William Watson

1858-1935 / England

On Exaggerated Deference To Foreign Literary Opinion

What! and shall _we_, with such submissive airs
As age demands in reverence from the young,
Await these crumbs of praise from Europe flung,
And doubt of our own greatness till it bears
The signet of your Goethes or Voltaires?
We who alone in latter times have sung
With scarce less power than Arno's exiled tongue--
We who are Milton's kindred, Shakespeare's heirs.
The prize of lyric victory who shall gain
If ours be not the laurel, ours the palm?
More than the froth and flotsam of the Seine,
More than your Hugo-flare against the night,
And more than Weimar's proud elaborate calm,
One flash of Byron's lightning, Wordsworth's light.
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