Rose Terry Cooke



The Man Who Loved The Queen

by Rose Terry Cooke

How could he choose but love the Queen?
Her starry eyes were soft and bright,
Her hair as dark as summer night;
Above her fairest forehead set,
In braid on braid of gleaming jet,
A native regal coronet.

How could he choose but love the Queen?
The scarlet sweetness of her mouth,
Her cheek a lily of the South;
Her smile the sudden light of day,
Calm as the sun's adoring ray
Upon a saint who kneels to pray.

Yet not for this he loved the Queen?
For other maidens shone as fair,
With radiant eyes and dusky hair
Her royal soul and gentle grace
Shone through their beauteous dwelling-place,
And set a glory on her face.

So mightily he loved the Queen,
The ground on which her footsteps trod
He guarded as a sacred sod.
Her gracious accents were to him
More holy than cathedral hymn,
More sweet than quiring cherubim.

So loyally he loved the Queen,
Out from before her face he fled,
Lest any idle word were said;
Lest men defiled her spotless fame
With look profane or mortal name,
Or soiled her soul with trifling blame.

He wandered to the Sepulcher,
Jesu forgive! for love of her.
Whatever loss, or shame, or woe
Assayed his life with traitorous blow,
His heart defied them, whispering low,
I am the man that loves the Queen.

No terror stayed his valiant arm,
No creeping evil worked him harm,
He lived to conquer and endure,
One treasure, in his heart secure,
Guerdoned his life and kept it pure --
I am the man that loves the Queen.

For her sweet sake he lived and died,
Stainless as she in royal pride;
His locks grew white, his pulses cold,
But time nor chance can tarnish gold.
His dying lips the secret told --
I am the man who loves the Queen.

O poet of the miracle!
What use the ancient tale to tell?
In all the world that lives to-day
Dare any man this part essay?
Dare any hapless woman say,
This is the man that loved the Queen?


Copyright 1888
William S. Gottsberger
11 Murray Street
New York