Monday, September 03, 2007

The King's Picture

The king from the council chamber came weary and sore of heart;
He called to Cliff, the painter, and spoke to him thus apart:
"I'm sickened of faces ignoble, hypocrites, cowards, and knaves;
I shall shrink to their shrunken measure, chief slave in a realm of slaves.

Paint me a true man's picture, gracious and wise and good,
Dowered with the strength of heroes and the beauty of womanhood.
It shall hang in my inmost chamber, that, thither when I retire,
It may fill my soul with its grandeur, and warm it with sacred fires."

So the artist painted the picture, and it hung in the palace hall;
Never a thing so lovely had garnished the stately wall.
The King, with head uncovered, gazed on it with rapt delight,
Till it suddenly wore strange meaning - baffled his questioning sight.

For the form was the supplest courtier's, perfect in every limb;
But the bearing was that of the henchman who filled the flagons for him;
The brow was a priest's who pondered his parchment early and late;
The eye was the wandering minstrel's who sang at the palace gate.

The lips, half sad and half mirthful, with a fitful trembling grace,
Were the very lips of a woman he had kissed in the market place;
But the smiles which curves transfigured, as a rose with its shimmer of dew,
Was the smile of the wife who loved him, Queen Ethelyn, good and true.

"Then learn, O King," said the artist, "this truth that the picture tells-
That in every form of the human some hint of the highest dwells;
That scanning each living temple for the place that the veil is thin,
We may gather by beautiful glimpses the form of the God within."

by Helen Bostwick


  1. Love the poem. I had never heard this before! Thanks for sharing.

  2. This is great, it works right into a Sunday lesson I am preparing for the young women at church! Thanks!

  3. I chose your blog to give the "Nice Matters Award".

    Visit my blog to claim your prize.

  4. WOW! It's your day for awards! I gave you the "Blogger Reflection" Award. Click on the icon on my page to read the details of the award. Thanks for all your hard work!


  5. Thank you for sharing that poem.

    I would really love to know what your favorite resources are for poetry!

  6. Thank you for the lovely awards, ladies. It is truly an honor for me.

    I use Ambleside's suggestions. I just print them out and put them in booklets for each year. Look at my category section on the side bar under POETRY if you'd like a little more info as to how we implement it.

    Blessings to all of you,

  7. I've given you an award.


    p.s. Haven't forgotten that care package either, things have just been a little crazy around here of late. We're planning a "fall themed" one. Be looking for it some time toward the middle/end of October.


  8. By the way, here's the link to the post about the award.

    It appears as though you been doubly blessed with this one.


  9. Thanks, Lindafay!

    I also used AO's poetry suggestions.
    But this year, we are utilizing "Classic Poetry: An Illustrated Collection."

    I really like your idea of putting them in a booklet. (and I have the perfect binding system for that too!)
    Thanks again for the inspiration.