His only son walks in, And in walls of steel he stands: " Make me, O father, strong to win, "With the blessing of holy hands."
He knelt before his sire,
Who blessed him with feeble smile ; His eyes shone out with a kingly fire,
But his old lips quivered the while.
" Go to the fight, my son,
"Bring back the giant's head; " And the crown with which my brows have done,
" Shall glitter on thine instead."
" My father, I seek no crown,
" But unspoken praise from thee; " For thy people's good, and thy renown,
" I will die to set them free."
The king sat down and waited there,
And rose not, night nor day; Till a sound of shouting filled the air,
And cries of a sore dismay.
Then like a king he sat once more,
With the crown upon his head ; And up to the throne the people bore
A mighty giant dead.
And up to the throne the people bore
A pale and lifeless boy. The king rose up like a prophet of yore,
In a lofty, deathlike joy.
He put the crown on the chilly brow: " Thou should'st have reigned with me; " But Death is the king of both, and now " I go to obey with thee.