sheathe it in a song!”

The minstrel came, an ancient man,
    And smote a silver string.
“Oh, gallant is the victory
    And mighty is the king!

“At dawn he rode with all his knights
    Into a virgin field.
At dusk the blood of honest men
    Was stained upon his shield.

“And in the houses of his foes
    A thousand leagues away,
The hearts of women bled and broke
    Upon a summer’s day.”

“What song is this?” the monarch cried,
    “What sorrow dost thou sing?”
“Why, only of the victory
    That crowned my lord and king.”

The minstrel smiled a fleeting smile
    And smote a splendid chord.
“Oh, gallant is the use of arms
    And mighty is the sword!

“For on this day a greening field
    Was won at crimson cost;
And what the gods of war have gained
    The loves of men have lost.

“And many a heart of friend and foe
    Has broken on this day,
And children starve and women weep
    A thousand leagues away!

“Then cry the triumph to the stars
    And let the heavens ring!
For gallant is the victory!
    And mighty is the king!”

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