King David, by Walter de la Mare

King David was a sorrowful man;
No cause for his sorrow had he;
And he called for the music of a hundred harps,
To ease his melancholy.

They played 'til they all fell silent:
Played and play sweet did they;
But the sorrow that haunted the heart of King David
They could not charm away.

He rose; and in his garden
Walked by the moon alone,
A nightingale hidden in a cypress tree
Jargoned on and on.

King David lifted his sad eyes
Into the dark-boughed tree;
Tell me, thou little bird that singest,
Who taught my grief to thee?

But the bird in no wise heeded,
And the king in the cool of the moon
Hearkened to the nightingale's sorrowfulness,
'Til all his own was gone.

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