Is life worth living? Yes, so long As Spring revives the year, And hails us with the cuckoo's song, To show that she is here;
Is life worth living? Yes, so long As there is wrong to right, Wail of the weak against the strong, Or tyranny to fight;
So long as faith with freedom reigns And loyal hope survives, And gracious charity remains To leaven lowly lives; While there is one untrodden tract For intellect or will, And men are free to think and act, Life is worth living still.
He is dead already who doth not feel Life is worth living still.
Show me your garden, provided it be your own, and I will tell you what you are like.
On the Illness of the Prince of Wales (1910)
O'er the wires the electric message came, "He is no better; he is much the same."
An 1871 poem on the illness of the Prince of Wales, although there is some doubt that Austin actually wrote this part. That classic compendium "The Stuffed Owl: An Anthology of Bad Verse" (2d ed. 1930; Capricorn paperback 1962) includes a dozen quotations from Austin but attributes this particular couplet (p. 17) to a "university poet unknown." It also provides a metrically more accurate first line, "Across the wires the gloomy message came," plus "not" for "no" in the second line.