Sir William Watson (1858 – 1935), was an English poet, popular in his time for the political content of his verse. He was born in Burley, in West Yorkshire.
He was very much on the traditionalist wing of English poetry. He was a prolific poet of the 1890s, and a contributor to The Yellow Book, without ‘decadent’ associations. He was also a defender of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, as he dropped out of fashion. On Tennyson’s death, Watson was a strong candidate for Poet Laureate but his earlier opposition to the Boer War had made him politically unsuitable and he was passed over for Alfred Austin.
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William Watson Poems
April, April, Laugh thy girlish laughter; Then, the moment after, Weep thy girlish tears!
APRIL, April, Laugh thy girlish laughter; Then, the moment after, Weep thy girlish tears!
- England And Her Colonies
SHE stands, a thousand-wintered tree, By countless morns impearled; Her broad roots coil beneath the sea, Her branches sweep the world;
Thou burden of all songs the earth hath sung, Thou retrospect in Time’s reverted eyes, Thou metaphor of everything that dies,
- Changed Voices
Last night the seawind was to me A metaphor of liberty, And every wave along the beach A starlit music seemed to be.
- A Golden Hour
A beckoning spirit of gladness seemed afloat, That lightly danced in laughing air before us:
Here, peradventure, in this mirror glassed, Who gazes long and well at times beholds Some sunken feature of the mummied Past,
- A Sunset
Westward a league the city lay, with one Cloud’s imminent umbrage o’er it: when behold, The incendiary sun
- At The Grave Of Charles Lamb, In Edmonto…
Not here, O teeming City, was it meet Thy lover, thy most faithful, should repose, But where the multitudinous life-tide flows
- Beauty’s Metempsychosis
That beauty such as thine Can die indeed, Were ordinance too wantonly malign: No wit may reconcile so cold a creed
- England To Ireland
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,
- The Great Misgiving
‘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?
So, without overt breach, we fall apart, Tacitly sunder–neither you nor I Conscious of one intelligible Why,
- England My Mother
I England my mother, Wardress of waters.