Enjoy this? Share it!

75 Works of William Watson

Search Amazon for related books, downloads and more William Watson

Autumn

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Thou burden of all songs the earth hath sung, Thou retrospect in Time’s reverted eyes, Thou metaphor of everything that dies, That dies ill-starred, or dies beloved and young And therefore blest and wise,– O be less beautiful, or be less brief, Thou tragic splendour, strange, and full of fear! In vain her pageant shall […]

History

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Here, peradventure, in this mirror glassed, Who gazes long and well at times beholds Some sunken feature of the mummied Past, But oftener only the embroidered folds And soiled magnificence of her rent robe Whose tattered skirts are ruined dynasties That sweep the dust of aeons in our eyes And with their trailing pride cumber […]

Song

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Lightly we met in the morn, Lightly we parted at eve. There was never a thought of the thorn The rose of a day might leave. Fate’s finger we did not perceive, So lightly we met in the morn! So lightly we parted at eve We knew not that Love was born. I rose on […]

God-Seeking

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

God-seeking thou hast journeyed far and nigh. On dawn-lit mountain-tops thy soul did yearn To hear His trailing garments wander by; And where ‘mid thunderous glooms great sunsets burn, Vainly thou sought’st His shadow on sea and sky; Or gazing up, at noontide, could’st discern Only a neutral heaven’s indifferent eye And countenance austerely taciturn. […]

Skyfaring

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Drifting through vacant spaces vast of sleep, One overtook me like a flying star And whirled me onward in his glistering car. From shade to shade the winged steeds did leap, And clomb the midnight like a mountain-steep; Till that vague world where men and women are, Ev’n as a rushlight down the gulfs afar, […]

Beethoven

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

O Master, if immortals suffer aught Of sadness like to ours, and in like sighs And with like overflow of darkened eyes Disburden them, I know not; but methought, What time to day mine ear the utterance caught Whereby in manifold melodious wise Thy heart’s unrestful infelicities Rose like a sea with easeless winds distraught, […]

Vanishings

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

As one whose eyes have watched the stricken day Swoon to its crimson death adown the sea, Turning his face to eastward suddenly Sees a lack-lustre world all chill and gray,– Then, wandering sunless whitherso he may, Feels the first dubious dumb obscurity, And vague foregloomings of the Dark to be, Close like a sadness […]

Love Outloved

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I Love cometh and love goeth, And he is wise who knoweth Whither and whence love flies: But wise and yet more wise Are they that heed not whence he flies or whither Who hither speeds to-day, to-morrow thither; Like to the wind that as it listeth blows, And man doth hear the sound thereof, […]

Three Eternities

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Lo, thou and I, my love, And the sad stars above,– Thou and I, I and thou! Ah could we lie as now Ever and aye, my love, Hand within hand, my love, Heart within heart, my dove, Through night and day For ever! Lo, thou and I, my love, Up in the sky above, […]

Three Flowers

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I made a little song about the rose And sang it for the rose to hear, Nor ever marked until the music’s close A lily that was listening near. The red red rose flushed redder with delight, And like a queen her head she raised. The white white lily blanched a paler white, For anger […]

I know not if they erred Who thought to see The tale of all the times to be, Star-character’d; I know not, neither care, If fools or knaves they were. But this I know: last night On me there shone Two stars that made all stars look wan And shamed quite, Wherefrom the soul of […]

I Wave and wind and willow-tree Speak a speech that no man knoweth; Tree that sigheth, wind that bloweth, Wave that floweth to the sea: Wave and wind and willow-tree. Peerless perfect poets ye, Singing songs all songs excelling, Fine as crystal music dwelling In a welling fountain free: Peerless perfect poets three! II Wave […]

A Sunset

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Westward a league the city lay, with one Cloud’s imminent umbrage o’er it: when behold, The incendiary sun Dropped from the womb o’ the vapour, rolled ‘Mongst huddled towers and temples, ‘twixt them set Infinite ardour of candescent gold, Encompassed minaret And terrace and marmoreal spire With conflagration: roofs enfurnaced, yet Unmolten,–columns and cupolas flanked […]

The River

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I As drones a bee with sultry hum When all the world with heat lies dumb, Thou dronest through the drowsed lea, To lose thyself and find the sea. As fares the soul that threads the gloom Toward an unseen goal of doom, Thou farest forth all witlessly, To lose thyself and find the sea. […]

The Questioner

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I asked of heaven and earth and sea, Saying: “O wondrous trinity, Deign to make answer unto me, And tell me truly what ye be.” And they made answer: “Verily, The mask before His face are we, Because ’tis writ no man can see His face and live;”–so spake the three. Then I: “O wondrous […]

PART THE FIRST There was a time, it passeth me to say How long ago, but sure ’twas many a day Before the world had gotten her such store Of foolish wisdom as she hath,–before She fell to waxing gray with weight of years And knowledge, bitter knowledge, bought with tears,– When it did seem […]

Columbus

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(12TH OCTOBER 1492) From his adventurous prime He dreamed the dream sublime: Over his wandering youth It hung, a beckoning star. At last the vision fled, And left him in its stead The scarce sublimer truth, The world he found afar. The scattered isles that stand Warding the mightier land Yielded their maidenhood To his […]

"The Foresters"

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(Lines written on the appearance of Lord Tennyson’s drama.) Clear as of old the great voice rings to-day, While Sherwood’s oak-leaves twine with Aldworth’s bay: The voice of him the master and the sire Of one whole age and legion of the lyre, Who sang his morning-song when Coleridge still Uttered dark oracles from Highgate […]

As some most pure and noble face, Seen in the thronged and hurrying street, Sheds o’er the world a sudden grace, A flying odour sweet, Then, passing, leaves the cheated sense Baulked with a phantom excellence; So, on our soul the visions rise Of that fair life we never led: They flash a splendour past […]

Night

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

In the night, in the night, When thou liest alone, Ah, the sounds that are blown In the freaks of the breeze, By the spirit that sends The voice of far friends With the sigh of the seas In the night! In the night, in the night, When thou liest alone, Ah, the ghosts that […]

England My Mother

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I England my mother, Wardress of waters. Builder of peoples, Maker of men,– Hast thou yet leisure Left for the muses? Heed’st thou the songsmith Forging the rhyme? Deafened with tumults, How canst thou hearken? Strident is faction, Demos is loud. Lazarus, hungry, Menaces Dives; Labour the giant Chafes in his hold. Yet do the […]

As we wax older on this earth, Till many a toy that charmed us seems Emptied of beauty, stripped of worth, And mean as dust and dead as dreams,– For gauds that perished, shows that passed, Some recompense the Fates have sent: Thrice lovelier shine the things that last, The things that are more excellent. […]

“Not ours,” say some, “the thought of death to dread; Asking no heaven, we fear no fabled hell: Life is a feast, and we have banqueted– Shall not the worms as well? “The after-silence, when the feast is o’er, And void the places where the minstrels stood, Differs in nought from what hath been before, […]

Reluctant Summer

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Reluctant Summer! once, a maid Full easy of access, In many a bee-frequented shade Thou didst thy lover bless. Divinely unreproved I played, Then, with each liberal tress– And art thou grown at last afraid Of some too close caress? Or deem’st that if thou shouldst abide My passion might decay? Thou leav’st me pining […]

[Mr. Oscar Wilde, having discovered that England is unworthy of him, has announced his resolve to become a naturalised Frenchman.] And wilt thou, Oscar, from us flee, And must we, henceforth, wholly sever? Shall thy laborious jeux-d’esprit Sadden our lives no more for ever? And all thy future wilt thou link With that brave land […]

Inhospitably hast thou entertained, O Poet, us the bidden to thy board, Whom in mid-feast, and while our thousand mouths Are one laudation of the festal cheer, Thou from thy table dost dismiss, unfilled. Yet loudlier thee than many a lavish host We praise, and oftener thy repast half-served Than many a stintless banquet, prodigally […]

Not here, O teeming City, was it meet Thy lover, thy most faithful, should repose, But where the multitudinous life-tide flows Whose ocean-murmur was to him more sweet Than melody of birds at morn, or bleat Of flocks in Spring-time, there should Earth enclose His earth, amid thy thronging joys and woes, There, ‘neath the […]

(4TH AUGUST 1892) Within a narrow span of time, Three princes of the realm of rhyme, At height of youth or manhood’s prime, From earth took wing, To join the fellowship sublime Who, dead, yet sing. He, first, his earliest wreath who wove Of laurel grown in Latmian grove, Conquered by pain and hapless love […]

A Golden Hour

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

A beckoning spirit of gladness seemed afloat, That lightly danced in laughing air before us: The earth was all in tune, and you a note Of Nature’s happy chorus. ‘Twas like a vernal morn, yet overhead The leafless boughs across the lane were knitting: The ghost of some forgotten Spring, we said, O’er Winter’s world […]

The Dream Of Man

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

To the eye and the ear of the Dreamer This Dream out of darkness flew, Through the horn or the ivory portal, But he wist not which of the two. It was the Human Spirit, Of all men’s souls the Soul, Man the unwearied climber, That climbed to the unknown goal. And up the steps […]

Lachrymae Musarum

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

TO RICHARD HOLT HUTTON AND MEREDITH TOWNSEND WITH GRATITUDE LACHRYMAE MUSARUM (6TH OCTOBER 1892) Low, like another’s, lies the laurelled head: The life that seemed a perfect song is o’er: Carry the last great bard to his last bed. Land that he loved, thy noblest voice is mute. Land that he loved, that loved him! […]

TO LONDON, MY HOSTESS City that waitest to be sung,– For whom no hand To mighty strains the lyre hath strung In all this land, Though mightier theme the mightiest ones Sang not of old, The thrice three sisters’ godlike sons With lips of gold,– Till greater voice thy greatness sing In loftier times, Suffer […]

TO JAMES BROMLEY WITH “WORDSWORTH’S GRAVE” Ere vandal lords with lust of gold accurst Deface each hallowed hillside we revere– Ere cities in their million-throated thirst Menace each sacred mere– Let us give thanks because one nook hath been Unflooded yet by desecration’s wave, The little churchyard in the valley green That holds our Wordsworth’s […]

Epigrams

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

‘Tis human fortune’s happiest height to be A spirit melodious, lucid, poised, and whole; Second in order of felicity I hold it, to have walk’d with such a soul. * * * * * The statue–Buonarroti said–doth wait, Thrall’d in the block, for me to emancipate. The poem–saith the poet–wanders free Till I betray it […]

I THE SOUDANESE They wrong’d not us, nor sought ‘gainst us to wage The bitter battle. On their God they cried For succour, deeming justice to abide In heaven, if banish’d from earth’s vicinage. And when they rose with a gall’d lion’s rage, We, on the captor’s, keeper’s, tamer’s side, We, with the alien tyranny […]

Felicity

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

A squalid, hideous town, where streams run black With vomit of a hundred roaring mills,– Hither occasion calls me; and ev’n here, All in the sable reek that wantonly Defames the sunlight and deflowers the morn, One may at least surmise the sky still blue. Ev’n here, the myriad slaves of the machine Deem life […]

To Edward Dowden

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

ON RECEIVING FROM HIM A COPY OF “THE LIFE OF SHELLEY” First, ere I slake my hunger, let me thank The giver of the feast. For feast it is, Though of ethereal, translunary fare– His story who pre-eminently of men Seemed nourished upon starbeams and the stuff Of rainbows, and the tempest, and the foam; […]

To Edward Clodd

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Friend, in whose friendship I am twice well-starred, A debt not time may cancel is your due; For was it not your praise that earliest drew, On me obscure, that chivalrous regard, Ev’n his, who, knowing fame’s first steep how hard, With generous lips no faltering clarion blew, Bidding men hearken to a lyre by […]

To Austin Dobson

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Yes! urban is your Muse, and owns An empire based on London stones; Yet flow’rs, as mountain violets sweet, Spring from the pavement ‘neath her feet. Of wilder birth this Muse of mine, Hill-cradled, and baptized with brine; And ’tis for her a sweet despair To watch that courtly step and air! Yet surely she, […]

An Epistle

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(To N.A.) So, into Cornwall you go down, And leave me loitering here in town. For me, the ebb of London’s wave, Not ocean-thunder in Cornish cave. My friends (save only one or two) Gone to the glistening marge, like you,– The opera season with blare and din Dying sublime in Lohengrin,– Houses darkened, whose […]

Well he slumbers, greatly slain, Who in splendid battle dies; Deep his sleep in midmost main Pillowed upon pearl who lies. Ease, of all good gifts the best, War and wave at last decree: Love alone denies us rest, Crueller than sword or sea.

Soon may the edict lapse, that on you lays This dire compulsion of infertile days, This hardest penal toil, reluctant rest! Meanwhile I count you eminently blest, Happy from labours heretofore well done, Happy in tasks auspiciously begun. For they are blest that have not much to rue– That have not oft mis-heard the prompter’s […]

Behold life builded as a goodly house And grown a mansion ruinous With winter blowing through its crumbling walls! The master paceth up and down his halls, And in the empty hours Can hear the tottering of his towers And tremor of their bases underground. And oft he starts and looks around At creaking of […]

Liberty Rejected

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

About this heart thou hast Thy chains made fast, And think’st thou I would be Therefrom set free, And forth unbound be cast? The ocean would as soon Entreat the moon Unsay the magic verse That seals him hers From silver noon to noon. She stooped her pearly head Seaward, and said: “Would’st thou I […]

The Russ At Kara

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

O King of kings, that watching from Thy throne Sufferest the monster of Ust-Kara’s hold, With bosom than Siberia’s wastes more cold, And hear’st the wail of captives crushed and prone, And sett’st no sign in heaven! Shall naught atone For their wild pangs whose tale is yet scarce told, Women by uttermost woe made […]

And these–are these indeed the end, This grinning skull, this heavy loam? Do all green ways whereby we wend Lead but to yon ignoble home? Ah well! Thine eyes invite to bliss; Thy lips are hives of summer still. I ask not other worlds while this Proffers me all the sweets I will.

The Lute-Player

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

She was a lady great and splendid, I was a minstrel in her halls. A warrior like a prince attended Stayed his steed by the castle walls. Far had he fared to gaze upon her. “O rest thee now, Sir Knight,” she said. The warrior wooed, the warrior won her, In time of snowdrops they […]

Ireland

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(DECEMBER 1, 1890) In the wild and lurid desert, in the thunder-travelled ways, ‘Neath the night that ever hurries to the dawn that still delays, There she clutches at illusions, and she seeks a phantom goal With the unattaining passion that consumes the unsleeping soul: And calamity enfolds her, like the shadow of a ban, […]

The Empty Nest

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

I saunter all about the pleasant place You made thrice pleasant, O my friends, to me; But you are gone where laughs in radiant grace That thousand-memoried unimpulsive sea. To storied precincts of the southern foam, Dear birds of passage, ye have taken wing, And ah! for me, when April wafts you home, The spring […]

She stands, a thousand-wintered tree, By countless morns impearled; Her broad roots coil beneath the sea, Her branches sweep the world; Her seeds, by careless winds conveyed, Clothe the remotest strand With forests from her scatterings made, New nations fostered in her shade, And linking land with land. O ye by wandering tempest sown ‘Neath […]

Lux Perdita

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Thine were the weak, slight hands That might have taken this strong soul, and bent Its stubborn substance to thy soft intent, And bound it unresisting, with such bands As not the arm of envious heaven had rent. Thine were the calming eyes That round my pinnace could have stilled the sea, And drawn thy […]

Seabird, elemental sprite, Moulded of the sun and spray– Raven, dreary flake of night Drifting in the eye of day– What in common have ye two, Meeting ‘twixt the blue and blue? Thou to eastward carriest The keen savour of the foam,– Thou dost bear unto the west Fragrance from thy woody home, Where perchance […]

Lines

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(WITH A VOLUME OF THE AUTHOR’S POEMS SENT TO M.R.C.) Go, Verse, nor let the grass of tarrying grow Beneath thy feet iambic. Southward go O’er Thamesis his stream, nor halt until Thou reach the summit of a suburb hill To lettered fame not unfamiliar: there Crave rest and shelter of a scholiast fair, Who […]

It was a skipper of Lowestoft That trawled the northern sea, In a smack of thrice ten tons and seven, And the Britain’s Pride was she. And the waves were high to windward, And the waves were high to lee, And he said as he lost his trawl-net, “What is to be, will be.” His […]

Art Maxims

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Often ornateness Goes with greatness; Oftener felicity Comes of simplicity. Talent that’s cheapest Affects singularity. Thoughts that dive deepest Rise radiant in clarity. Life is rough: Sing smoothly, O Bard. Enough, enough, To have found life hard. No record Art keeps Of her travail and throes. There is toil on the steeps,– On the summits, […]

The Glimpse

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Just for a day you crossed my life’s dull track, Put my ignobler dreams to sudden shame, Went your bright way, and left me to fall back On my own world of poorer deed and aim; To fall back on my meaner world, and feel Like one who, dwelling ‘mid some, smoke-dimmed town,– In a […]

(1885) There is a race of men, who master life, Their victory being inversely as their strife; Who capture by refraining from pursuit; Shake not the bough, yet load their hands with fruit; The earth’s high places who attain to fill, By most indomitably sitting still. While others, full upon the fortress hurled, Lay fiery […]

To Lord Tennyson

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(WITH A VOLUME OF VERSE) Master and mage, our prince of song, whom Time, In this your autumn mellow and serene, Crowns ever with fresh laurels, nor less green Than garlands dewy from your verdurous prime; Heir of the riches of the whole world’s rhyme, Dow’r’d with the Doric grace, the Mantuan mien, With Arno’s […]

The Blind Summit

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

[A Viennese gentleman, who had climbed the Hoch-Koenig without a guide, was found dead, in a sitting posture, near the summit, upon which he had written, “It is cold, and clouds shut out the view.”–Vide the Daily News of September 10, 1891.] So mounts the child of ages of desire, Man, up the steeps of […]

Under the dark and piny steep We watched the storm crash by: We saw the bright brand leap and leap Out of the shattered sky. The elements were minist’ring To make one mortal blest; For, peal by peal, you did but cling The closer to his breast.

Mensis Lacrimarum

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(MARCH 1885) March, that comes roaring, maned, with rampant paws, And bleatingly withdraws; March,–’tis the year’s fantastic nondescript, That, born when frost hath nipped The shivering fields, or tempest scarred the hills, Dies crowned with daffodils. The month of the renewal of the earth By mingled death and birth: But, England! in this latest of […]

(FEBRUARY 1888) Spouse whom my sword in the olden time won me, Winning me hatred more sharp than a sword– Mother of children who hiss at or shun me, Curse or revile me, and hold me abhorred– Heiress of anger that nothing assuages, Mad for the future, and mad from the past– Daughter of all […]

What! and shall we, with such submissive airs As age demands in reverence from the young, Await these crumbs of praise from Europe flung, And doubt of our own greatness till it bears The signet of your Goethes or Voltaires? We who alone in latter times have sung With scarce less power than Arno’s exiled […]

To —-

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

(WITH A VOLUME OF EPIGRAMS) Unto the Lady of The Nook Fly, tiny book. There thou hast lovers–even thou! Fly thither now. Seven years hast thou for honour yearned, And scant praise earned; But ah! to win, at last, such friends, Is full amends.

Come hither, who grow cloyed to surfeiting With lyric draughts o’ersweet, from rills that rise On Hybla not Parnassus mountain: come With beakers rinsed of the dulcifluous wave Hither, and see a magic miracle Of happiest science, the bland Attic skies True-mirrored by an English well;–no stream Whose heaven-belying surface makes the stars Reel, with […]

Scentless flow’rs I bring thee–yet In thy bosom be they set; In thy bosom each one grows Fragrant beyond any rose. Sweet enough were she who could, In thy heart’s sweet neighbourhood, Some redundant sweetness thus Borrow from that overplus.

The Key-Board

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Five-and-thirty black slaves, Half-a-hundred white, All their duty but to sing For their Queen’s delight, Now with throats of thunder, Now with dulcet lips, While she rules them royally With her finger-tips! When she quits her palace, All the slaves are dumb– Dumb with dolour till the Queen Back to Court is come: Dumb the […]

A Child’s Hair

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

A letter from abroad. I tear Its sheathing open, unaware What treasure gleams within; and there– Like bird from cage– Flutters a curl of golden hair Out of the page. From such a frolic head ’twas shorn! (‘Tis but five years since he was born.) Not sunlight scampering over corn Were merrier thing. A child? […]

Nay, bid me not my cares to leave, Who cannot from their shadow flee. I do but win a short reprieve, ‘Scaping to pleasure and to thee. I may, at best, a moment’s grace, And grant of liberty, obtain; Respited for a little space, To go back into bonds again.

Youth! ere thou be flown away. Surely one last boon to-day Thou’lt bestow– One last light of rapture give, Rich and lordly fugitive! Ere thou go. What, thou canst not? What, all spent? All thy spells of ravishment Pow’rless now? Gone thy magic out of date? Gone, all gone that made thee great?– Follow thou!

(AUGUST 18, 1890) ‘Twas at this season, year by year, The singer who lies songless here Was wont to woo a less austere, Less deep repose, Where Rotha to Winandermere Unresting flows,– Flows through a land where torrents call To far-off torrents as they fall, And mountains in their cloudy pall Keep ghostly state, And […]

When birds were songless on the bough I heard thee sing. The world was full of winter, thou Wert full of spring. To-day the world’s heart feels anew The vernal thrill, And thine beneath the rueful yew Is wintry chill.

The Mock Self

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Few friends are mine, though many wights there be Who, meeting oft a phantasm that makes claim To be myself, and hath my face and name, And whose thin fraud I wink at privily, Account this light impostor very me. What boots it undeceive them, and proclaim Myself myself, and whelm this cheat with shame? […]

Prelude

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

The mighty poets from their flowing store Dispense like casual alms the careless ore; Through throngs of men their lonely way they go, Let fall their costly thoughts, nor seem to know.– Not mine the rich and showering hand, that strews The facile largess of a stintless Muse. A fitful presence, seldom tarrying long, Capriciously […]

World-Strangeness

Story type: Poetry

Read this story.

Strange the world about me lies, Never yet familiar grown– Still disturbs me with surprise, Haunts me like a face half known. In this house with starry dome, Floored with gemlike plains and seas, Shall I never feel at home, Never wholly be at ease? On from room to room I stray, Yet my Host […]