Clear as of old the great voice rings to-day,
While Sherwood’s oak-leaves twine with Aldworth’s bay:
The voice of him the master and the sire
Of one whole age and legion of the lyre,
Who sang his morning-song when Coleridge still
Uttered dark oracles from Highgate Hill,
And with new-launched argosies of rhyme
Gilds and makes brave this sombreing tide of time.
Far be the hour when lesser brows shall wear
The laurel glorious from that wintry hair–
When he, the sovereign of our lyric day,
In Charon’s shallop must be rowed away,
And hear, scarce heeding, ‘mid the plash of oar,
The _ave atque vale_ from the shore!
To him nor tender nor heroic muse
Did her divine confederacy refuse:
To all its moods the lyre of life he strung,
And notes of death fell deathless from his tongue.
Himself the Merlin of his magic strain,
He bade old glories break in gloom again;
And so exempted from oblivious doom,
Through him these days shall fadeless break in bloom.
Poem can be found on ReadBookOnline.net.
See also The Poems of William Watson (John Lane, The Bodley Head, London & New York, 1905), The Collected Poems of William Watson (John Lane, New York and London, 1899), and Lachrymae Musarum & Other Poems (MacMillan and Co., London and New York, 1892).