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And the strong man laughed loud as he pushed at her lip the life-apple. She caught

And held it away from her, musing; and muttered "Go to!


It is naught. Fool, why dost thou laugh?" And he answered, "Because, witch, tickles my brain Intensely to think that all we, that be

Something while yet we remain, We, the princes of people-ay, even the

King's self-shall die in our day, And thou, that art Nothing, shall sit on our graves, with our grandsons, and play."

So he said, and laughed louder.

But when, in the gray of the dawn, he was gone,

And the wan light waxed large in the window, as she on her bed sat alone,

With the fruit that, alluring her lip, in her hand lay untasted, perusing, Perplext, the gay gift of the Prince, the dark woman thereat fell a musing,

And she thought

"What is Life without Honor? And what can the life that I live

Give to me, I shall care to continue, not caring for aught it can give?

I, despising the fools that despise me,a plaything not pleasing myself.Whose life, for the pelf that maintains it, must sell what is paid not by pelf!


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the man called me Nothing. He said well. The great in their glory must go.'

And why should I linger, whose life leadeth nowhere?-a life which I know

To name is to shame,-struck, unsexed, by the world from its list of the lives

Of the women whose womanhood, saved, gets them leave to be mothers and wives.

And the fancies of men change. And bitterly bought is the bread that I eat;

For, though purchased with body and spirit, when purchased 't is yet all unsweet."

Her tears fell: they fell on the apple. She sighed "Sour fruit,

like the rest!

Let it go with the salt tears upon it. Yet life it were sweet if possessed

In the power thereof, and the beauty. 'A gift for a king' . did he say? Ay, a king's life is life as it should be, -a life like the light of the day, Wherein all that liveth rejoiceth. For is not the King as the sun That shineth in heaven and seemeth both heaven and itself all in one? Then to whom may this fruit, the lifegiver, be worthily given? Not me. Nor the fool Azariah that sold it for folly. The King! only he,Only he hath the life that's worth living forever. Whose life, not alone Is the life of the King, but the life of the many made mighty in one. To the King will I carry this apple. And he (for the hand of a king Is a fountain of hope) in his handmaid shall honor the gift that I bring. And men for this deed shall esteem me, with Rahab by Israel praised,

As first among those who, though lowly, their shame into honor have raised:

Such honor as lasts when life goes, and, while life lasts, shall lift it above What, if loved by the many I loathe, must be loathed by the few I could love."

So she rose, and went forth through the city. And with her the apple she bore

In her bosom: and stood 'mid the multitude, waiting therewith in the door Of the hall where the King, to give judgment, ascended at morning his throne: And kneeling there, cried, "Let the King live forever! Behold, I am one Whom the vile of themselves count the vilest. But great is the grace of my lord.

And now let my lord on his handmaid look down and give ear to her word."

Thereat, in the witness of all, she drew forth, and (uplifting her head)

Showed the Apple of Life, which who tastes, tastes not death. "And this apple," she said, "Last night was delivered to me, that thy servant should eat, and not die. But I said to the soul of thy servant, 'Not so. For behold, what am I? That the King, in his glory and gladness, should cease from the light

of the sun,

Whiles I, that am least of his slaves, in

my shame and abasement live on,' For not swect is the life of thy servant,

unless to thy servant my lord Stretch his hand, and show favor. For surely the frown of a king of the sword,

But the smile of the king is as honey that flows from the clefts of the rock,

And his grace is as dew that from Horeb descends on the heads of the flock:

In the King is the heart of a host: the King's strength is an army of


And the wrath of the King is a lion that roareth by night from his den:

But as grapes from the vines of EnGedi are favors that fall from his hands,

And as towers on the hill-tops of Shenir

the throne of King Solomon stands.

And for this, it were well that forever the King, who is many in one,

Should sit, to be seen through all time, on a throne 'twixt the moon and the sun!

For how shall one lose what he hath not? Who hath, let him keep what he hath.

Wherefore I to the King give this apple."

Then great was King Solomon's wrath. And he rose, rent his garment, and cried, "Woman, whence came this apple to thee?"

But when he was 'ware of the truth, then his heart was awakened. And he

Knew at once that the man who, erewhile, unawares coming to him, had brought

That Apple of Life was, indeed, God's good Angel of Death. And he though,

"In mercy, I doubt not, when man's eyes were opened and made to see plain

All the wrong in himself, and the wretchedness, GOD sent to close them again

For man's sake, his last friend upon earth,-Death, the servant of GOD, who is just.

Let man's spirit to Him whence it cometh return, and his dust to the dust!"

Then the Apple of Life did King Solomon seal in an urn that was signed

With the seal of Oblivion: and summoned the Spirits that walk in the wind

Unseen on the summits of mountains, where never the eagle yet flew; And these he commanded to bear far away, out of reach, out of view, Out of hope, out of memory, higher than Ararat buildeth his throne, In the Urn of Oblivion the Apple of Life.

But on green jasper-stone Did the King write the story thereof for instruction. And Enoch, the


Coming afterward, searched out the meaning. And he that hath ears, let him hear.



SOLOMON of ancient glory

Of the Lord had roses seven,
Roses of the morning-glory,
Dropping with the dews of heaven.

Angels plucked them in the garden
Of the city high and golden,
Ere the dews had time to harden,

That within their cups were holden,

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But he heeded them not, nor raised his head;

For King Solomon was dead!

Then the body of the king fell down; For a worm had gnawed his staff in twain.

He had prayed to the Lord that the house he planned

Might not be left for another hand,
Might not unfinished remain;
So praying, he had died,

But had not prayed in vain.

So the body of the king fell down, And howling fled the fiends amain; Bitterly grieved, to be so deceived, Howling afar they fled;

Idly they had borne his chain, And done his hateful tasks, in dread Of mystic penal pain,— And King Solomon was dead!



KING SOLOMON stood, in his crown of gold,

Between the pillars, before the altar, In the House of the Lord. And the King was old,

And his strength began to falter, So that he leaned on his ebony staff, Sealed with the seal of the Pentegraph.

All of the golden fretted work

Without and within so rich and rare, As high as the nest of the building stork,

Those pillars of cedar were:Wrought up to the brazen chapiters Of the Sidonian artificers.

And the King stood still as a carven king,

The carven cedarn beams below, In his purple robe, with his signet-ring, And his beard as white as snow, And his face to the Oracle, where the hymn

Dies under the wing of the cherubim.

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