William Watson

1858-1935 / England

The Key-Board

Five-and-thirty black slaves,
Half-a-hundred white,
All their duty but to sing
For their Queen's delight,
Now with throats of thunder,
Now with dulcet lips,
While she rules them royally
With her finger-tips!

When she quits her palace,
All the slaves are dumb-
Dumb with dolour till the Queen
Back to Court is come:
Dumb the throats of thunder,
Dumb the dulcet lips,
Lacking all the sovereignty
Of her finger-tips.

Dusky slaves and pallid,
Ebon slaves and white,
When the Queen was on her throne
How you sang to-night!
Ah, the throats of thunder!
Ah, the dulcet lips!
Ah, the gracious tyrannies
Of her finger-tips!

Silent, silent, silent,
All your voices now;
Was it then her life alone
Did your life endow?
Waken, throats of thunder!
Waken, dulcet lips!
Touched to immortality
By her finger-tips.
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