Robert William Service (16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)
The red-roofed house of dream design
Looks three ways on the sea;
For fifty years I've made it mine,
And held it part of me.
The pines I planted in my youth
Triumpantly are tall . . .
Yet now I know with sorry sooth
I have to leave it all.
Hard-hewn from out the living rock
And salty from the tide,
My house has braved the tempest shock
With hardihood and pride.
Each nook is memoried to me;
I've loved its every stone,
And cried to it exultantly:
"My own, my very own!"
Poor fool! To think that I possess.
I have but cannot hold;
And all that's mine is less and less
My own as I grow old.
My home shall ring with childish cheers
When I shall leave it lone;
My house will bide a hundred years
When I am in the bone.
Alas! No thing can be my own:
At most a life-long lease
Is all I hold, a little loan
From Time, that soon will cease.
For now by faint and failing breath
I feel that I must go . . .
Old House! You've never known a death,--
Well, now's your hour to know.
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