Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
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Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
 
From the Day-book of a Forgotten Prince
By Jean Starr Untermeyer
 
MY father is happy or we should be poor.
His gateway is wide, and the folk of the moor
Come singing so gaily right up to the door.
 
We live in a castle that’s dingy and old;
The casements are broken, the corridors cold,        5
The larder is empty, the cook is a scold.
 
But father can dance, and his singing is loud.
From meadow and highway there’s always a crowd
That gathers to hear him, and this makes him proud.
 
He roars out a song in a voice that is sweet—        10
Of grandeur that’s gone, rare viands to eat,
And treasure that used to be laid at his feet.
 
He picks up his robe, faded, wrinkled and torn,
Though banded in ermine, moth-eaten and worn,
And held at the throat by a twisted old thorn.        15
 
He leaps in the air with a rickety grace,
And a kingly old smile illumines his face,
While he fondles his beard and stares off into space.
 
The villagers laugh, then look quickly away,
And some of them kneel in the orchard to pray.        20
I often hear whispers: “The old king is fey.”
 
But after they’re gone, we shall find, if you please,
White loaves and a pigeon, and honey and cheese,
And wine that we drink while I sit on his knees.
 
And, while he sups, he will feed me and tell        25
Of Mother, whom men used to call “The Gazelle,”
And of glorious times before the curse fell.
 
And then he will fall, half-asleep, to the floor;
The rafters will echo his quivering snore….
I go to find cook through the slack oaken door.        30
 
My father is happy or we should be poor.
His gateway is wide, and the folk of the moor
Come singing so gaily right up to the door.
 
 
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