Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
 
Truly Great
By William H. Davies (1871–1940)
 
MY walls outside must have some flowers,
  My walls within must have some books;
A house that ’s small; a garden large,
  And in it leafy nooks:
 
A little gold that ’s sure each week;        5
  That comes not from my living kind,
But from a dead man in his grave,
  Who cannot change his mind:
 
A lovely wife, and gentle too;
  Contented that no eyes but mine        10
Can see her many charms, nor voice
  To call her beauty fine:
 
Where she would in that stone cage live,
  A self-made prisoner, with me;
While many a wild bird sang around,        15
  On gate, on bush, on tree:
 
And she sometimes to answer them,
  In her far sweeter voice than all;
Till birds, that loved to look on leaves,
  Will doat on a stone wall.        20
 
—With this small house, this garden large,
  This little gold, this lovely mate,
With health in body, peace at heart—
  Show me a man more great.
 
 
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