To The King Of Macedonia

written by George Moses Horton

To The King Of Macedonia

— George Moses Horton

Thou may'st with pleasure hail the dawn,
And greet the morning's eye;
Remember, king, the night comes on,
The fleeting day will soon be gone,
Not distant, loud proclaims the funeral tone,
Phillip, thou hast to die.

With thee thy dame, the queen of birds,
May spread her wing to fly;
Or smile to trace the numerous herds,
Thunders from the Lord of lords,
I hear some peal surpassing human words,
Philip, thou hast to die.

Thou mayst thy mighty host survey
And neighboring kings defy,
Whilst round thy retinues flit gay,
Beneath thy pomp's imperial ray,
Make merry on the tide of joy to day,
To-morrow thou shalt die.

I heave to hear the day's last peal,
A sorrow teeming sigh;
The morning's flutt'ring bird has flown,
The roses fade, so quickly blown,
The lofty king falls robeless from his throne,
Philip was born to die.

'Twas thus the haughty king of France
Strove to ascend on high;
Lifting his adamantine lance,
He bade his dauntless war-horse prance,
Defied the world, and rode the car of chance,
To rage, to fume and die.

Thus vile, thus obstinately vain,
He pours his distant brag,
Regardless of his millions slain,
Regales his pale surviving train,
Was but wraped in his infernal chain,
Dies on the ocean crag.

This faithful lesson read to all
Creation, far and nigh,
It is the fate, from Adam's fall,
The swain, the king, the low, and tall,
The watchman of the grave must give the call,
Mortal, thou hast to die.

About the poet


George Moses Horton

George Moses Horton was an African-American poet. Biography He was born into slavery on William Horton's plantation in Northampton County, North Carolina. As a very young child, he and several family members were moved to a tobacco farm in rural Chatham County, when his owner relocated. Horton composed poems in his mind through his teen years. He was allowed by his master to visit the nearby University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he recited poems to students who eagerly wrote them down and paid him for his compositions. His fame spread, and a collection of poems was published under the title The Hope of Liberty (1829). Horton was the first black southern author and the first African American poet...

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