His frown brought terror to his foes,
But now in twilight of his days
The pure perfection of a rose
Can kindle rapture in his gaze.
Where once he swung the sword of wrath
And peoples trembled at his word,
With hoe he trims a pansied path
And listens to a bird.
His large of life was lived with noise,
With war and strife and crash of kings:
But now he hungers for the joys
Of peace, and hush of homely things.
His old dog nuzzles by his knee,
And seems to say: 'Oh Master dear,
Please do not ever part from me!
We are so happy here.'
His ancient maid, as sky draws dim,
Calls to him that the soup grows cold.
She tyrannises over him
Who once held armies in his hold.
With slippers, old skull-cap and shawl
He dreams and dozes by the fire,
Sighing: 'Behold the end of all,
Sweet rest my sole desire.
'My task is done, my pen is still;
My Book is there for all to see,--
The final triumph of my will,
Ineffably, my victory.
A Tiger once, but now a lamb,
With frailing hand my gate I close.
How hushed my heart! My life how calm!
--Its crown a Rose.'
Robert William Service