The Terrors of Truth

A MIGHTY wizard gave to an eastern King
The power to see, for but a single day,
Through all disguise, beholding everything
Stript bare of false array.

Then, to the monarch's gaze made manifest
In their true lineaments and native forms,
Foul demons, at the Enchanter's dread behest,
Came and passed by in swarms.

Yonder was that which he had deemed to be
Fair-smiling Friendship—one gorgonian frown;
And yonder was self-named Fidelity,
Hungering to seize his crown.

And hour by hour, serene and grave and mute,
He looked on the nude souls of evil things,
With the great calm that is the attribute
Of god-descended Kings.

But prone he fell, heart-cloven, when he saw
At last revealed, in light not from above,
Solely the harpy Beak, the harpy Maw,
Known, to the crowned, as Love.
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