James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

January 22

God Save the King!

By Theodosia Garrison (1874–1944)

(Accession of Edward VII., Jan. 22, 1901)

GOD save the King! Not from those things

Duly ennumbered in the common plea,

Not only from a court’s monotony

Or tangled trials of State high office brings;

Not only from the licensed jester’s flings,

Not from a Parliament that strives to please,

Or yet from sycophantic drivellings—

God save his Majesty from more than these!

God save the King! From what? Well, here’s the prayer:

Save him from certain moments that may be

Sacred to pomp and circumstance, when he

Feels ennui stealing o’er him unaware

With that sick longing to be otherwhere,

That makes him envy, aye, and here’s the rub,

That man who may enjoy an easy chair

And cigarette and cognac at a club.

God save the King! From what? From memories

That come when one lies long awake o’ night,

And hears an echo laughter, sweet and light,

Sound from old days more jubilant than wise;

Save him from certain thoughts of certain eyes;

Save him from hearing in his dreams the beat

Of unforgotten, pirouetting feet

That knew no line ’twixt men and majesties.

From all the cares that needs must hedge the Guelph,

From all the ills with which our prayer-books ring,

From fools’ advice and wise men’s blundering,

But ever and above all, from himself

God save the King!