Two Poets

Original Text: 
Marie Joussaye, The Songs that Quinte Sang (Belleville: Sun, 1895): 72-73. Internet Archive
2    Whose muse, arrayed in robes of misty light,
3Soared high above the common herd of men.
4    So high she soared, she almost passed from sight,
5Even as the cold and brilliant stars of Heaven
6    That shine in chilly splendour from the skies
7Withhold the radiance of their fairest beams
8    Beyond the naked sight of human eyes.
9Still there are some pretentious ones who read
10    The mystic dreams and fancies of his brain,
11Pedantic minds, who, understanding naught,
12    Would still have others think they grasp the strain,
13Till, at some passage with strange meaning fraught,
14    Too subtle far for them to understand,
15They pause perplexed, then as with one accord
16    Cry out in chorus: "How sublime and grand!"
17O gifted bard! I would not try to pluck
18    One leaf from out thy laurel wreath of fame
19Because I fail to grasp thy subtle thought:
20    'Tis not in thee, but me, where lies the blame.
21Around his tomb the world has bowed in grief,
22    And strewed his grave with bay and laurel leaf.
23There lived and died a poet, years ago--
24    A hardy, humble ploughman of the soil
25Who sang his heartfelt songs in simplest words
26    And earned his daily bread by humble toil.
27His songs brought gladness unto many hearts
28    And soothed men's sorrows as with magic spell.
29His name was known in palace and in cot,
30    For king and peasant loved the poet well.
31And why? Because he sang of human faith,
32    Of human love, of human joy and pain,
33The grandest thoughts couched in the simplest words,
34    The lowliest mind could grasp the meaning plain.
36    Whose songs found answer in the hearts of men,
37Thy name shall live on Fame's immortal scroll
38    After his name has passed from mortal ken,
39Thine the true poet soul and master mind
40    Whose lyrics touched the hearts of all mankind.


1] Possibly Robert Browning (1812-89). Back to Line
35] poet ploughman: Robert Burns (1759-96). Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: