Elizabeth Spires reads

A King Who Keeps to Himself Dwells

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A king who keeps to himself dwells
in a humble house with his sole servant.
While his body-man eats, drinks, feels fever
and chills, and plucks gray hairs from his head,
his master knows nothing of thirst or hunger,
illness or age. They set out together, but whether
fortune or misfortune awaits them on the world’s
wide road depends on the servant’s whim, faithful
or unfaithful to his king. Along the way, a kinswoman,
mother and sister to them both, offers them a room,
a mean, but the soon press on, until the old servant
can go no farther. He stumbles, falls, and cannot
rise again. Then the king, without a glance backward,
continues on to a country we shall all come to know.
Whoever knows this pair, say their names.

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