Dreams & Dust/Nicholas of Montenegro

Dreams & Dust by Don Marquis
Nicholas of Montenegro

HE speaks as straight as his rifles shot,
As straight as a thrusting blade,
Waiting the deed that shall trouble the truce
His savage guns have made.

"You have dared the wrath of a dozen states,"
Was the challenge that he heard;
"We can die but once!" said the grim old King
As he gripped his mountain sword.

"For I paid in blood for the town I took,
The blood of my brave men slain,--
And if you covet the town I took
You must buy it with blood again!"

Stern old King of the stark, black hills,
Where the lean, fierce eagles breed,
Your speech rings true as your good sword rings--
And you are a king indeed!