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Ballade Made In The Hot Weather
by
William Ernest Henley


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Fountains that frisk and sprinkle
The moss they overspill;
Pools that the breezes crinkle;
The wheel beside the mill,
With its wet, weedy frill;
Wind-shadows in the wheat;
A water-cart in the street;
The fringe of foam that girds
An islet’s ferneries;
A green sky’s minor thirds -
To live, I think of these!

Of ice and glass the tinkle,
Pellucid, silver-shrill;
Peaches without a wrinkle;
Cherries and snow at will,
From china bowls that fill
The senses with a sweet
Incuriousness of heat;
A melon’s dripping sherds;
Cream-clotted strawberries;
Dusk dairies set with curds -
To live, I think of these!

Vale-lily and periwinkle;
Wet stone-crop on the sill;
The look of leaves a-twinkle
With windlets clear and still;
The feel of a forest rill
That wimples fresh and fleet
About one’s naked feet;
The muzzles of drinking herds;
Lush flags and bulrushes;
The chirp of rain-bound birds -
To live, I think of these!

Dark aisles, new packs of cards,
Mermaidens’ tails, cool swards,
Dawn dews and starlit seas,
White marbles, whiter words -
To live, I think of these! 

From Poems (Macmillan and Co., 1920)
This poem is in the public domain.

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William Ernest Henley (1849 - 1903) was an English editor, poet, and playwright. Diagnosed as a child with tuberculosis of the bone, the disease plagued him throughout his life and caused the amputation of a leg when he was not yet twenty. A big, burly man with a gregarious disposition and a keen eye for literary talent, William was well liked and much admired for his own body of work. One of his closest friends was Robert Louis Stevenson, who used William as the inspiration for his Treasure Island character, Long John Silver. William’s poem, "Invictus," has inspired many throughout the years, especially its last two lines: "I am the master of my fate;/I am the captain of my soul."


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