Spleen of the King of a Rainy Land (Spleen)

I’m like that king of a rainy land
A hard-weathered figurehead, a wealthy but withered young man
Just as bored with obsequious tutors as he
Is bored with his hounds and the beasts of his menagerie

No sport, not his falcon, no manner of toy
No not even the pleas of his suffering subjects bring him joy
His best fool’s lascivious ballads of death
Fail to distract from the pain of each labored breath

The Royal bed’s become his tomb
The ladies-in-waiting are waiting in his room
They whore themselves up in vain hope they’ll evince
An affectionate smile from their quarry; the skeleton prince

The alchemist who draws out gold from lead
Can’t elicit ease from the tired monarch’s head
Though ancient Romans bathed in blood-filled pools
This favored tonic among those who rule
Will never warm this corpse’s veins, they flow
With Lethian ooze; Thick tepid, green and slow.

–Translated by T-Roy Martin

[Original poem here.]


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