Tragedy by George William Russell
A MAN went forth one day at eve:
The long dayâ€™s toil for him was done:
The eye that scanned the page could leave
Its task until tomorrowâ€™s sun.
Upon the threshold where he stood
Flared on his tired eyes the sight,
Where host on host the multitude
Burned fiercely in the dusky night.
The starry lights at playâ€”at playâ€”
The giant children of the blue,
Heaped scorn upon his trembling clay
And with their laughter pierced him through.
They seemed to say in scorn of him
â€œThe power we have was once in thee.
King, is thy spirit grown so dim,
That thou art slave and we are free?â€
As out of him the powerâ€”the powerâ€”
The freeâ€”the fearless, whirled in play,
He knew himself that bitter hour
The close of all his royal day.
And from the starsâ€™ exultant dance
Within the fiery furnace glow,
Exile of all the vast expanse,
He turned him homeward sick and slow.