Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Glass Raised: Robert E. Howard

The Phoenix on the Sword

What do I know of cultured ways,
the gilt, the craft and the lie?
I, who was born in a naked land
and bred in the open sky.
The subtle tongue, the sophist guile,
they fail when the broadsword sing;
Rush in and die dogs-
I was a man before I was a king.

Robert E. Howard
January 22, 1906 – June 11, 1936

7 comments:

Paul R. McNamee said...
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Paul R. McNamee said...

Probably my favorite quote from REH of all time. Its simplicity belies its depth.

I was a man before I was a king.

I often wonder if Howard was paraphrasing the boxer Jack Johnson, who when asked how he wanted to be remembered, replied, "Tell them I was a man!"

Charles Gramlich said...

A little fog outside this morning. I think I'll step outside and listen to find if I can hear the distant sound of laughter and the clink of cups in Valhalla.

David J. West said...

One of mine too Paul-I would'nt doubt the origin but I don't know for sure.

Absolutely Charles.

Bruce D. said...

Beautiful quote. Think I'll pour some mead and crack open one of Howard's yarns.

Keith said...

Howard could convey more in a few lines of poetry than most of the poets I had to read in school. Thanks for the quote, David.

David J. West said...

Right on Bruce.

Keith, you bet - always a favorite of mine too.