The Statues And The Tear

A poem by Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

All night a fountain pleads,
Telling her beads,
Her tinkling beads monotonous 'neath the moon;
And where she springs atween,
Two statues lean--
Two Kings, their marble beards with moonlight
strewn.

Till hate had frozen speech,
Each hated each,
Hated and died, and went unto his place:
And still inveterate
They lean and hate
With glare of stone implacable, face to face.

One, who bade set them here
In stone austere,
To both was dear, and did not guess at all:
Yet with her new-wed lord
Walking the sward
Paused, and for two dead friends a tear let fall.

She turn'd and went her way.
Yet in the spray
The shining tear attempts, but cannot lie.
Night-long the fountain drips,
But even slips
Untold that one bead of her rosary:
While they, who know it would
Lie if it could,
Lean on and hate, watching it, eye to eye.

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