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James Kenneth Stephen (1859-1892)

A Parodist's Apology


              1If I've dared laugh at you, Robert Browning,
              2  'Tis with eyes that with you have often wept:
              3You have oftener left me smiling or frowning,
              4  Than any beside, one bard except.

              5But once you spoke to me, storm-tongued poet,
              6  A trivial word in an idle hour;
              7But thrice I looked on your face and the glow it
              8  Bore from the flame of the inward power.

              9But you'd many a friend you never knew of,
            10  Your words lie hid in a hundred hearts,
            11And thousands of hands that you've grasped but few of
            12  Would be raised to shield you from slander's darts.

            13For you lived in the sight of the land that owned you,
            14  You faced the trial, and stood the test:
            15They have piled you a cairn that would fain have stoned you:
            16  You have spoken your message and earned your rest.

Notes

1] Robert Browning (1812-89), English poet.

15] cairn: pile of stones laid down as a memorial.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: James Kenneth Stephen, Lapsus Calami, new edn. (Cambridge: Macmillan and Bowes, 1891), p. 82. PR 5473 S4L3 1891 cop. 2 Robarts Library.
First publication date: June 1891
Publication date note: Pall Mall Gazette June 1891
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1998.
Recent editing: 2:2002/2/14

Rhyme: abab


Other poems by James Kenneth Stephen