William Ernest Henley (1849-1903)
(first publishing date unknown)
IF I were king, my pipe should be premier. If I were king.
The skies of time and chance are seldom clear,
We would inform them all with bland blue weather.
Delight alone would need to shed a tear,
For dream and deed should war no more together.
Art should aspire, yet ugliness be dear;
Beauty, the shaft, should speed with wit for feather;
And love, sweet love, should never fall to sere,
But politics should find no harbour near; If I were king.
The Philistine should fear to slip his tether;
Tobacco should be duty free, and beer;
In fact, in room of this, the age of leather,
An age of gold all radiant should appear,
It is 70 years past William Ernest Henley’s (1849-1903) death. The copyright on If I were King has expired and to the best of my knowledge is in public domain.
Public domain text taken from