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The Queen Deposed

by Elizabeth Drew Stoddard, 1895

I was the queen of Karl, a northern king:
  Amazon Olga, and I rode his Ban,
A stallion in the royal ring
  Who would not bear a man.

And in Ban's saddle did I feel the pains
  For my first-born, the king's sole hope, his heir;
My Karl himself would loose the reins,
  Would take me up the stair.

Low was the murmur of the royal troops
  Below, I saw the tapers' twinkling light;
I heard a cry—"My queen, she droops!"
  Then fell eternal night.

No more was Olga queen for any king;
  The pathway round a throne she could not tread,
Nor triumph in the royal ring—
  The boy she bore was dead!

The cloister hers; she chose the cloak and hood,
  And beads of olive-wood, a pouch for alms;
So begged she, Christ, for thy dear rood,
  Laus Deo sang thy psalms!

Why am I here? This country is my king's;
  The lovely river, wooded hills above;
Old St. Sebastian's church-bell rings—
  There flies the silver dove

That flitted by the day we came to praise
  Our gracious Mary for a granted prayer;
Heralds, trumps, the same gay maze
  Of troops—King Karl is there!

Laus Deo with a child, and with his mate—
  She wins the throne by bringing him a son:
Babes make or mar our queenly fate—
  My woman's life is done.

Published in Poems

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