It has always been King Herod that I feared;
King Herod and his kinsmen, ever since…
I do not like the color of your beard;
I think that you are wicked, and a prince.
I keep no stable…how your horses stamp!…
If you are wise men, you will leave me soon;
I have been frightened by a thievish tramp
Who counted bloody silver in the moon.
You get no lodging underneath these roofs,
No, though you pay in frankincense and myrrh;
Your harness jangles with your horses’ hooves;
Be quiet; you will wake him if you stir.
This is no church for Zoroastrians,
Nor resting-place for governors from Rome;
Oh, I have knowledge of your secret plans;
Your faces are familiar; go home.
And you, young captain of the lion stare,
Subdue your arrogance to this advice;
You should forbid your soldiery to swear,
To spit at felons, and to play at dice.
You have perceived, above the chimney ledge,
Hanging inverted by Saint David’s harp,
His sword from Heaven, with the double edge
Which, for your service, is no longer sharp.
He sleeps, like some ingenuous shepherd boy
Or carpenter’s apprentice, but his slim
And wounded hands shall never more destroy
Another giant; do not waken him.
The counterpane conceals the deeper wound
Which lately I have washed with vinegar;
Now let this iron bar be importuned;
I say you shall not speak to him of war.