James Elroy Flecker

The Masque of the Magi

Three Kings have come to Bethlehem
With a trailing star in front of them.


What would you in this little place,
    You three bright kings?


Mother, we tracked the trailing star
Which brought us here from lands afar,
And we would look on his dear face
Round whom the Seraphs fold their wings.


But who are you, bright kings?


Caspar am I: the rocky North
From storm and silence drave me forth
    Down to the blue and tideless sea.
I do not fear the tinkling sword,
For I am a great battle-lord,
    And love the horns of chivalry.
And I have brought thee splendid gold,
The strong man's joy, refined and cold.
    All hail, thou Prince of Galilee!


I am Balthazar, Lord of Ind,
Where blows a soft and scented wind
    From Taprobane towards Cathay.
My children, who are tall and wise,
Stand by a tree with shutten eyes
And seem to meditate or pray.
And these red drops of frankincense
Betoken man's intelligence.
    Hail, Lord of Wisdom, Prince of Day!


I am the dark man, Melchior,
And I shall live but little more
    Since I am old and feebly move.
My kingdom is a burnt-up land
Half buried by the drifting sand,
    So hot Apollo shines above.
What could I bring but simple myrrh
White blossom of the cordial fire?
    Hail, Prince of Souls, and Lord of Love!


O Prince of souls and Lord of Love,
O'er thee the purple-breasted dove
Shall watch with open silver wings,
    Thou King of Kings.
Suaviole o flos Virginum,
Apparuit Rex Gentium.
. . .
"Who art thou, little King of Kings?"
His wondering mother sings.

About the poet
James Elroy Flecker
By the same poet
To a Poet a thousand years hence
The Town without a Market
The Ballad of Camden Town
Felo de se
Tenebris Interlucentem
Invitation to a young but learned friend...
Ballad of the Londoner
The First Sonnet of Bathrolaire
The Second Sonnet of Bathrolaire
The Ballad of Hampstead Heath
Litany to Satan
The Translator and the Children
Destroyer of Ships, Men, Cities
War Song of the Saracens
Joseph and Mary
No Coward's Song
A Western Voyage
The Welsh Sea
Oxford Canal
Hialmar speaks to the Raven
The Ballad of the Student in the South
The Queen's song
Lord Arnaldos
We that were friends
My Friend
Mary Magdalen
I rose from dreamless hours
A Miracle of Bethlehem
Gravis Dulcis Immutabilis
The Ballad of Zacho
Pavlovna in London
The Sentimentalist
Don Juan in Hell
The Ballad of Iskander
Related books
James Elroy Flecker at amazon.co.uk

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