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Le Roi S’Amuse

Clive Staples Lewis 1898 (Clive Staples Lewis Belfast) – 1963 (Oxford)

Jove gazed
On woven mazes
Of patterned movement as the atoms whirled.
His glance turned
Into dancing, burning
Colour-gods who rushed upon that sullen world,
Waking, re-making, exalting it anew –
Silver and purple, shrill-voiced yellow, turgid crimson, and virgin blue.

Jove stared
On overbearing
And aching splendour of the naked rocks.
Where his gaze smote,
Hazily floated
To mount like thistledown in countless flocks,
Fruit-loving, root-loving gods, cool and green
Of feathery grasses, heather and orchard, pollen'd lily, the olive and the bean.

Jove laughed.
Like cloven-shafted
Lightning, his laughter into brightness broke.
From every dint
Where the severed splinters
Had scattered a Sylvan or a Satyr woke;
Ounces came pouncing, dragon-people flew,
There was spirited stallion, squirrel unrespectful, clanging raven and kangaroo.

Jove sighed.
The hoving tide of
Ocean trembled at the motion of his breath.
The sigh turned
Into white, eternal,
Radiant Aphrodite unafraid of death;
A fragrance, a vagrant unrest on earth she flung,
There was favouring and fondling and bravery and building
and chuckling music and suckling of the young.

Jove thought.
He strove and wrought at
A thousand clarities; from his brows sprang
With earnest mien
Stern Athene;
The cold armour on her shoulders rang.
Our sires at the fires of her lucid eyes began
To speak in symbols, to seek out causes, to name the creatures; they became Man.

World and Man
Unfurled their banner –
It was gay Behemoth on a sable field.
Fresh-robed
In flesh, the ennobled
Spirits carousing in their myriads reeled;
There was frolic and holiday. Jove laughed to see
The abyss empeopled, his bliss imparted, the throng that was his and no longer he.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Clive Staples Lewis

Clive Staples Lewis was a British novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, broadcaster, lecturer, and Christian apologist. He held academic positions at both Oxford University and Cambridge University. more…

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