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Saturday, May 30, 2020

Celebrating Nature's Delights

Born in Leeds, England on this date in 1835, Austin authored 19 books of poetry, 7 dramatic works, and 3 novels in addition to dozens of stand-alone essays and long poems.  The most effective characteristic of Austin's writing was a genuine and intimate love of nature, highlighted perhaps by his long poems The Garden that I love and In Veronica's Garden.  He also served as Poet Laureate of Great Britain in the 1890s.

For Saturday’s Poem, here is Austin’s,
A Last Request

Let not the roses lie
Too thickly tangled round my tomb,
Lest fleecy clouds that skim the summer sky,
Flinging their faint soft shadows, pass it by,
And know not over whom.

And let not footsteps come
Too frequent round that nook of rest;
Should I-who knoweth?-not be deaf, though dumb,
Bird's idle pipe, or bee's laborious hum,
Would suit me, listening, best.

And, pray you, do not hew
Words to provoke a smile or sneer;
But only carve-at least if they be true-
These simple words, or some such, and as few,
``He whom we loved lies here.''

And if you only could
Find out some quite sequestered slope
That, girt behind with undeciduous wood,
In front o'erlooks the ocean-then I should
Die with a calmer hope.

And if you will but so
This last request of mine fulfil,
I rest your debtor for the final throw
And if I can but help you where I go,
Be sure, fond friends, I will.

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