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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Charles Mackay (1814–1889)


THE KING can drink the best of wine—

So can I;

And has enough when he would dine—

So have I;

And cannot order rain or shine—

Nor can I.

Then where’s the difference—let me see—

Betwixt my lord the king and me?

Do trusty friends surround his throne

Night and day?

Or make his interest their own?

No, not they.

Mine love me for myself alone—

Blessed be they!

And that’s the difference which I see

Betwixt my lord the king and me.

Do knaves around me lie in wait

To deceive?

Or fawn and flatter when they hate,

And would grieve?

Or cruel pomps oppress my state

By my leave?

No, Heaven be thanked! And here you see

More difference ’twixt the king and me.

He has his fools, with jests and quips,

When he’d play;

He has his armies and his ships—

Great are they;

But not a child to kiss his lips—


And that’s a difference sad to see

Betwixt my lord the king and me.

I wear the cap and he the crown—

What of that?

I sleep on straw and he on down—

What of that?

And he’s the king and I’m the clown—

What of that?

If happy I, and wretched he,

Perhaps the king would change with me.