William Watson

(1858-1935 / England)

Biography of William Watson

William Watson poet

Sir William Watson (1858 – 1935), was an English poet, popular in his time for the political content of his verse. He was born in Burley, in West Yorkshire.

He was very much on the traditionalist wing of English poetry. He was a prolific poet of the 1890s, and a contributor to The Yellow Book, without 'decadent' associations. He was also a defender of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, as he dropped out of fashion. On Tennyson's death, Watson was a strong candidate for Poet Laureate but his earlier opposition to the Boer War had made him politically unsuitable and he was passed over for Alfred Austin.

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Ode in May

LET me go forth, and share
   The overflowing Sun
   With one wise friend, or one
Better than wise, being fair,
Where the pewit wheels and dips
   On heights of bracken and ling,
And Earth, unto her leaflet tips,
   Tingles with the Spring.

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