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ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE
English poet
(1837 - 1909)
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Thou hast conquered, O pale Galilean;
  The world has grown gray from thy breath;
    We have drunken from things Lethean,
      And fed on the fullness of death.
      - Hymn to Proserpine [Christ]

Nay, then, what flames are these that leap and swell
  As 'twere to show, where earth's foundations crack,
    The secrets of the sepulchres of hell
      On Dante's track?
      - In Guernsey (pt. IV, st. 3) [Hell]

Sark, fairer than aught in the world that the lit skies cover,
  Laughs inly behind her cliffs, and the seafarers mark
    As a shrine where the sunlight serves, though the blown clouds hover, Sark.
      - Insularum Ocelle [Islands]

Love laid his sleepless head
  On a thorny rose bed:
    And his eyes with tears were red,
      And pale his lips as the dead.
      - Love Laid his Sleepless Head [Love]

Love lies bleeding in the bed whereover
  Roses lean with smiling mouths or pleading:
    Earth lies laughing where the sun's dart clove her:
      Love lies bleeding.
      - Love Lies Bleeding [Love Lies Bleeding]

Though our works
  Find righteous or unrighteous judgment, this
    At least is ours, to make them righteous.
      - Marino Faliero (act III, sc. 1) [Judgment]

This
  I ever held worse that all certitude,
    To know not what the worst ahead might be.
      - Marino Faliero (act V) [Uncertainty]

A young man with a very good past.
  [Fr., Un jeune homme d'un bien beau passe.]
      - Miscellanies (p. 233) [Past]

"Not a child: I call myself a boy,"
  Says my king, with accent stern yet mild;
    Now nine years have brought him change of joy--
      "Not a child."
      - Not a Child (st. 1) [Childhood]

A temple whose transepts are measured by miles,
  Whose chancel has morning for priest,
    Whose floor-work the foot of no spoiler defiles,
      Whose musical silence no music beguiles,
        No festivals limit its feast.
      - Palace of Pan (st. 8) [Trees]

This flower that smells of honey and the sea,
  White laurustine, seems in my hand to be
    A white star made of memory long ago
      Lit in the heaven of dear times dead to me.
      - Relics [Laurel]

Love, as is told by the seers of old,
  Comes as a butterfly tipped with gold,
    Flutters and flies in sunlit skies,
      Weaving round hearts that were one time cold.
      - Song [Love]

No blast of air or fire of sun
  Puts out the light whereby we run
    With girdled loins our lamplit race,
      And each from each takes heart of grace
        And spirit till his turn be done.
      - Songs Before Sunrise [Companionship]

Between the two seas the sea-bird's wing makes halt,
  Wind-weary; while with lifting head he waits
    For breath to reinspire him from the gates
      That open still toward sunrise on the vault
        High-domed of morning.
      - Songs of the Spring Tides--Introductory lines to Birthday Ode to Victor Hugo
        [Sea Birds]

In hawthorne-time the heart grows light.
      - Tale of Balen (I) [Hawthorn]

O Love, O great god Love, what have I done,
  That thou shouldst hunger so after my death?
    My heart is harmless as my life's first day:
      Seek out some false fair woman, and plague her
        Till her tears even as my tears fill her bed.
      - The Complaint of Lisa [Love]

I that have love and no more
  Give you but love of you, sweet;
    He that hath more, let him give;
      He that hath wings, let him soar;
        Mine is the heart at your feet
          Here, that must love you to live.
      - The Oblation [Love]

A little marsh-plant, yellow-green,
  And prick'd at lip with tender red.
    Tread close, and either way you tread,
      Some faint black water jets between
        Lest you should bruise the curious head.
      - The Sundew [Marsh Marigolds]

The year of the rose is brief;
  From the first blade blown to the sheaf,
    From the thin green leaf to the gold,
      It has time to be sweet and grow old,
        To triumph and leave not a leaf.
      - The Year of the Rose [Roses]

Time, thy name is sorrow, says the stricken
  Heart of life, laid waste with wasting flame
    Ere the change of things and thoughts requicken,
      Time, thy name.
      - Time and Life (st. 1) [Sorrow]

Prince, give praise to our French ladies
  For the sweet sound their speaking carries;
    'Twixt Rome and Cadiz many a maid is,
      But no good girl's lip out of Paris.
      - Translation from Villon--Ballad of the Women of Paris
        [Paris]

All gifts but one the jealous God may keep
  From our soul's longing, one he cannot--sleep.
    This, though he grudge all other grace to prayer,
      This grace his closed hand cannot choose but spare.
      - Tristram of Lyonesse--Prelude to Tristram and Iseult
         (l. 205) [Sleep]

They say sin touches not a man so near
  As shame a woman; yet he too should be
    Part of the penance, being more deep than she
      Set in the sin.
      - Tristram of Lyonesse--Sailing of the Swallow
         (l. 360) [Sin]

And hands that wist not though they dug a grave,
  Undid the hasps of gold, and drank, and gave,
    And he drank after, a deep glad kingly draught:
      And all their life changed in them, for they quaffed
        Death; if it be death so to drink, and fare
          As men who change and are what these twain were.
      - Tristram of Lyonesse--The Sailing of the Swallow
         (l. 789) [Death]

What shall be done for sorrow
  With love whose race is run?
    Where help is none to borrow,
      What shall be done?
      - Wasted Love [Sorrow]


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