William Watson

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!

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,

Last night the seawind was to me
A metaphor of liberty,
And every wave along the beach
A starlit music seemed to be.

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,

Westward a league the city lay, with one
Cloud's imminent umbrage o'er it: when behold,
The incendiary sun

That beauty such as thine
Can die indeed,
Were ordinance too wantonly malign:
No wit may reconcile so cold a creed

Not here, O teeming City, was it meet
Thy lover, thy most faithful, should repose,
But where the multitudinous life-tide flows

'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,
Wardress of waters.

A letter from abroad. I tear
Its sheathing open, unaware
What treasure gleams within; and there-

A squalid, hideous town, where streams run black
With vomit of a hundred roaring mills,-
Hither occasion calls me; and ev'n here,

'Tis human fortune's happiest height to be
A spirit melodious, lucid, poised, and whole;
Second in order of felicity

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.


Seven moons, new moons, had eastward set their horns
Averted from the sun; seven moons, old moons,
Westward their sun-averted horns had set;

Strange the world about me lies,
Never yet familiar grown-
Still disturbs me with surprise,
Haunts me like a face half known.

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.

William Watson Biography

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.)

The Best Poem Of William Watson


April, April,
Laugh thy girlish laughter;
Then, the moment after,
Weep thy girlish tears!
April, that mine ears
Like a lover greetest,
If I tell thee, sweetest,
All my hopes and fears,
April, April,
Laugh thy golden laughter,
But, the moment after,
Weep thy golden tears!

William Watson Comments

Jim Thomas, Ontario Canada 02 November 2019

I have an original copy of " ART'S RIDDLE" by William Watson. Could you advise if this indeed is a writing by him since I cannot find it on the internet.

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sammie jane 25 January 2019

what an interesting man and a remarkable English poet!

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