James Kenneth Stephen

(25 February 1859 – 3 February 1892 / England)

Best Poem of James Kenneth Stephen

My Education

At school I sometimes read a book,
And learned a lot of lessons;
Some small amount of pains I took,
And showed much acquiescence
In what my masters said, good men!
Yet after all I quite
Forgot the most of it: but then
I learned to write.

At Lincoln's Inn I'd read a brief,
Abstract a title, study
Great paper-piles, beyond belief
Inelegant and muddy:
The whole of these as time went by
I soon forgot: indeed
I tried to: yes: but by and by
I learned to read.

By help of Latin, Greek and Law
I now can write and read too:
Then perish each ...

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The Malefactor's Plea

Of sentences that stir my bile,
Of phrases I detest,
There's one beyond all others vile;
"He did it for the best."

Of course he did: I don't suppose,
Nor can you think I should,
The man's among my deadliest foes,
Or is not fairly good.

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