Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
To W. A.
By William Ernest Henley (1849–1903)
OR ever the knightly years were gone
  With the old world to the grave,
I was a King in Babylon
  And you were a Christian Slave.
I saw, I took, I cast you by,        5
  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.        10
And a myriad suns have set and shone
  Since then upon the grave
Decreed by the King in Babylon
  To her that had been his Slave.
The pride I trampled is now my scathe,        15
  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.        20
Yet not for an 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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