written quotes

Lost quotations

Have a look at the lost quotes below and see if you can help us out! (Please note that comments must be suitable for audiences of all ages and may be removed if not.)

The Knifesmith | 01-Sep-05

Can anyone identify the author of the poem that begins

"I am the man who made the knife that killed the King of Babylon
It had a sheath of beaten gold, and in its shaft strange jewels shone.
I wrought it through the winter days, and when they brightened into spring
I brought it to the light, and thought: this is a dagger for a King!"

8 comments have been made on this quote. Click here to read them and then add your own!

Do you know this poem? Do you have any clues to help us find it?


I've known and loved this poem which I know by heart, but have never been able to find its author. My granddaughter recited it at her Trinity College exam last year, and I can't understand why it's not better known.
Rosie Davis

I recited this poem as a 10 year old child and have tried like mad to trace it but have never been able to myself. So if you do hear anything please please post the info on this web as I know my son would love to read & learn this poem too. Many thanks
Maria Dennett

this poem was written by Dorothy Howard it is an enchanting poem that i have become quite smitten with as a budding poet i am inspired to improve my poetry every time i read it
brandon congdon

Rosie Davis if you know the whole poem perhaps you could email it to me, my mother has wanted this poem for as long as I can remember.
Tonja Jensen-Collman

The British Library hold two poetry pamphlets by Dorothy Howard "When I turn home" Toronto : Ryerson, 1945 and "As the river runs" Toronto : Ryerson Press, 1947 and this poem may be published in one of these.
Poetry Library

I've just rediscovered a poetry book I had as a school prize containing the whole poem! The book is My Kind of Verse, published by Burke/London September 1965. Happy to send the complete poem to anyone who wants it. I LOVE it. A perfect take on the ballad form, faultless structure, subtly creepy. Genius.
Jan Siegel

I've set this lovely poem to music!
It won't let me include a link here, but you can find it on YouTube.
Den Miller

I also know this poem. "My" last line reads:

..."I took it to the light and knew it was a dagger for a king".

The poem then continues:

"I took it humbly to the king, as being fit for him to wear.
His page boys brought it back to me: 'the king has daggers - and to spare!'
But as I dozed beside my fire, beside my fire as night drew on,
A hand came rustling through the wall, and seized the dagger and was gone...."

The next morning - when the king was dead, and princes snarling in his hall -
The dagger he had scorned to wear was back upon my workshop wall.

And seeing it upon the wall, and knowing that the king was dead
Would I then turn to making knives for chopping wood or cutting bread?

No. I shall wear it at my side and wander through this world until,
On some auspicious night like this, we find another king for it to kill.



Can anyone help me with this poem. It starts:

"Mrs Binns, Mrs Binns, fills her mouth with safety pins.
Now and then she takes one out, turns and twiddles me about..."

I don't know how it continues, or who the author is. I would love to solve this little personal myster.

Many thanks,


Fran Osborne

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