Britain: Lines on a Laureate-to-Be

Sir John Betjeman's death last month has left

A title vacant and his Queen bereft.

Who now will hymn enduring England's glories,

Her verdant greenery and ruling Tories;

Who is to laud Elizabethan splendor,

Monarchic births and teas, and sterling tender?

Who, in short, can fill a post so hoary it

Dates back to Dryden, the first Poet Laureate?

Since then, succeeding crowns have given benison

To sixteen poets, e.g., Wordsworth, Tennyson;

And some who scaled Parnassus not as high,

Including Tate, Rowe, Gibber, Eusden, Pye.

All talents, large or nil, agreed to nurse

Knee-jerk reactions into public verse


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