The King's Wine

THE small green grapes in countless clusters grew,
Feeding on mystic moonlight and white dew
And mellow sunshine, the long summer through :
Till, with blind motion in her veins, the Vine
Felt the delicious pulses of the wine,
And the grapes ripened in the year’s decline.
And day by day the Virgins watched their charge ;
And when, at last, beyond the horizon’s marge
The harvest-moon dropt beautiful and large,
The subtile spirit in the grape was caught,
And to the slowly dying Monarch brought
In a great cup fantastically wrought,
Whereof he drank ; then straightway from his brain
Went the weird malady, and once again
He walked the Palace free of scar or pain, —
But strangely changed, for somehow he had lost
Body and voice : the courtiers, as he crost
The royal chambers, whispered, — “The King's Ghost!”