William Henry Davies

(3 July 1871 – 26 September 1940 / Monmouthshire / Wales)

William Henry Davies
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William Henry Davies was born in Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales. His father was, at the time a Publican. He was brought up by his grandparents in The Church House inn. After an apprenticeship as a picture-frame maker and a series of labouring jobs, he travelled to America, first to New York and then to the Klondike.

He returned to England after an accident whilst jumping a train in Canada, he lost a foot. Upon his return to Britain he led a poor, hard life living in London lodging houses and as a pedlar in the country. He married in 1923, Helen, who was much younger than he. His first poems were published when he was 34.

Most of his poetry is on the subject of nature or ... more »

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Quotations

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  • ''What is this life if, full of care,
    We have no time to stand and stare?''
    William Henry Davies (1871-1940), British poet. Leisure, Songs of Joy (1911).
  • ''And I could see that child's one eye
    Which seemed to laugh, and say with glee:
    'What caused my death you'll never know—
    Perhaps my mother murdered me.'
    ''
    William Henry Davies (1871-1940), British poet. The Inquest (l. 25-28). OxBTC. Oxford Book of Twentieth-Century English Verse, The. Philip Larkin,...
  • ''I turned my head and saw the wind,
    Not far from where I stood,
    Dragging the corn by her golden hair,
    Into a dark and lonely wood.''
    William Henry Davies (1871-1940), British poet. The Villain (l. 7-10). OxBTC. Oxford Book of Twentieth-Century English Verse, The. Philip Larkin, ...
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  • George Sullivan (11/12/2013 4:18:00 PM)

    'Sheep' by W H Davies, submitted by George Sullivan 12 Nov 13
    WHEN I was once in Baltimore,
    A man came up to me and cried,
    “Come, I have eighteen hundred sheep,
    And we will sail on Tuesday’s tide.

    “If you will sail with me, young man,
    I’ll pay you fifty shillings down;
    These eighteen hundred sheep I take
    From Baltimore to Glasgow town.”

    He paid me fifty shillings down,
    I sailed with eighteen hundred sheep;
    We soon had cleared the harbour’s mouth,
    We soon were in the salt sea deep.

    The first night we were out at sea
    Those sheep were quiet in their mind;
    The second night they cried with fear —
    They smelt no pastures in the wind,

    They sniffed, poor things, for their green fields,
    They cried so loud I could not sleep:
    For fifty thousand shillings down
    I would not sail again with sheep.

  • Lefty Profane (10/29/2012 4:42:00 PM)

    The man could see a century into the future. What a pitch perfect description of the Obama economic plan: Poor men need not go up so much as rich men should come down. Shared misery. Amen.

  • George Sullivan (1/22/2011 12:05:00 PM)

    Can the poem 'Sheep' by W H Davies be published on this site?

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