Charles I Sits for an Equestrian Portrait by Van Dyck

Dismounting lightly as a thoughtful child,

The tiny king looked younger than his years,

And older than eternity. He smiled,

But Van Dyck noticed a faint sheen of tears

In his unguarded gaze. Then, with a sigh,

Charles asked: ‘How long until you’re done, d’you say?’

‘It will depend, Your Highness, on the eye,’

The painter answered, glancing at the grey.

‘Your Highness’ mount is fine and full of grace.

An eye more honest I have rarely seen.’

Charles brought his head toward the horse’s face.

‘Marry, I think we both know what you mean.’

And how will you, my beauty, end your life?

He turned. ‘I must unto the Queen my wife.’