Robert William Service - Eyrie

The little pink house is high on the hill
And my heart is not what it used to be;
It will kick up a fuss I know, but still
I must toil up that twisty trail to see
What that empty old house can mean to me.

For a Poet lived there for donkey’s years,
A Poet of parts and founded fame.
He took to the bottle, it appears,
And hid up there to enjoy his shame . . .
Oh, no, I’ll never betray his name.

Then gaily he drank himself to death,
But, oh, on the rarest of mellow wine;
An exquisite way to end one’s breath –
Lachrimae Christi, I’d choose for mine,
To sip and souse in the sweet sunshine.

They say that poets are half divine;
I question if that is always true;
At least, our Poet was partly swine,
Drunk each day, with a drab or two,
Till Presto! he vanished from our view.

Maybe he was weary of woe and sin,
Or sick, and crawled like a dog to die;
Where the olives end and the pines begin,
He sought the peace of the sun and sky . . .
He would see no one, and I wonder why?

And so I must climb up, up some day
And try to picture my Poet there;
He sprawled on his rose-bowered porch, they say,
To smoke and fuddle and dream and stare
At the sapphire sea through the amber air.

He gave up the ghost with none to see;
In his bed, no doubt, though I’d fain surmise
It was yonder under the ilex tree,
Watching the sun in splendour rise,
With the glory of God-light in his eyes.

Well, he was a Lord of Radiant Rhyme;
His gift was godlike, one can’t deny,
But he quit in the glory of his prime
As if he despised us – I wonder why?
As if he found, where yon mountains soar,
Far from men-folk and heaven-high,
Peace and Beauty forever more . . .
Peace and Beauty – Ah! so would I.

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