A very surprising list compiled by the Inky Fool. He analysed the Google Search result data and came up with the following:
10. Tis better to have loved and lost/Than never to have loved at all 2,400,000 Tennyson
9. Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair 3,080,000 Shelley
8. To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield 3,140,000 Tennyson
7. Tread softly because you tread on my dreams 4,860,000 W.B. Yeats
6. Not with a bang but a whimper 5,280,000 T.S. Eliot
5. And miles to go before I sleep 5,350,000 Robert Frost
4. I wandered lonely as a cloud 8,000,000 Wordsworth
3. The child is father of the man 9,420,000 Wordsworth
2. I am the master of my fate 14,700,000 William Ernest Henley
1. To err is human; to forgive, divine 14,800,000 Alexander Pope
Some initial thoughts:
- What happened to the big guy? Shakespeare's highest entry is a miserable 13 with My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun. To be or not to be barely makes the Top 20.
- Equally mysterious that Kipling's If you can keep your head what all about you limps in at 48. Perhaps Google searchers, like P.G Wodehouse's Lord Emsworth, fail to remember the precise wording of the endlessly quoted verse: Something about if you can something something and never something something, you'll be a man my son, or words to that effect.
- The Romantics remain crowd pleasers - Wordsworth & Shelley take three of the top ten slots, though perhaps surprisingly Keats misses out.
- Pompous Christmas Cracker philosophising also good box-office (step forward Mr Tennyson).
- Surprised by Henley coming in a close second. Perhaps he appeals to the modern inclination to personalize ('I am the master of my fate')
- Over-familiarity produces a certain weariness when it comes to the Pope's victory. A staple of online sermons, religious and secular.
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