The Book of the Native

by Charles G.D. Roberts


 

The Wrestler


 

When God sends out His company to travel through the stars,
There is every kind of wonder in the show;
There is every kind of animal behind its prison bars;
With riders in a many-colored row.
The master showman, Time, has a strange trick of rhyme,
5
And the clown’s most ribald jest is a tear;
But the best drawing card is the Wrestler huge and hard,
Who can fill the tent at any time of year.

His eye is on the crowd, and he beckons with his hand,
With authoritative finger, and they come.

10
The rules of the game they do not understand,
But they go as in a dream, and are dumb.
They would fain say him nay, and they look the other way,
Till at last to the ropes they cling.
But he throws them one by one till the show for them is done,
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In the blood-red dust of the ring.

There’s none to shun his challenge—they must meet him soon or

  late,  
And he knows a cunning trick for all heels.
The king’s haughty crown drops in jeers from his pate
As the hold closes on him, and he reels.
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The burly and the proud, the braggarts of the crowd,
Every one of them he topples down in thunder.
His grip grows mild for the dotard and the child,
But alike they must all go under.

Oh, many a mighty foeman would try a fall with him—

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Persepolis and Babylon and Rome,
Assyria and Sardis, they see their fame grow dim,
As he tumbles in the dust every dome.
At length will come an hour when the stars shall feel his power,
And he shall have his will upon the sun.
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Ere we know what he’s about, the stars will be put out,
And the wonder of the show will be undone.