First World War Poetry Digital Archive

'When late I viewed . . .'

When late I viewed the gardens of rich men,   Where throve my darling blossoms plenteously,   With others whose rare glories dazed my ken,   I was not teased with envious misery.   Enough for me to see and recognize;   Then bear away sweet names upon my tongue,   Scents in my breath, and colours in my eyes.   Their owners watch them die: I keep them young.   But when more spacious pleasances I trod,   And saw their thousand buds, but might not kiss   Though loving like a lover, sire, and God,   Sad was the yearning of my avarice.   The rich man gives his parting guest one bloom,   But God hath vouchsafed my meek longing---whom?


“'When late I viewed . . .',” by Owen, Wilfred (1893-1918). The Estate of Wilfred Owen.

The Complete Poems and Fragments of Wilfred Owen edited by Jon Stallworthy first published by Chatto & Windus, 1983. Preliminaries, introductory, editorial matter, manuscripts and fragments omitted. via First World War Poetry Digital Archive, accessed February 22, 2024,

Permitted Use

This item is available for non-commercial educational use under the terms of the Jisc Model Licence. Further details available at: