THE INNOVATOR (A Pharaoh Speaks)
by: Stephen Vincent Benét
"Why should a pyramid
- Stand always dully on its base?
- I'll change it! Let the top by hid,
- The bottom take the apex-place!"
- And as I bade they did.
- The people flocked in, scores on scores,
- To see it balance on its tip.
- They praised me with the praise that bores,
- My godlike mind on every lip.
- --Until it fell, of course.
- And then they took my body out
- From my crushed palace, mad with rage,
- --Well, half the town was wrecked, no doubt--
- Their crazy anger to assuage
- By dragging it about.
- The end? Foul birds defile my skull.
- The new king's praises fill the land.
- He clings to precepts, simple, dull;
- His pyramids on bases stand.
- But--Lord, how usual!
MORE POEMS BY BENÉT
'The Innovator' was originally published
by Stephen Vincent Benét in 1918.