William Ernest Henley

(1849 - 1902 / Gloucester / England)

If I Were King


If I were king, my pipe should be premier.
The skies of time and chance are seldom clear,
We would inform them all with bland blue weather.
Delight alone would need to shed a tear,
For dream and deed should war no more together.

Art should aspire, yet ugliness be dear;
Beauty, the shaft, should speed with wit for feather;
And love, sweet love, should never fall to sere,
If I were king.

But politics should find no harbour near;
The Philistine should fear to slip his tether;
Tobacco should be duty free, and beer;
In fact, in room of this, the age of leather,
An age of gold all radiant should appear,
If I were king.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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