Friday Poetry: William Watson

Happy Friday!

I hope everyone is looking forward to the weekend. I must admit I haven’t managed much reading recently because I have been reading endless chapters and articles about the importance of Roman dress and the significance of the the toga. I’m really enjoying all the research but I am missing my fun reading.

My chosen poem this week is by William Watson (1858-1935) was an English poet who wasn’t afraid to write what he thought.

The poem is The Ballad of Semmerwater, Semmerwater is more commonly spelt ‘Semerwater’ and is one of the largest lakes in Yorkshire. Semerwater has also been the home of many poets over the centuries.

The Ballad of Semmerwater

Deep asleep, deep asleep,
Deep asleep it lies,
The still lake of Semmerwater,
Under the still skies.

And many a fathom, many a fathom,
Many a fathom below,
In a king's tower and a queen's bower
The fishes come and go.

Once there stood by Semmerwater
A mickle town and tall;
King's tower and queen's bower,
And the wakeman on the wall.

Came a beggar halt and sore:
'I faint for lack of bread.'
King's tower and queen's bower
Cast him forth unfed.

He knocked at the door of the herdsman's cot,
The herdsman's cot in the dale.
They gave him of their oat-cake,
They gave him of their ale.

He cursed aloud the city proud,
He cursed it in its pride;
He cursed it into Semmerwater
Down the brant hillside;
He cursed it into Semmerwater,
There to bide.

King's tower and queen's bower,
And a mickle town and tall;
By glimmer of scale and gleam of fin,
Folk have seen them all.

King's tower and queen's bower,
And weed and reed in the gloom,
And a lost city in Semmerwater
Deep asleep till Doom.

William Watson

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