How Fictitious Is The Proud King By William Morris
that requires the juxtaposition of imagination with reality from the
poem's dramatic effects.
As narrative as the poem appears with varying characters that
furnished the poem with the lessons of morals and of God's supremacy,
many events in the poem looked fictitious in the sense that they were
so hard to believe.
In the poem, Jovinian, the famous proud king lost his identity and was
taken to be a mad man; he suffered all manners of humiliations and all
his efforts to prove to the people that an imposter has stolen his
true identity were to no avail.
The proud king lost his identity in a ridiculous manner; from line 75-85:-
"Wherefore he did off all his rich array,
And tied his horse unto a neighbouring tree,
And in the water sported leisurely.
But when he was fulfilled of this delight
He gat him to the bank well satisfied,
And thought to do on him his raiment bright
And homeward to his royal house to ride;
But 'mazed and angry, looking far and wide
Nought saw he of his horse and rich attire,
And 'gainst the thief 'gan threaten vengeance dire.
But little help his fury was to him..."
From line 309-315, the proud king was seen humiliated and treated as a beggar:-
"Thy luck it is thou tellest it to me,
Who deem thee mad and let thee go thy way:
The King is not a man to pity thee,
Or on thy folly thy fool's tale to lay:
Poor fool! take this, and with the light of day
Buy food and raiment of some labouring clown,
And by my counsel keep thee from the town...."
The events that led to the recovery of Jovinian's true identity and
gave him the second chance to be able to sit on his thrown again, were
also fictitious, placing the poem in the hands of an absolute dramatic
creation. The readers were also made to know that no one in the palace
knew the punishment for pride which was undergone by the proud kind,
even the king decided to keep it a secret from his kinsmen.
From line 708-725, the angel that stole Jovinian identity gave it back:-
"But when the King stepped forth with angry eye
And would have spoken, came a sudden light,
And changed was that other utterly;
For he was clad in robe of shining white,
Inwrought with flowers of unnamed colours bright,
Girt with a marvellous girdle, and whose hem
Fell to his naked feet and shone in them;
And from his shoulders did two wings arise,
That with the swaying of his body, played
This way and that; of strange and lovely dyes
Their feathers were, and wonderfully made:
And now he spoke, "O King, be not dismayed,
Or think my coming here so strange to be,
For oft ere this have I been close to thee.
"And now thou knowest in how short a space
The God that made the world can unmake thee,
And though He alter in no whit thy face,
Can make all folk forget thee utterly..."