Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. I. Of Home: of Friendship
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume I. Of Home: of Friendship.  1904.
 
Poems of Home: I. About Children
The Household Sovereign
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)
 

SEATED I see the two again,
But not alone; they entertain
A little angel unaware,
With face as round as is the moon;
A royal guest with flaxen hair,        5
Who, throned upon his lofty chair,
Drums on the table with his spoon,
Then drops it careless on the floor,
To grasp at things unseen before.
Are these celestial manners? these        10
The ways that win, the arts that please?
Ah, yes; consider well the guest,
And whatsoe’er he does seems best;
He ruleth by the right divine
Of helplessness, so lately born        15
In purple chambers of the morn,
As sovereign over thee and thine.
He speaketh not, and yet there lies
A conversation in his eyes;
The golden silence of the Greek,        20
The gravest wisdom of the wise,
Not spoken in language, but in looks
More legible than printed books,
As if he could but would not speak.
And now, O monarch absolute,        25
Thy power is put to proof; for lo!
Resistless, fathomless, and slow,
The nurse comes rustling like the sea,
And pushes back thy chair and thee,
And so good night to King Canute.        30
 
 
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