Guilielmus Rex

A poem by Thomas Bailey Aldrich

The folk who lived in Shakespeare's day
And saw that gentle figure pass
By London Bridge, his frequent way--
They little knew what man he was.

The pointed beard, the courteous mien,
The equal port to high and low,
All this they saw or might have seen--
But not the light behind the brow!

The doublet's modest gray or brown,
The slender sword-hilt's plain device,
What sign had these for prince or clown?
Few turned, or none, to scan him twice.

Yet 'twas the king of England's kings!
The rest with all their pomps and trains
Are mouldered, half-remembered things--
'Tis he alone that lives and reigns!

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