Alfred Austin

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Alfred Austin 1900

Alfred Austin DL (30 May 1835 – 2 June 1913) was an English poet who was appointed Poet Laureate in 1896.


  • Show me your garden, provided
    it be your own, and I will tell you what you are
    • The Garden that I Love (1905)
  • O'er the wires the electric message came,
    "He is no better; he is much the same."
    • On the Illness of the Prince of Wales (1910)
    • 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.
  • The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.
    • As quoted in Growing with the Seasons (2008) by Frank & Vicky Giannangelo, p. 115.

Is Life Worth Living? (1896)[edit]

Is Life Worth Living? (1896)

  • 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.

Prose Papers on Poetry (1910)[edit]

  • No verse which is unmusical or obscure can be regarded as poetry whatever other qualities it may possess.
  • Imagination in poetry, as distinguished from mere fancy is the transfiguring of the real or actual to the ideal.

External links[edit]

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