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Poem by William Watson


The Key-Board


Five-and-thirty black slaves,
  Half-a-hundred white,
All their duty but to sing
  For their Queen's delight,
Now with throats of thunder,
  Now with dulcet lips,
While she rules them royally
  With her finger-tips!

When she quits her palace,
  All the slaves are dumb
Dumb with dolour till the Queen
  Back to Court is come:
Dumb the throats of thunder,
  Dumb the dulcet lips,
Lacking all the sovereignty
  Of her finger-tips.

Dusky slaves and pallid,
  Ebon slaves and white,
When the Queen was on her throne
  How you sang to-night!
Ah, the throats of thunder!
  Ah, the dulcet lips!
Ah, the gracious tyrannies
  Of her finger-tips!

Silent, silent, silent,
  All your voices now;
Was it then her life alone
  Did your life endow?
Waken, throats of thunder!
  Waken, dulcet lips!
Touched to immortality
  By her finger-tips.



William Watson


William Watson's other poems:
  1. A Child's Hair
  2. On Exaggerated Deference to Foreign Literary Opinion
  3. On Landor's Hellenics
  4. Mensis Lacrimarum
  5. Sketch of a Political Character


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