Published on Academy of American Poets (

The King on the Tower


  "Da liegen sie alle, die grauen Höhen."

  The cold gray hills they bind me around,
    The darksome valleys lie sleeping below,
  But the winds as they pass o'er all this ground,
    Bring me never a sound of woe!

  Oh! for all I have suffered and striven,
    Care has embittered my cup and my feast;
  But here is the night and the dark blue heaven,
    And my soul shall be at rest.

  O golden legends writ in the skies!
    I turn towards you with longing soul,
  And list to the awful harmonies
    Of the Spheres as on they roll.

  My hair is gray and my sight nigh gone;
    My sword it rusteth upon the wall;
  Right have I spoken, and right have I done:
    When shall I rest me once for all?

  O blessed rest!  O royal night!
    Wherefore seemeth the time so long
  Till I see you stars in their fullest light,
  And list to their loudest song?


This poem is in the public domain. 

About this Poem

From Ballads and Songs (London: Cassell and Company, 1896).



William Makepeace Thackeray

William Makepeace Thackeray, born July 18, 1811, was an English writer best known for his novels, particularly The History of Henry Esmond, Esq. (The Mershon Company Publishers, 1852) and Vanity Fair (Bradbury and Evans, 1848). While in school, Thackeray began writing poems, which he published in a number of magazines, chiefly Fraser and Punch. He died on December 24, 1863.

Date Published: 2018-07-11

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