Messer Marco Polo
And Marco Polo was brought into the presence. And among all assembled there
you could hear a pin drop.
At the north end of the great hall sat the Khan himself, and Marco Polo nearly
dropped with surprise; for where he expected a great, magnificent figure of a
man, with majesty shining from his eyes, he saw only a pleasant, bearded man,
not quarter so well dressed as the meanest servant on the room, and a fine,
welcoming smile in his face. His throne was elevated so that his feet were on the
level of the heads of the kinsmen of the Blood Royal beneath him, and they in
silk and ermine and fine brocades and jewels. And beneath these were the
barons and dukes and knights. And beneath these were the captains of the
fighting men, three thousand and three. And beneath these were the musicians
and the sorcerers. And behind Kubla Khan, very big, very erect, stood his three
great servants, the Keeper of the Hunting Leopards, the Keeper of the Speaking
Drums, and the Keeper of the Khan's Swords.
And beside Kubla Khan, on a little throne, sat Golden Bells. . . And it was the
sight of her more than the sight of the great assembly that dumbed the words in
his mouth. And Kubla was smiling at him, and she was smiling, too.
And Kubla saw there was something wrong with him, that there was
embarrassment on him and he rose from his: throne.
"There is welcome for you here, Marco Polo, and no enmity. There is interest, in
and eagerness for your message. There is none here will criticize you or make it
hard for you. Let there be no shame on you in speaking before so many people.
Say what you have to say as if there were nobody here, if that will help you,
barring myself and the little daughter beside me. . ."
"O Emperor," the words came back to Marco Polo, "and ye, great princes, dukes,
and marquises, counts, knights, and burgesses, and people of all degrees who
desire the light of the world, grace be to you and peace, from God our Father,
and from the Lord Jesus Christ!
"The message I have to give you, I shall give in the words of Him, Whose perfect
message it is:
"'Beati pauperes spiritu, -- Blessed are the poor in spirit.
"'Quoniam ipsorum est regnum caelorum, -- for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
"'Beati mites, -- Blessed are the meek. . .'"