`Were I a Poet, I would dwell,

Not upon lonely height,

Nor cloistered in disdainful cell

From human sound and sight.

I would live nestled near my kind,

Deep in a garden garth,

That they who loved my verse might find

A pathway to my hearth.

`I would not sing of sceptred Kings,

The Tyrant and his thrall,

But everyday pathetic things,

That happen to us all:

The love that lasts through joy, through grief,

The faith that never wanes,

And every wilding bird and leaf

That gladdens English lanes.

`Nor would I shape for Fame my lay,

But only for the sake

Of singing, and to charm away

My own or other’s ache;

To close the wound, to soothe the smart,

To heal the feud of years,

And move the misbelieving heart

To tenderness and tears.

`And when to me should come the night,

And I could sing no more,

And faithful lips could but recite

What I had sung before,

I would not have a pompous strain

Resound about my shroud,

Nor sepulchre in sumptuous fane,

Near to the great and proud.

`But only they who loved me best

Should bear me and my lyre,

And lay us, with my kin, at rest

Under the hamlet spire,

Where everything around still breathes

Of prayer that soothes and saves,

And widowed hands bear cottage wreaths

To unforgotten graves.

`And they might raise another cross

Within that hallowed ground,

And tend the flowers and trim the moss

About my grassy mound;

But, honouring me, would carve above

No impious boast of Fame,

And, not for Glory, but for Love,

Would keep alive my name.’

Alfred Austin
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