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Algernon Charles Swinburne

Poems by Algernon Charles Swinburne


found 224 works
I hid my heart in a nest of roses,
Out of the sun's way, hidden apart;
In a softer bed than the soft white snow's is,
Under the roses I hid my heart.
Why would it sleep not? why should it start,
When never a leaf of the rose-tree stirred...
Kneel down, fair Love, and fill thyself with tears,
Girdle thyself with sighing for a girth
Upon the sides of mirth,
Cover thy lips and eyelids, let thine ears
Be filled with rumour of people sorrowing;
Make thee soft raiment out of woven sighs...
ALL the bells of heaven may ring,
All the birds of heaven may sing,
All the wells on earth may spring,
All the winds on earth may bring
All sweet sounds together---
Sweeter far than all things heard...
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.
Stately shine his purple plumes, exceeding
Pride of princes: nor shall maid or lover...
IN a coign of the cliff between lowland and highland,
At the sea-down's edge between windward and lee,
Walled round with rocks as an inland island,
The ghost of a garden fronts the sea.
A girdle of brushwood and thorn encloses
The steep square slope of the blossomless bed...
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.
Our thoughts ring sad as bells that toll,
Not knowing beyond this blind world's girth...
Here, where the world is quiet,
Here, where all trouble seems
Dead winds' and spent waves' riot
In doubtful dreams of dreams;
I watch the green field growing
For reaping folk and sowing...
If love were what the rose is,
And I were like the leaf,
Our lives would grow together
In sad or singing weather,
Blown fields or flowerful closes,
Green pasture or gray grief...
Love and Sleep


Lying asleep between the strokes of night
I saw my love lean over my sad bed,
Pale as the duskiest lily's leaf or head...
A Leave-Taking
Let us go hence, my songs; she will not hear.
Let us go hence together without fear;
Keep silence now, for singing?time is over,
And over all old things and all things dear.
She loves not you nor me as we all love her...
I.
Gone, O gentle heart and true,
Friend of hopes foregone,
Hopes and hopeful days with you
Gone?
Days of old that shone...
Vicisti, Galilæe
I have lived long enough, having seen one thing, that love hath an end;
Goddess and maiden and queen, be near me now and befriend.
Thou art more than the day or the morrow, the seasons that laugh or that weep;
For these give joy and sorrow; but thou, Proserpina, sleep.
Sweet is the treading of wine, and sweet the feet of the dove...
A Ballad of Burdens
The burden of fair women. Vain delight,
And love self-slain in some sweet shameful way,
And sorrowful old age that comes by night
As a thief comes that has no heart by day,
And change that finds fair cheeks and leaves them grey...
Birth and death, twin-sister and twin-brother,
Night and day, on all things that draw breath,
Reign, while time keeps friends with one another
Birth and death.
Each brow-bound with flowers diverse of wreath,
Heaven they hail as father, earth as mother...
Heart's ease or pansy, pleasure or thought,
Which would the picture give us of these?
Surely the heart that conceived it sought
Heart's ease.
Surely by glad and divine degrees
The heart impelling the hand that wrought...
I. WINTER IN NORTHUMBERLAND
OUTSIDE the garden
The wet skies harden;
The gates are barred on
The summer side:
"Shut out the flower-time...
Fate, out of the deep sea's gloom,
When a man's heart's pride grows great,
And nought seems now to foredoom
Fate,
Fate, laden with fears in wait,
Draws close through the clouds that loom...
WAS it light that spake from the darkness,
or music that shone from the word,
When the night was enkindled with sound
of the sun or the first-born bird?
Souls enthralled and entrammelled in bondage
of seasons that fall and rise...
Wind and sea and cloud and cloud-forsaking
Mirth of moonlight where the storm leaves free
Heaven awhile, for all the wrath of waking
Wind and sea.
Bright with glad mad rapture, fierce with glee,
Laughs the moon, borne on past cloud's o'ertaking...
I.
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.
Girt about with shadow, blind and lame...
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