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ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE
English poet
(1837 - 1909)
  Displaying page 1 of 2    Next Page >> 

In this world, of dreams, I have chosen my part.
  To sleep for a season and hear no word
    Of true love's truth or of light love's art,
      Only the song of a secret bird.
      - [Dreams]

The sun is all about the world we see, the breath and strength of every spring.
      - [Sun]

There are few delights in any life so high and rare as the subtle and strong delight of sovereign art and poetry; there are none more pure and more sublime. To have read the greatest works of any great poet, to have beheld or heard the greatest works of any great painter or musician, is a possession added to the best things of life.
      - [Culture]

Time stoops to no man's lure.
      - [Proverbs]

When fate has allowed to any man more than one great gift, accident or necessity seems usually to contrive that one shall encumber and impede the other.
      - [Compensation]

A little soul scarce fledged for earth
  Takes wing with heaven again for goal,
    Even while we hailed as fresh from birth
      A little soul.
      - A Baby's Death [Babyhood]

In the world of dreams, I have chosen my part.
  To sleep for a season and hear no word
    Of true love's truth or of light love's art,
      Only the song of a secret bird.
      - A Ballad of Dreamland--Envoi [Dreams]

Death, if thou wilt, fain would I plead with thee:
  Canst thou not spare, of all our hopes have built,
    One shelter where our spirits fain would be
      Death, if thou wilt?
      - A Dialogue (st. 1) [Death]

Heart's ease of pansy, pleasure or thought,
  Which would the picture give us of these?
    Surely the heart that conceived it sought
      Heart's ease.
      - A Flower Piece by Fanten [Pansies]

If love were what the rose is,
  And I were like the leaf,
    Our lives would grow together
      In sad or singing weather.
      - A Match [Love]

O tender time that love thinks long to see,
  Sweet foot of Spring that with her footfall sows
    Late snow-like flowery leavings of the snows,
      Be not too long irresolute to be;
        O mother-month, where have they hidden thee?
      - A Vision of Spring in Winter [Spring]

Not with dreams, but with blood and with iron
  Shall a nation be moulded to last.
      - A Word for the Country [War]

And the best and the worst of this is
  That neither is most to blame,
    If you have forgotten my kisses
      And I have forgotten your name.
      - An Interlude [Names]

But from sharp words and wits men pluck no fruit;
  And gathering thorns they shake the tree at root;
    For words divide and rend,
      But silence is most noble till the end.
      - Atalanta [Words]

For winter's rains and ruins are over,
  And all the season of snows and sins;
    The days dividing lover and lover,
      The light that loses, the night that wins;
        And time remembered is grief forgotten,
          And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
            And in green underwood and cover
              Blossom by blossom the spring begins.
      - Atalanta in Calydon [Spring]

Cold autumn, wan with wrath of wind and rain,
  Saw pass a soul sweet as the sovereign tune
    That death smote silent when he smote again.
      - Autumn and Winter (I) [Autumn]

For thee, O now a silent soul, my brother,
  Take at my hands this garland and farewell.
    Thin is the leaf, and chill the wintry smell,
      And chill the solemn earth, a fatal mother.
      - Ave Atque Vale (st. 18) [Death]

Villon, our sad bad glad mad brother's name.
      - Ballad of Francois Villon [Poets]

White rose in red rose-garden
  Is not so white;
    Snowdrops, that plead for pardon
      And pine for fright
        Because the hard East blows
          Over their maiden vows,
            Grow not as this face grows from pale to bright.
      - Before the Mirror [Face]

Ah, thy beautiful hair! so was it once braided for me, for me;
  Now for death is it crowned, only for death, lover and lord of thee.
      - Choriambics (st. 5) [Hair]

I shall remember while the light lives yet
  And in the night time I shall not forget.
      - Erotion [Memory]

There is no such thing as a dumb poet or a handless painter. The essence of an artist is that he should be articulate.
      - Essays and Studies--Matthew Arnold's New Poems
        [Painting]

To have read the greatest works of any great poet, to have beheld or heard the greatest works of any great painter or musician, is a possession added to the best things of life.
      - Essays and Studies--Victor Hugo--L'Annee Terrible
        [Poets]

In fierce March weather
  White waves break tether,
    And whirled together
      At either hand,
        Like weeds uplifted,
          The tree-trunks rifted
            In spars are drifted,
              Like foam or sand.
      - Four Songs of Four Seasons (st. 11)
        [March]

From too much love of living,
  From hope and fear set free,
    We thank with brief thanksgiving
      Whatever gods may be
        That no life lives forever;
          That dead men rise up never;
            That even the weariest river
              Winds somewhere safe to sea.
      - Garden of Prosperine [Fate : Thankfulness]


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