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The King and the Stroller


The Queen's Christmas Carol: An Anthology of Poems,
Short Stories, Essays, Drawings and Music by British Authors Artists and Composers
(London, "The Daily Mail", 1905)

The Stroller's life is freedom true
  (A fact I'm now attesting),
The King — well he's an Actor too,
  Hardworked and never "resting."
From eight to twelve your Strollers play
  (Say twelve, to be within time),
Your King plays fifty parts a day
  From dawn to turning-in time.
The King dies once and dies outright,
  Then flies to regions upper:
The Stroller dies three times a night,
  Then toddles home to supper.
With perils dark and dangers drear
  A King too often grapples:
The deadliest missiles Strollers fear
  Are oranges and apples.
    On kingly crimes
      Falls vengeance dread;
    A King sometimes
      May lose his head.
    Though his endeavour
      Audience quiz,
    An Actor never
      Loses his.

The King who strikes unlawful blows,
  His country always blames him:
The Actor stabs a dozen foes,
  Yet no policeman claims him.
When Monarchs waste a nation's gold
  They rouse the papers daily:
When Actors give "a sum twice-told"
  Their country bears it gaily.
A king from Royalty deposed
  Finds life a vain chimæra:
The Actor when his theatre's closed
  Turns lightly to the Era.
In short this summing-up you'll find
  A very useful factor —
A King both "P's" and "Qs" must mind —
  His "Qs" alone an Actor.
    Oh don't suppose
      A Royal crown
    Is bed of rose
      Or seat of down;
    Compelled to State
      As Monarchs are,
    A Stroller's fate
      Is fairer far!

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