Two titans of their age, aye of all Time,
Together should renounce this mortal state,
And rise like gods, unsullied and sublime?
Should mutually render up the ghost,
And hand n hand join Jove’s celestial host?
What wondrous welcome from the scribes on high!
Homer and Virgil would be waiting there;
Plato and Aristotle standing nigh;
Petrarch and Dante greet the peerless pair:
And as in harmony they make their bow,
Horace might quip: ‘Great timing, you’ll allow.’
Imagine this transcendant team arrive
At some hilarious banquet of the gods!
Their nations battled when they were alive,
And they were bitter foes – but what’s the odd?
Actor and soldier, happy hand in hand,
By death close-linked, like loving brothers stand.
But how diverse! Our Will had gold and gear,
Chattels and land, the starshine of success;
The bleak Castilian fought with casque and spear,
Passing his life in prisons – more or less.
The Bard of Avon was accounted rich;
Cervantes often bedded in a ditch.
Yet when I slough this flesh, if I could meet
By sweet, fantastic fate one of these two,
In languorous Elysian retreat,
Which would I choose? Fair reader, which would you?
Well, though our William more divinely wrote,
By gad! the lousy Spaniard has my vote.

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