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we did not Dye in vain!
by michael r. burch

(from “songs of the sea snails”)

though i’m just a slimy crawler,
     my lineage is proud:
my forebears gave their lives
     (oh, let the trumps blare loud!)
so purple-mantled Royals
     might stand out in a crowd.

i salute you, fellow loyals,
     who labor without scruple
as your incomes fall
     while deficits quadruple
to swaddle unjust Lords
     in bright imperial purple!

Originally published by The American Dissident

Notes: In ancient times the purple dye produced from the secretions of purpura mollusks (sea snails) was known as “Tyrian purple,” “royal purple” and “imperial purple.” It was greatly prized in antiquity, and was very expensive according to the historian Theopompus: “Purple for dyes fetched its weight in silver at Colophon.” Thus, purple-dyed fabrics became status symbols, and laws often prevented commoners from possessing them. The production of Tyrian purple was tightly controlled in Byzantium, where the imperial court restricted its use to the coloring of imperial silks. A child born to the reigning emperor was literally porphyrogenitos ("born to the purple") because the imperial birthing apartment was walled in porphyry, a purple-hued rock, and draped with purple silks. Royal babies were swaddled in purple; we know this because the iconodules, who disagreed with the emperor Constantine about the veneration of images, accused him of defecating on his imperial purple swaddling clothes!

Keywords/Tags: royal, purple, imperial, Tyrian, Byzantium, porphyry, swaddling, clothes, porphyrogenitos, mollusks, sea snails, royalty, kings, lords, emperors, popes
S R Mats Mar 2015
Sun burns away the day, Night is born,
Wrapped in blankets of clouds, handsome lad.

Tell the stars that I am jealous of the moon,
For with the dying of each new day;

Crystal orb with swaddling of mist and light,
Nursemaid that she is-

She attends, O precious delight,
The infant Night!
This is an old poem of mine.

— The End —