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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Sir Henry Taylor 1800–86

A Characterization

HIS life was private; safely led, aloof

From the loud world,—which yet he understood

Largely and wisely, as no worldling could.

For he, by privilege of his nature proof

Against false glitter, from beneath the roof

Of privacy, as from a cave, survey’d

With steadfast eye its flickering light and shade,

And gently judged for evil and for good.

But whilst he mix’d not for his own behoof

In public strife, his spirit glow’d with zeal,

Not shorn of action, for the public weal,—

For truth and justice as its warp and woof,

For freedom as its signature and seal.

His life, thus sacred from the world, discharged

From vain ambition and inordinate care,

In virtue exercis’d, by reverence rare

Lifted, and by humility enlarged,

Became a temple and a place of prayer.

In latter years he walk’d not singly there;

For one was with him, ready at all hours

His griefs, his joys, his inmost thoughts to share,

Who buoyantly his burthens help’d to bear,

And deck’d his altars daily with fresh flowers.

Lines on the Hon. Edward Ernest Villiers.