Treasure Island

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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The Great Misgiving

'NOT ours,' say some, 'the thought of death to dread;
   Asking no heaven, we fear no fabled hell:
Life is a feast, and we have banqueted--
   Shall not the worms as well?

'The after-silence, when the feast is o'er,
   And void the places where the minstrels stood,
Differs in nought from what hath been before,
   And is nor ill nor good.'

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