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William Ernest Henley

William Ernest Henley

WILLIAM ERNEST HENLEY: "Or Ever the Knightly Years..."

"Or Ever the Knightly Years..."

Or ever the knightly years were gone
   With the old world to the grave,
I was the King of 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 of 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 hour do I wish undone
   The deed beyond the grave,
When I was a King in Babylon
   And you were a Virgin Slave.



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