Page:Departmental Ditties and Ballads and Barrack-Room Ballads, Kipling, 1899.djvu/207

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23
THE KING'S MERCY

They stoned him till the stones were piled above him on the plain,
And those the labouring limbs displaced they tumbled back again.


One watched beside the dreary mound that veiled the battered thing,
And him the King with laughter called the Herald of the King.


It was upon the second night, the night of Ramazan,
The watcher leaning earthward heard the message of Yar Khan.
From shattered breast through shrivelled lips broke forth the rattling breath:
"Creature of God, deliver me from agony of Death."


They sought the King among his girls, and risked their lives thereby:
"Protector of the Pitiful, give orders that he die!"


"Bid him endure until the day," a lagging answer came;
"The night is short, and he can pray and learn to bless my name."