The Proud King - William Morris Summary & Analysis [Non-African Poetry]
Non-African Poetry: The Proud King by William Morris Summary, Setting, Author's Background, Themes, Language and Style for JAMB, WAEC and NECO Literature Students Syllabus.
It is no longer news that the above selected poetry is among the selected texts for literature students in the WAEC, NECO and JAMB Syllabus.

Well we have decided to help students by providing some insights such as summary and poetic devices and analysis of the poem to aid them understand and prepare ahead of their examination.


"The Proud King" is a poem the evil inherent in arrogance and pride, which is a thematic A preoccupation that is present in many cultures around the world.

However, it is believed that the poem was largely influenced by the Russian version of the folktale of riches to rag and rag to riches. The story revolves around a certin King, Aggei. Aggei became angry after hearing a priest say that it was possible for the rich to become poor and for the poor to become rich, which was an idea that the priest had gleaned from the Bible. Aggei is infuriated by this statement as he wonders whether he, Aggei, could ever become poor, and some beggar become rich in his stead.

He immediately gave orders that the priest should be imprisoned and that the pages containing the passage that the priest had talked about be torn from the Bible.

After this act of declaration of a sacred text, God decided to humiliate and punish Aggei for his arrogance.

On an occasion, while on a hunting expenditure with some of his servants, Aggei saw a deer, which attracted his fancy.

He pursued the deer and in the process he followed it across a river and deep into the forest, far away from his servants. Unknown to Aggei, the deer was an angel, sent by God to deceive him.

Therefore, by God's divine instructions, the angel turned from a deer into the form, physique and personality of Aggei. The angel, now masquerading as angel, goes to meet the servants and returns with them to the palace where he ruled as the Czar or King, in palace of the real Aggei.

The "new" Aggei became a just ruler, who displayed keen sense of maturity, in everything that he did. He was very responsible and also responsive to the needs of the people.

In the meantime, the real Aggei, very tired and a pathetic sight from his exhausting trip inside the forest, comes in contact with a shepherd and declares to the man that he is the King.

The Shepherd beats him for making such a statement, but after a while, the shepherd becomes convinced that Aggei is insane and gives him some sheepskin to cover his nakedness.

Then Aggei eventually finds his as a common labourer. After coming in contact with the angel who had taken over his throne, Aggei becomes convinced that God had decided to punish him for his many acts of arrogance and pride.

He repents of his past misdeeds and asks for God's forgiveness. After three years, the angel who had replaced Aggei as King issued a proclamation that the underprivileged members of the society, which included the beggars and poor should come for a feast in his palace. Among those who came was a group of blind men, who had Aggei as their leader.

The angel turned King camr to where Aggei was and asked him whether he was now a beggar. Aggei replied that he was not only a beggar but the servant of beggars.

On hearing this statement, the angel informed Aggei that his punishment had now ended and that he could return to claim his throne.

However, Aggei declined the offer to becoming a king again, opting instead to continue in his position of providing succor and assistance to the blind people.

Another story that is very similar to the one recounted above is the account of the fall from grace to grass of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon. His fall had earlier been predicted by Daniel.

Nebuchadnezzar's offence was that he attributed his achievements as a king to his power and ability alone, without giving credit to God. For his sin arrogance, God pronounce judgement on him. He losses control of his senses and he is forced to live like an animal for seven years.

After the seven years, Nebuchadnezzar is restored to the throne and it is not surprising that after the end of his traumatic ordeal that saw him living and looking like an animal, he acknowledges God's supremacy and power.

While the poem teaches ideas that are universal in nature, the fact that the poet seems to have been influenced by Christian ethics and standards of morality, especially with regard to the relationship that exists between man and God, cannot be overemphasized.


A CERTAIN King, blinded by pride, thought that he was something more than man, if not equal to God but such a judgment fell on him that none knew him for king, and he suffered many things, till in the end, humbling himself, he regained his kingdom and honor.


"The Proud King" is set in the medieval period, at a time when kings in Europe ruled as absolute sovereigns of their lands. Therefore, the image created in the mind of the reader of this poem is that the location or setting of the poem is very mighty and prosperous European kingdom, which had a wealthy and very powerful king as its leader.

Subject Matter/Summary 

"The Proud King" is a long narrative peom, of epic proportions. It has 119 stanzas in all. 117 of these stanzas contain seven lines each with the first line of each stanza indented. However, the last 2 stanzas have nineteen and eleven lines respectively. The rhyme scheme for the seven line stanzas is consistent.

It is ababbcc while the last two stanzas respectively have aabbccddeeffgghhij and abbcddeff their rhyme schemes. The rhyme schemes for the last two stanzas are highly irregular and they have been identified in this analysis in order to show their uniqueness.

As an epic poem, "The Proud King" is didactic in nature, as the aim and objective of the poet is to teach certain values and virtues, which are essential for the well-being of each individual. It resolves round the relationship between man represented by king Jovinian and elements of the supernatural realm, symbolized by an angel. Like the heroic characters in epics, Jovinian is presented as a mighty, warrior king, whose personality flaws is arrogance, which cause his fall from his lofty position as a mighty King.

Line 1, Line 1 - 7 
The first set of seven lines introduces the setting of the poem and also the time within which the poem is located. The country is unknown but it can be deduced from the poem that the events recounted this poem, happened in the distant past in a kingdom ruled by a mighty king, a sovereign whose power and wealth was unrivalled and whose name struck fear in the minds of friends and foes alike. Thus, these lines, there is an attempt to create the image of the subject of the poem as a great powerful king, whose awesomeness and grandeur is unparalleled.

Stanza 2, Lines 8 - 14. 
The second stanza provides another piece of information about this great king. He came to the throne as a young man and h had ruled for many years until "his back beard gathered specks of grey" (I. 14) The reader is told that this king is so revered to the extent that anyone who speaks to him without the permission of the King, does so at the risk of his life. Immediately, any discerning reader comes across this information, the image of the biblical King Ahasuerus, the husband of Esther the Queen, comes to mind. We learnt in the Bible that anyone who approaches Ahasuerus, including his wife, Esther, without his permission could be put to death.

Stanza 3, Lines 15 - 21
In this third stanza, the king wakes up one morning and begins to think about himself, his numerous titles and his reign as king. During this period of reminiscence, he comes to the pragmatic and practical conclusion that if he has taken any wrong decision as a king, nobody will have told him, probably because of fear of what he may do to them.

Stanza 4, Lines 22 - 28 
This stanza shows the reason why no one would ever tell the king about his faults. His power is unprecedented and unparalleled. He is an absolute monarch who rules over a wide expanse of territory. As he thinks about all these things, his power, his subjects, etc., he become so full of himself and proclaims in arrogance that he is God, who cannot be queried or questioned by anyone.

Stanza 5, Lines 29 - 35 
The lines in this fifth stanza show that in spite of this king's pride and haughtiness, in ascribing to himself the power and position of God, he seems to realize that he is a mere mortal, who must at one point or the other die.
However, despite the fact that the king who had reigned before him had all died, he expresses the opinion that he may in fact die, since he is far greater than the former kings, which include his father, whose achievements as king, pale into insignificance when compared to his own. The thought of his forebears' death reminds him of the inevitability of death, which ushers in a tone of futility that runs through the poem.

Stanza 6, Lines 36 - 42 
The king states very clearly why he believes that he is not only greater than his forefathers, but there was a possibility that he may not even die because of his many enviable achievements. He states that his grandfather, was only a prince "of narrow lands" (I. 37) while his great-grandfather only "ruled some little town where now stands/the kennel of my dogs" (II. 40 - 41)

Stanza 7, Lines 43 - 49 

He continues in this stanza to present the reason why he is greater than the former kings. He had steadily built on the little things that his predecessors had achieved and there was a possibility that he might achieve immortality because of all the great things that he has been able to do.

Stanza 8, Lines 50 - 56 
The king goes to sleep on "his gold bed" (I. 52) and when he wakes up, he decides to go haunting in the forest.

Stanza 9, Lines 57 - 63
In these lines, he goes into the forest with his retinue of servants "And many a strong, deep chested bound" (I. 59). Apart from these dongs, the king and his servants ride on beautiful "fair white horses" (I. 61), the type of horse that ancient fabled kings rode in their quest to expand their kingdoms.

Stanza 10, Lines 64 - 70 
Inside the forest, the king sees an animal, "a mighty hart" (I. 64) and because he was riding on a very strong and powerful horse, that "was worth a kingdom's gift" (I. 66), he follows it to a river leaving his servants behind in the process.

By the time he gets to the river, he is alone, a subtle, indirect, but symbolic reference to the fact that man must make the journey of life lone. It is also significant that he comes to the river "at the hottest of the sun/When all the freshness of the day was done. (II. 69-70), a prefiguration of his harrowing journey through the tortuous, tasking and tiring road of life to a point of rediscovery and awareness.

Stanza 11, Lines 71 - 77 
When he gets to the river, he decided to remove all his clothes and take a swim in the river as a means of getting some relief from the intense heat of the sun. That he takes off all his clothes from his body and removes his crown from his head is symbolic as it also prefigures his imminent transition from a position of power and privilege to the status of a common, unrecognized and uncelebrated member of society.

Stanza 12, Lines 78 - 84 
In this stanza„ we learn that after the king has finished swimming, he come out to discover that his horse, clothes and crown, the symbol of his position, have disappeared and he immediately suspects that these things have been stolen by someone.

Stanza 13, Lines 85 - 91 
He is angry but he also knows that his anger cannot bring a solution to the pathetic and pitiable situation that he has fallen into. Therefore, he begins to shout for help but no one comes to his rescue.

Stanza 14, Lines 92 - 98
In these lines, we learnt that the king eventually realizes that shouting for help in such a lonely dark spot in the forest is an act of futility. He decides to locate the home of one of his rangers, someone who took care of the king's forest and who could help him out of his predicament.

Stanza 15, Lines 99 - 105 
It is interesting to note that as he makes this journey, he is still naked, for we learnt that, "The hot sun sorely burned his naked skin." (I. 100). He takes solace in the fact that he soon get to the house of the ranger where he would be given some "fine raiment." (I. 102) to wear and he would be able to sit within "His coolest chamber clad in linen." (I. 103).

Stanza 16, Lines 106 - 112 
Unfortunately for the king, the process of his demystification has not ended. Back inside the forest, where he had left his servants, another person, looking exactly like him, wearing his clothes and riding on his horse had appeared to the servants who "Therefore ... hailed him king, and so all rode/From out the forest to his fair abode." (II. 111 - 112).

Stanza 17, Lines 113 - 119 
When the 'new' and lake' king gets to the city, none of the courtiers, the elders and the lords as well as the Queen is able to see through the deception. They believe that he is the real king and they relate with him, as their Sovereign Lord and Master, as they used to do.

Stanza 18, Lines 120 - 126.
It is very ironical and very amusing that when the real king gets to ranger's gate, he is not recognized by the person who responds to the knock on the gate. The person expresses his surprise and amazement at the fact that the king is stark naked.

Stanza 19, Lines 129 - 133
The man who receives the king at the ranger's gate bluntly tells him to go home and put on some clothes: "get thyself a shirt at least." (I. 128). The king betrays his frustration when he hears this and immediately reveals that he is the king - Jovinian.

Stanza 20, Lines 134 - 140 

Jovinian, which the reader now learns is the name of the King, ask the man to go and announce his presence to the ranger, with whom he believes he would find some solace, succor and respite from his present precarious predicament.

However, the man to whom Jovinian is a dreamer and his response to Jovinian implies and it is a way of saying that Jovinian is a fool, who has lost his sense of reasoning.

Stanza 21, Lines 141 - 147 
In these lines, the reader learns that the ranger's servant leaves the gate without doing anything to assist Jovinian. Jovinian is angry and hurls "himself against the mighty gate/And beat upon it madly with a stone" (II. 143 - 144). As a result of the noise created by Jovinian's tantrums, the man who had initially refused to attend to him comes back.

Stanza 22, Lines 148 - 154. The man, who is now described as a porter, tells Jovinian pointedly that he is a "fool" (I. 149) for "Wishing before, my Lord's high seat to stand." (I. 150). For the porter, Jovinian is a liar, for ascribing to himself the title of King, a position that did not belong to him.

Stanza 23, Lines 155 - 161 After talking harshly to Jovinian, the porter threatens him with the staff in his hand and commands him to leave.

The only thing that Jovinian is able to say is that if any harm shoud befall him, Jovinian, at the end of the day, the porter would not escape from punishment.

Stanza 24, Lines 162 - 168 Jovinian is "blind with rage" (I. 162) as he leaves, followed by the apparently detests him for proclaiming that he is the king.

Stanza 25, Line 169 - 175 In these lines, we learn that the ranger's house, which the king had built for him is not very far from the scene of the encounter between the porter and Jovinian. The house is "new and white" (I 169) and Jovinian, as King, had built it for the ranger, a former "landless squire and servant of the Queen" (I. 175)

Stanza 26, Lines 176 - 182 
This stanza shows very graphically, the changes in the status of the former hitherto landless squire who is not the ranger. He is now very comfortable; "clad in rich attire/In his fair hall he sat before the wine"(II. 176 - 177). His position, as one of the comfortable servants, is a sharp contrast to the present status of Jovinian, who is naked and devoid of the paraphernalia of office as a king, which had one made him an object of worship and veneration.

Stanza 27, Lines 183 - 189 
As the ranger sat in his hall, enjoying his wine basking in the glory and prestige that accompany his position as one of the king's most favoured courtiers, one of his servants comes inside to tell him about the deranged man, who had come up to the gate, proclaiming that he is the king.

Stanza 28, Lines 190 - 196 
The servant who brings the news expresses the opinion that the thing that seems to make the naked man at the gate (Jovinian) look like the King, is his beard.

He also inquiries from the ranger whether Jovinian should be invited into his presence, especially considering the fact that "Perchance some treason 'neath his madness lies" (I. 193). The ranger grudgingly asks that Jovinian be invited into the hall although it is obvious that he did not like to "be wearied with such folks as these." (I. 196).

Stanza 29, Lines 197 - 203 
When Jovinian, the porter and the Squire come into the hall, into the presence of the ranger, Jovinian expects to be recognized. He speaks to the ranger familiarly as he tries to explain why he is naked and looking so distraught and disheveled.

Stanza 30, Lines 204 - 210 

In line 204, Jovinian calls the ranger by his first name, Hugh, and asks the man to give him a cloak to cover himself. He makes fun of the ranger's servants, who according to him, thinks that "a mighty Lord," such as himself, Jovinian, could only be recognized if he is adorned with a "crown, and, silken robe and sword." (I. 208). He accuses them of failing "to know the signs of majesty." (I. 210)

Stanza 31, Lines 211 - 217 
Jovinian is amazed that Hugh, the ranger, does not rise on his feet to acknowledge him, Jovinian, as his lord and master. He believes that there is a conspiracy against him and he requests that Hugh should kill him immediately because if he is able to escape with his life and he is able to regain his position as king, "Armies will rise up when I nod my head." (I. 215). What this implies is that Hugh does not kill him, he would come back to destroy Hugh.

Stanza 32, Lines 218 - 224 
The response of Hugh, as contained in these lines, shows that he believes that Jovinian is a madman. Hugh does not recognize his lord and master and he tells his servants: "Good Fellows, this poor creature is but mad/Take him, and in a coat let him be clad" (II. 223 -224). It is obvious that Hugh is a kind hearted person, a quality that Jovinian did not imbibe or possess as king.

Stanza 33, Lines 225 - 231
Hugh also asks his servants to provide Jovinian with food, drink, a piece of raiment and a place to sleep. Jovinian is very angry when he hears this and with a very haughty tone he tells Hugh: "Woe to thy food, thy house and thee betide" (I. 229). He calls Hugh a traitor.

Stanza 34, Lines 232 - 238 
Deluding himself that he is king, with the absolute power to do something, he threatens Hugh with destruction. In an anger-laced voice, he tells Hugh: "I will burn this vile place utterly/strewn with salt the poisonous earth shall be." (II. 235 - 236). For Jovinian, Hugh is a Judas, a traitor, who must be punished.

Stanza 35, Lines 239 - 245
After his outburst Jovinian runs out of the hall and out of the gate. His anger beclouds his sense of judgment and he runs out of the hall and out of the grounds, completely naked.

Stanza 36, Lines 246 - 252 
Inside the ranger's home, the reader of the poem discovers that the ranger immediately switches his mind from the plight of Jovinian to "thinking of his life, and fair increase/of all his goods, a happy man was he" (II. 248 - 249). He decides to bring up the story of the "luckless madman" (I. 251) anytime he had the opportunity of visiting the king.

Stanza 37, Lines 253 - 259 After leaving the ranger's house, Jovinian ends up on the streets, panting and confused, he stands by the road as "there streamed/The glare of touches, held by men who ran/Before the litter of a mighty man" (II. 257 - 259). As a King, Jovinian would have been used to such a display of power, influence and affluence, which was no longer available to him.

Stanza 38, Lines 260 - 266
Jovinian discovers that the "mighty man" that is being escorted by the soldier was "A counsellor, a gatherer-up of gold/who underneath his rule had now grown old" (II. 263 -264). Apparently Jovinian is not happy with this individual as we are told that "wrath and bitterness so filled his heart." (I. 265) when he sees the man and his entourage.

Stanza 39, Lines 267 - 273 
In these lines, Jovinian, at the top of his voice, lashes out at the men, whom he calls Duke Peter, accusing him of treachery and conspiring with his enemies. Jovinian says that Duke Peter would eventually end up "in hell beneath the devil's feet"

Stanza 40, Lines 274 - 280
Following Jovinian's outburst, one of the soldiers escorting Duke Peter comes out and hits him with a sword, a very humiliating occurrence in the life of a once mighty king.

Stanza 41, Lines 281 - 287
Jovinians's outburst and the soldier's reaction forces Duke Peter and his escorts to a stop. In the midst of the flickering lights, Jovinian is able to recognize Duke Peter very clearly, who the day before had spoken humble words to Jovinian in "the concourse of the lords" (I. 287). The "concourse of the lords" is a gathering of nobles where they meet to discuss with the king and also pledge their allegiance to him.

Stanza 42, Lines 288 - 294
Jovinian is brought to the presence of Duke Peter who believes that Jovinian had been accusing him unfairly and falsely. He seeks to know the reason why Jovinian had cursed him.

Stanza 43, Lines 295 - 301 
As Jovinian moves closer to Duke Peter, he is still angry. He does not understand why Duke Peter has not yet acknowledged him as king. He attributes Duke Peter's position to himself. He asks Peter "Who gave thee all thy riches and thy place." (I. 298). For Jovinian, Duke Peter is another traitor, who has denied him.

Stanza 44, Lines 302 - 308 
Jovinian continues to ask why Duke Peter has not recognized him as the king. On his own part, Duke Peter looks at him and concludes that his story, of being the king was a strange, unbelievable tale.

Stanza 45, Lines 309 - 315
In these lines, it is obvious that Duke Peter believes that Jovinian is mad and it is not surprising that he also calls him a fool when he gives Jovinian money, a piece of coin, to buy food and clothes. He advises him not to come to town to spread his, "fool's tale" (I. 312)

Stanza 46, Lines 316 - 322
Duke Peter apparently believes that Jovinian would get into trouble if he should come to the city to tell people that he is the king. Therefore, he instructs his escorts to continue . their journey, while leaving behind Jovinian with the piece of coin in his hand.

Stanza 47, Lines 323 - 329
The lines in this stanza convey a picture of Duke Peter, elegant and majestic with his sceptre, crown and royal roble" (I. 323), another sharp contrast to Jovinian who has been labelled a "madman" by all those who have come across him. Though this picture of Peter, Jovinian again has a glimpse of the kind of aura that surrounded him before his unfortunate experience in the forest when his clothes were taken away from him.

Stanza 48, Lines 330 - 336 
Duke Peter and his entourage leave Jovinian. He is alone again and he begins to ruminate on his past when he had so much in terms of wealth, possession and prestige that there was nothing else to wish for, since he had more than enough of everything.

Stanza 49, Lines 337 - 343 
Jovinian begins his journey again, alone. It is very symbolic that he is undertaking this journey of self-rediscovery and transformation into a new man, alone. Eventually, probably as a result of physical weakness and sadness, he falls asleep on a grassy bank where "He slept the dreamless sleep of weariness (I. 342).

Stanza 50, Lines 344 - 350 When he wakes up, the reader learns that at first he does not have the faintest memory of his previous experiences.

Eventually, he remembers what had happened to him the previous day and he again begin to hope for a solution to his problems with the emergence of a bright new day.

Stanza 51, Lines 351 - 357
Jovinian discovers that he had finally made his way to his own city where he had previously reigned as king. As he moves towards the gate, he tries to hide himself from people, apparently afraid that someone might recognize him in spite of the radical physical changes that had happened to him, which had seen him being transformed from the position of the most powerful person in the land to one of the wretched of the earth.

Stanza 52, Lines 358 - 364 
When he gets to the gate, many of those who see him mock him and cry at him, apparently alarmed that a deranged person is in their midst. Only one of the people who are gathered at the gate waiting for all to be opened offered him milk.

Stanza 53, Lines 365 - 371
Jovinian's new friend asks him who he is and the reasons for his miserable condition. This time around Jovinian seems to have become wiser, as he no longer says that he is the king. Instead, he spawns a new tale of having being robbed by "foes" (I. 368) who "stripped off, my weed and left me on the way" (I. 370). He gives himself, a name, "Thomas, the Pilgrim" (I. 370). The "weed" is another name for a cloak.

Stanza 54, Lines 372 - 378 
Jovinian continues to amplify his story. He refers to himself as a merchant from another town who desires to get to the king's palace, where he says he knows a squire that is a noble man who would take care of his needs. He also asks for the man's name and address so: "That I some day great gifts to thee may give" (I. 378).

Stanza 55, Lines 386 - 385
Jovinian's new acquaintance introduces himself as a farmer. This farmer's name is Christopher a-Green, a fifty-year old man who has also had his own fair share of "both grief and joy" (I. 385).

Stanza 56, Lines 386 - 392
It is obvious that Christopher a-Green comes from an indigent background. He makes a request from Jovinian for money. He asks for "enough of gold" (I. 388), to rebuild his grandfather's house that had been bequeathed to him. To this request, Jovinian's answer is regal in nature: "this is but a little thing. To me, who oft am richer than the King" (II. 391 - 392), a subtle reference to his previous stature as the undisputed sovereign of the land.

Stanza 57, Lines 393 - 399 

Both Jovinian and Christopher move inside the city together, walking towards the palace, with Jovinian trying as much as possible to hide himself from people who might see him and "mock at his bare skin" (I. 398).

Stanza 58, Lines 400 - 406 
When they get to the palace, Jovinian runs through the first court of the palace, unchallenged by anyone. However, when he reaches the sound gate, he is accosted by a member of the king's household, who on "seeing him all bare/And bloody" cries out, "Whither does thou fare?" (II. 403 - 404). The man immediately assumes that Jovinian is mad and begins to speak harshly to him.

Stanza 59, Lines 407 - 413 
Jovinian begins to speak to the man. It is apparent that he knows who the man is, and he is surprised that the man does not recognize him. He requests that the man give him some clothes to wear so that he might present himself to his council, most probably, the council of noblemen who serve as advisers to the king. He promises the man ten years wages as reward.

Stanza 60, Lines 414 - 420 

The royal servant that Jovinian had spoken to is not moved by the promise of a huge reward. To him, Jovinian is a madman and he admonishes him for saying that he is the king. He tells Jovinian that John Hanman, the executioner, had executed people who had not even made the kind of treasonable statement that Jovinian made, that he is the king.

Stanza 61, Lines 421 - 427 
The servant therefore brings Jovinian to the guardroom, where the soldiers mock him bitterly with decision. In spite of all the attempts made by Jovinian to convince the soldiers that he is in fact their king, nobody believes him and he comes to the conclusion that he is most likely not going to win the struggle to reign his throne and that he is going to die, a very miserable death.

Stanza 62, Lines 428 - 434 
The reason why Jovinian has become despondent is clearer in these lines. The soldiers who are mocking him are the same set of people who a few days earlier had worshiped him in absolute humility, in acknowledgement of his status as king. Now, he realizes that the veneration, adoration ad adulation have disappeared because they no longer recognize him as their king.

Stanza 63, Lines 435 - 441
Jovinian begins to lament, surprises at the radical and very drastic change that has occurred in his life within a two-day interval. He had been stripped of his glory and the grandeur that accompanied his exalted position as the king. He wonders whether he is dreaming as he does not fully understand why those who had hitherto celebrated him as king now fail to acknowledge him as their lord and master.

Stanza 64 Lines 445 - 455
As Jovinian begins to think about the seeming hopelessness of the pathetic situation that he finds himself in, two sergeants come to tell him and the other soldiers gathered in the room that the king had decided to grant audience to "The man who thus so rashly brings him shame." (I. 445).

They refer to him as a fool and ask him to follow them. For someone who had been used to giving orders, which must be instantly obeyed, this is another landmark in the process of his humiliation.

Stanza 65, Lines 449 - 455 
Jovinian is forced to follow the two soldiers, downcast and sad, with his hands bound together. As he walks away with the soldiers, he is subjected to the derisive laughter of some of the servants working inside the palace.

Stanza 66, Lines 456 - 462
In spite of the pitiable circumstances of his new status, Jovinian is also happy. He is convinced that an encounter with whosoever was masquerading as the king would either lead to his restoration to his former position or his relegation into the status of a villain.

Stanza 67, Lines 463 - 469 
When Jovinian gets to the throne room, he is able to see the person who has apparently usurped his position. This other person is "gold" (I. 464) and has a golden crown and an ivory sceptre in his hand. Beneath him sits the Queen, Jovinian's wife and both the usurper king and the Queen are surrounded by courtiers who do not recognize Joviniah and therefore do not pay any obeisance to him as their lord and king.

Stanza 68, Lines 470 - 476 
Jovinian looks at the person who has taken over his position as king. He realizes that although the person "was no wise like him in the face" (I. 471), he is arrayed in "marvelous glory" (I. 472) "As though an angel sat in that high place" (I. 473), which had been the throne of Jovinian and his progenitors. When eventually their eyes meet, the usurper king asks Jovinian, "And where art thou?" (I. 476). "Where art thou" in this context means, "who are you"?

Stanza 69, Lines 477 - 483 
It is obvious in these lines that Jovinian is very angry when he begins to speak. He calls the usurper the "rubber of my majesty" (I. 477). He states categorically that he is the king despite the fact that everyone seems to have conceded his throne, crown, wealth and prestige to the usurper.

Stanza 70, Lines 484 - 490 
The imposter king counters Jovinian's accusation that he is a usurper by stating categorically that Jovinian is a foolish man who wants to take what does not rightfully belong to him, that is the throne. He maintains that he is Jovinian, the rightful king and that the real Jovinian is the imposter. He lambasts the real Jovinian for speaking against his "right" as king.

Stanza 71, Lines 491 - 497 
The imposter king says that Jovinians deserves to die. However, he says that before he passes his final judgement he would like Jovinian to listen to the speeches of the Queen and the nobles gathered in the throne room.

Stanza 72, Lines 498 - 504 
Jovinian's nemesis, the impostor King, now turns the Queen and the nobles and asks them to identify him in the presence of Jovinian. Both the Queen and the Lords hail the impostor as their king. The Queen kneels down to kiss the golden shoes sworn by the impostor and declares emphatically: "Thou art man/By whose side I have lain for many a year/Thou art my Lord, Jovinian lief and dear" (II. 502 - 504)

Stanza 73, Lines 505 - 511

Following the acknowledgement by the Queen and the Lords that the imposter is the real king, the imposter now turns to Jovinian and says: "O thou wretch, hear now and see!?What thing should hinder me to slay thee now". (II. 505 - 506).

However, he tells Jovinian that he would show mercy on him, if Jovinian acknowledge him as king and that he Jovinian was "base-born" (I. 509). He promises Jovinian that if he does this, then he would make Jovinian, one of his servants.

Stanza 74, Lines 512 - 518
On hearing the speech of the imposter, Jovinian is very angry and he calls the imposter a liar. He proclaims that he is a descendant "of great kings" (I. 516) and states his determination to die rather than pay obeisance to the imposter.

Stanza 75, Lines 519 - 525
After Jovinian's outburst, the imposter does not speak for a while. He looks at Jovinian with scorn and pity and says, "Nathless thou shalt not die/But live on as thou mayst, a lowly man" (II. 523 - 524). The word, "Nathless", is another variant of "nevertheless"

Stanza 76, Lines 526 - 532
When the imposter-king finishes talking, Jovinian looks at the faces of the lords„ the people who had hitherto been his advisers but who no longer acknowledge him as their king.

Stanza 77, Lines 533 - 539
Jovinian continues to look at the faces of all the people who are in the throne room. They include not only the nobles, but ambassadors of "half conquered lands" (I. 535) and foreign merchants. All these are people that Jovinian has once known but who no longer know him or are unwilling to acknowledge his supremacy as their king, because they all believe that the imposter is their rightful king.

Stanza 78, Lines 540 - 546 

Everything now seems to be against Jovinian. Even the hound, that is, the dog that had been the companion of Jovinian during many hunting expeditions, betray him in his time of need as it "Flew at him fain to tear him limb from limb" (I. 543)

Stanza 79, Lines 547 - 553 
Jovinian is thrown out of the palace. As he is dragged outside of the gate, through which he had often rode on a stately horse, he bears the murmurs of people, who most likely were casting aspersions on him and his mental state.

Stanza 80, Lines 554 - 560 
As he is taken through the streets of the city in ignominy, Jovinian's mind goes back to the time when on these same streets where he is now being derided, he was celebrated anytime he came "back from some well-finished war" (I. 555) as an all-conquering, warrior king.

Stanza 81, Lines 561 - 567 
After a short distance, the soldier who had dragged him out of the palace through the streets release him. However, they tell him that they are doing so as a result of the magnanimity of the king who has asked them to tell him to "Dwell now in peace, but yet be not so bold?To come again, or to thy lies to cling" (II. 563 - 564). They also ask him to continue to pray for the imposter-king who had been good to the real Jovinian by sparing his life.

Stanza 82, Lines 568 - 574 
The soldiers leave Jovinian and return to the town. He is alone and Jovinian to wander away from the city until he comes to a pool of water. Located beside the pool is a "lowly clay-built howel" (I. 574)

Stanza 83, Lines 575 - 581 
As Jovinian looks at this seemingly miserable looking but located in the woods, he remembers that the place is the residence of a wise and old hermit, who had often given him advice and counsel.

Stanza 84, Lines 582 - 588 
When Jovinian approaches the door of the hut, he begin to think about the hermit and whether the old man would recognize him. It is obvious that he does not have an answer to why people who had served him as king no longer recognize him. He posits that "Some devil who turns everything to ill/And makes my wretched body do his will" (II. 587 - 588) must be responsible for his predicament.

Stanza 85, Lines 589 - 595 
On seeing the hermit Jovinian seeks to be recognized by the old man as the king. He tells the hermit "Alas father! Am not the King/the rightful lord of thee and everything?"

Stanza 86, Lines 596 - 602
The hermit's response to his claim that he, Jovinian, is the king, is very harsh. The hermittells him that he must be mad for saying that he is the king.

He tells Jovinian that if he needs spiritual help to solve his spiritual and psychological problems, he, that is the hermit, is ready to provide such assistance. For the hermit Jovinian is a clown, who has deliberately come to make him and play on his intelligence.

Stanza 87, Lines 603 - 609

After speaking very harsly to Jovinian, the hermit goes back inside his hut. At this stage, Jovinian is very unhappy and he falls down on his knee to plead for mercy: "Lord God, what bitter things are these?/What hast thou done, that every man that sees/This wretched body, of my death is fain." (II. 607 - 608). Jovinian now seems to be remorseful. He asks God to give him back his body again.

Stanza 88, Lines 610 - 616 
In these lines, Jovinian continues to plead his case before God. he acknowledges the fact that he is a mortal whom God had in his benevolence promoted to the exalted rank of a king. In the last line of this stanza, he asks God: "Why hast thou made me now this wretched thing?" (I. 616)

Stanza 89, Lines 617 - 623 
He wonders why everyone hates him. He asks God to give him another opportunity to live, this time as in ordinary man, so that he would be able to forget his old name, "and honours vain" (I. 620) and live his "little span of life" (I. 623) in peace. The reader finds that in a very gradual manner, Jovinian has started to recognize the supremacy of God as the Supreme Being in whom everything that exists, subsists.

Stanza 90, Lines 624 - 630
He continues, in these lines, to acknowledge his flaws and fruits. Accept he has been careless with the opportunities that God has given him and he has made mistakes. He tells God that he knows that in spite of his foibles and mistakes, God still loves him.

Stanza 91, Lines 631 - 637 

As Jovinian continues to weep and lament the precariousness of his situation, the hermit comes back outside. Apparently, he had suddenly realized that the scruffy looking man in front of his abode was Jovinian, the king. He wonder why Jovinian has been deprived of his glory.

Stanza 92, Lines 638 - 644
Jovinian tells the hermit that because of a great sin that he must have committed, God has punished him to the extent that his wife, his servants, his nobles and even the hermit did not recognize him. He is apparently happy that the hermit has now recognized him.

Stanza 93, Lines 645 - 651 
The speech that he makes in these lines is laced with humility. He is grateful to God for allowing the hermits to recognize him and as a result, he is of the opinion that God would and kill him.

He puts his hope in Christ, who died on the cross and he tells the hermit that he would go back to the people who had once rejected him whether they would now recognize him. He requests the hermits to give him his "poorest weed/And some rough food" (II. 650 - 651). When the context of his poem, the word "weed" refers to a cloak or cloth and for Jovinian to have requested for the "poorest weed" and "some rough.

Stanza 94, Lines 652 - 658 
The hermits sympathizes with Jovinian's plight and offers him a "rough grown" (I. 642) to wear and some food. He also tells Jovinian that he is ready to listen to everything that he has to say.

Stanza 95, Lines 659 - 665 
After wearing the shabby clothing that the hermit had given him, Jovinian tells the old man the story of his life, the mistakes he had made, especially his being so haughty and arrogant, which had led to his downfall. As he tells his story, the hermit praises God that he is not a king "who scarcely shall do right in anything." (I. 665).

Stanza 96, Lines 666 - 672 
After listening to Jovinian, the hermit provides him with an ass to ride on his journey back to the city. The ass is a symbol of humility, another clear indication of the king's transformation into a very humble man.

Stanza 97, Lines 673 - 679 
When Joviniah gets to the city gate, the two guards at the gate recognize him but do not acknowledge him by saluting him or paying him obeisance to him. According to one of them, Jovinian had given instructions that whenever he posses the gate in disguise, no one should pay him obeisance. Apparently, the angel, masquerading as the king, had given the guards the instructions prior to the arrival of Jovinian.

Stanza 98, Lines 680 - 686 
Jovinian smiles as he leaves the guards. He knows the implication of what one of them has just said, which is that those who had for one reason or the other not recognized him when he had earlier made the trip to the city as a "wretched", "mad man" now had an idea of who he was. For Jovinian this was a positive sign. As he goes further into the city it is apparent that the people that he is meetig recognize him, even if they are not greeting him.

Stanza 99, Lines 689 - 693 When Jovinian eventually gets into the palace, those that he meets "bowed their head" (I. 670) in apparent obeisance.

Then, a squire comes up to him to tell him that the Queen is waiting for him "Within the little hall where minstrels sing" (I. 673)

Stanza 100, Lines 694 - 700 
Jovinian decides to follow the courtiers to meet the Queen and for a brief moment, he hesitates, as he thinks about the imposter king, who had usurped his position. He decides to go ahead with gong to meet the Queen with the hope that the imposter, "like all the rest, my face will know." (I. 700)

Stanza 101, Lines 701 - 707 
When Jovinian gets inside the little hall, he sees the Queen on a couch sleeping with an image of the king beside her.

Stanza 102, Lines 708 - 714 
On seeing the sleeping Queen, Jovinian becomes angry and he is on the verge of speaking, maybe in very harsh tones, to her, when he sees the other man who had usurped his position and taken over his throne. The man is wearing a shining white robe. It is obvious that this individual is a celestial and a divine being.

Stanza 103, Lines 715 - 721 
These lines show very clearly that the imposter-king is an angel. In line 715, the reader is told that "from his shoulders, did two wings rise".

The feathers on the wings are very beautiful and he stands before Jovinian and begins to talk to him. He tells Jovinian that
he had always been close to him and there is the possibility that this angel, who had impersonated Jovinian, was his guardian angel.

Stanza 104, Lines 722 - 728 
In these lines, the main thematic preoccupation of this poem is foregrounded by the angel. He tells Jovinian that within a very short time, he, Joviniah had come to know "God that made the world can unmake thee" (I. 723).

The implication of this statement is that God is all powerful and can do all things - as he is not answerable to anyone for His actions.

He reminds Jovinian that although God did not change Jovinian face, God made everyone, who had known him and who had had a relationship with him to forget him. He tells Joviniah that God turned him into "nameless wretch". (I. 726), he who at a point in time, had been a very powerful king, that struck fear into the minds of everyone.

Stanza 105, Lines 729 - 735 
The angel tells Jovinian to be grateful to God for having mercy on him in spite of his several acts of haughtiness. Indirectly, he compares Jovinian's actions to that of Lucifer and the fallen angels, who were driven out of heaven when they rebelled against God.

God had mercy on Jovinian. On the other hand, Lucifer and the fallen angels were not given a second to repent of their sins.

Stanza 106, Lines 736 - 742
He tells Jovinian not to lament in any way. The angel also begins to speak about the future, about the end of the world, when God would destroy the world and those who have sinned against Him. The angel expresses his wish that Jovinian, if he was still alive that time, would be on God's side.

Stanza 107, Lines 743 - 749 
The angel continues the trend of the ideas which he had started in the preceding stanza. The message in this stanza is that even if Jovinian had died by the end of time, it was imperative that he should make positive use of the time that he had on earth, as his actions and inactions would definitely influence the afterlife.

Stanza 108, Lines 750 - 756 
The angel informs Jovinian that he (Jovinian) would no longer see him on earth again. However, it is implied that Jovinian would be granted a place in heaven by God as he would, most probably now be a better person, who would know how to humble himself before God.

The angel also promises Jovinian that his Queen and the other members of council, the nobles, would now recognize him and he would no longer be a stranger to anyone of them again.