Kingship (CE)

By George Sterling

Mercy and peace how many warring years
    The sons of men have sought, and sought in vain!
    Ever was one who found the spur and rein—
The monarch, girt around with servile spears.
Caesars and sultans, princes and emirs
    Have made an earth demoniac with pain.
    The throne is like an island in the main,
And that deep sea the sea of human tears.

O Spirit of the world, is this thy truth,
    And this thine answer to our questionings?
        Shalt thou be god or devil in our sight,
Beholding mighty nations and their youth
    Betrayed into the feeble hands of kings?
        Feeble, but ah! the flame of war they light!

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