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Leisure by William Henry Davies Explanation

Leisure by WH Davies Explanation


What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs

And stare as long as sheep or cows.




These verses have been taken from the poem “Leisure”, which is written by William Davies.




In this poem, the poet has criticized the very fast and busy style of life of the modern people. Being awfully busy in their worldly affairs, they do not enjoy the beauty of the various animate and inanimate objects of Nature. He urges upon them to spare some moments to stop, watch and enjoy the beauty of the living and lifeless objects of nature. According to William Davies, life full of worries and troubles is worthless to live.




In these verses the poet tells us that our life is full of worries and cares in modern times. And the situation has become worse by the fact that we have no time left spare in our daily routine to stand for a while and see all around us the beauty of nature. We should have spare time t o see and observe the nature all around us, standing under the green shady branches /trees like cows and sheep. Leisure is to be got and nature to be enjoyed in that leisure, otherwise our life will always be full of worries, troubles and tensions.

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No time to see, when woods we pass,

Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,

Streams full of stars, like skies at night.




The poet feels sorry for the modern man, who is so busy in his material life that he has completely ignored his mental and spiritual life. When we pass through a green forest, we are unable to see the pretty and sweet squirrels that are hiding their walnut in the grass. When we pass near by a stream, we ignore and do not watch and enjoy its twinkling water waves, which are shinning as brightly on the earth as the sky shines due to the twinkling stars at night.


No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,

And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can

Enrich that smile her eyes began.

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In these verses, the poet regrets that the modern man , being awfully busy in their worldly affairs has no spare time to stop and turn to watch and enjoy :-


  1. the beauty of Nature,
  2. how beautifully her feet can dance;
  3. how her beautiful talk can add to that smile which her looks spread and scatter later on.


Here the poet has personified the beauty of Nature as “a goddess of beauty”, i.e. a fair maiden, always smiling and dancing around us.


A poor life this if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.





This is concluding verse of the poem. In this verse, the poet has expressed his opinion that our life, if it is always full of cares and worries, is very miserable. In fact, he wants to say that we may be materially rich but, mentally and spiritually, our life becomes very miserable and poor if we do not have any spare time to stop, watch and enjoy the beauty of the various objects of nature.

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