Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > Anthology of Magazine Verse for 1920
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. (1878–1962).  Anthology of Magazine Verse for 1920.  1920.
 
Maximilian Marvelous
 
J. Corson Miller
 
 
“MAXIMILIAN MARVELOUS,” we called him for a joke;
He used to pass us every day, but rarely ever spoke.
The shoes he wore were scandalous—they did not fit his feet;
In tattered coat and greasy shirt he shuffled down the street.
When once we stopped Max solemnly, to pass the time of day,        5
He looked at us, half-doubting, in a hesitating way,
And when we asked him if ’twere true that he was once a king
Of some forgotten island, where the South Sea maidens sing,
Lo! Maximilian Marvelous gave us a withering smile.
I’ll ne’er forget his answer, as it came in vigorous style:        10
“I am a king of everything my roving eyes survey.
My kingdom’s built of sun-lit bowers where little children play,
My sceptre’s made of jeweled song that wakes old village lanes,
My banquet hall is piled with dreams that romp in April rains.
The great, wide world is my estate, but here I choose to ’bide,        15
I married Lady Poverty, and I am satisfied.
I do not work—kings never work; why should I soil my hands?
I am the ruler of my time, for town or meadow lands.
Perhaps I am an artist; then I paint the sunset sky;
Perhaps I am a poet when the days of Autumn die.        20
I eat one square meal every day; its source nobody knows,
And he who gives it to me sees I also get some clothes.
The sun and rains are friends of mine, the stars are my delight,
They bring me thoughts of childhood when my mother’s eyes were bright.
I am a king of everything that money cannot buy.        25
The richest man on earth, like me, must some day fade and die.”
Then Maximilian Marvelous said not another thing;
And as he walked away we cried, “He’s every inch a king!”

  New York Times
 

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