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

William Watson 1858–1935

Song in Imitation of the Elizabethans


SWEETEST sweets that time hath rifled

Live anew on lyric tongue—

Tresses with which Paris trifled,

Lips to Antony’s that clung.

These surrender not their rose,

Nor their golden puissance those.

Vain the envious loam that covers

Her of Egypt, her of Troy:

Helen’s, Cleopatra’s lovers

Still desire them, still enjoy.

Fate but stole what Song restored:

Vain the aspic, vain the cord.

Idly clanged the sullen portal,

Idly the sepulchral door:

Fame the mighty, Love the immortal,

These than foolish dust are more:

Nor may captive Death refuse

Homage to the conquering Muse.