Love is blind, they say. It is inspiring enough to write about. As did Alfred Austin in his poem Love’s blindness. It’s time to share one of the poems of a former Poet Laureate of Great Brittain.
About the poet
Alfred Austin (May 30 1835 – June 2 1913) was appointed Poet Laureate in 1896. He had been writing since 1861, but that wasn’t succesful. The Season: a Satire was his first succesful attempt as a writer. In 1870 he published The Poetry of the Period. This was an open attack on poets such as Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Robert Browning and Matthew Arnold – to name a few. The book shook the literary world up.
Even when he was appointed as the Poet Laureate, he would still remain in his role as critic. But he is still mostly remembered for his poetry about love and the love for nature. Spontaneity is one of the key ingredients of his work.
Before all of his successes he was raised in a Roman Catholic family near Leeds. His father worked as a merchant and his mother was the sister of Joseph Locke (yes, the engineer). He received his education at Stonyhurst College, St. Mary’s College and the University of London. He graduated in 1853 and became a barrister. When he inherrited his family fortune in 1857, he decided to quit his job and become a writer. As said, with some rather unsuccesful publications.
When the Poet Laureate Tennyson died in 1892 many other poets thanked for the position. Only Algernon Charles Swinburne and William Morris made clear that they were ready for this position. Neither of them would be awarded with this laurel crown. In 1896 Austin was appointed. By then Morris made clear that he wasn’t interested anymore. Austin was considered to be the attempt to get the position filled, rather than the reward for his good work. At least, that was the opinion of many other poets at his time. He was often referrred as the “Banjo Byron.” Nowadays we know better, since Austin left us beautiful poetry.
Now do I know that Love is blind, for I
Can see no beauty on this beauteous earth,
No life, no light, no hopefulness, no mirth,
Pleasure nor purpose, when thou art not nigh.
Thy absence exiles sunshine from the sky,
Seres Spring’s maturity, checks Summer’s birth,
Leaves linnet’s pipe as sad as plover’s cry,
And makes me in abundance find but dearth.
But when thy feet flutter the dark, and thou
With orient eyes dawnest on my distress,
Suddenly sings a bird on every bough,
The heavens expand, the earth grows less and less,
The ground is buoyant as the ether now,
And all looks lovely in thy loveliness.