To the Contended

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To the Contended
by Robert Ervin Howard

Bide by the fluted iron walls
   Take ye a serving wench to wife;
Drown in the pot the bugle's calls,
   Trade your spear for a peddler's knife.
   Turn to the vendor's paltry strife,
      Gird ye round with doors and bars
   Safely snore in the lap of Life—
      I must follow the restless stars.

Wait at the doors of your master's halls
   —For the faithful server, boards are rife—
Make no oath when the whip-lash falls—
   Hark to the counsel of your wife;
   Trade your harp for a peddler's fife.
      But gods, the spray and the plunging spars!
Here is my heart—in the heart of Life
      And I must follow the restless stars

                       Envoi
King, there are stallions in golden stalls,
   But bars of sapphire are only bars!
Bide in peace in the high safe halls—
   I must follow the restless stars.