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


Paul R. McNamee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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.