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DAVIES, William Henry


What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this is if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

The Hermit

What moves that lonely man is not the boom
Of waves that break agains the cliff so strong;
Nor roar of thunder, when that travelling voice
Is caught by rocks that carry far along.

'Tis not the groan of oak tree in its prime,
When lightning strikes its solid heart to dust;
Nor frozen pond when, melted by the sun,
It suddenly doth break its sparkling crust.

What moves that man is when the blind bat taps
His window when he sits alone at night;
Or when the small bird sounds like some great beast
Among the dead, dry leaves so fraiil and light.

Or when the moths on his night-pillow beat
Such heavy blows he fears they'll break his bones;
Or when a mouse inside the papered walls,
Comes like a tiger crunching through the stones.

The Boy

Go, little boy,

Fill thee with joy;

For Time gives thee

Unlicensed hours,

To run in fields,

And roll in flowers.

A little boy

Can life enjoy;

If but to see

The horses pass,

When shut indoors

Behind the glass.

Go, little boy,

Fill thee with joy;

Fear not, like man,

The kick of wrath,

That you do lie

In some one’s path.

Time is to thee


As to a bird

Or butterfly;

And in that faith

True joy doth lie.

The Old Oak Tree

I sit beneath your leaves, old oak,

You mighty one of all the trees;

Within whose hollow trunk a man

Could stable his big horse with ease.

I see your knuckles hard and strong,

But have no fear they’ll come to blows;

Your life is long, and mine is short,

But which has known the greater woes?

Thou has not seen starved women here,

Or man gone mad because ill-fed—

Who stares at stones in city streets,

Mistaking them for hunks of bread.

Thou hast not felt the shivering backs

Of homeless children lying down

And sleeping in the cold, night air—

Like doors and walls in London town.

Knowing thou hast not known such shame,

And only storms have come thy way,

Methinks I could in comfort spend

My summer with thee, day by day.

To lie by day in thy green shade,

And in thy hollow rest at night;

And through the open doorway see

The stars turn over leaves of light.

The Kingfisher

It was the Rainbow gave thee birth,

And left thee all her lovely hues;

And, as her mother’s name was Tears,

So runs it in my blood to choose

For haunts the lonely pools, and keep

In company with trees that weep.

Go you and, with such glorious hues,

Live with proud peacocks in green parks;

On lawns as smooth as shining glass,

Let every feather show its marks;

Get thee on boughs and clap thy wings

Before the windows of proud kings.

Nay, lovely Bird, thou art not vain;

Thou hast no proud, ambitious mind;

I also love a quiet place

That’s green, away from all mankind;

A lonely pool, and let a tree

Sigh with her bosom over me.


She walks as lightly as the fly

Skates on the water in July.

To hear her moving petticoat

For me is music’s highest note.

Stones are not heard, when her feet pass,

No more than tumps of moss or grass.

When she sits still, she’s like the flower

To be a butterfly next hour.

The brook laughs not more sweet, when he

Trips over pebbles suddenly.

My Love, like him, can whisper low—

When he comes where green cresses grow.

She rises like the lark, that hour

He goes halfway to meet a shower.

A fresher drink is in her looks

Than Nature gives me, or old books.

When I in my Love’s shadow sit,

I do not miss the sun one bit.

When she is near, my arms can hold

All that’s worth having in this world.

And when I know not where she is,

Nothing can come but comes amiss.