Top 20 Most Popular Poems of Algernon Charles Swinburne

These are the top twenty (20) most popular poems of Algernon Charles Swinburne.

From A Baby’s Death to Autumn and Winter.

If you want to know his greatest poems of all time, then this poetry collection is for you.

Keep reading!

A Baby’s Death


I.


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
What things are writ in heaven’s full scroll.


Our fruitfulness is there but dearth,
And all things held in time’s control
Seem there, perchance, ill dreams, not worth
A little soul.


II.


The little feet that never trod
Earth, never strayed in field or street,
What hand leads upward back to God
The little feet?


A rose in June’s most honied heat,
When life makes keen the kindling sod,
Was not so soft and warm and sweet.


Their pilgrimage’s period
A few swift moons have seen complete
Since mother’s hands first clasped and shod
The little feet.


III.


The little hands that never sought
Earth’s prizes, worthless all as sands,
What gift has death, God’s servant, brought
The little hands?


We ask: but love’s self silent stands,
Love, that lends eyes and wings to thought
To search where death’s dim heaven expands.

Ere this, perchance, though love know nought,
Flowers fill them, grown in lovelier lands,
Where hands of guiding angels caught
The little hands.


IV.


The little eyes that never knew
Light other than of dawning skies,
What new life now lights up anew
The little eyes?


Who knows but on their sleep may rise
Such light as never heaven let through
To lighten earth from Paradise?


No storm, we know, may change the blue
Soft heaven that haply death descries
No tears, like these in ours, bedew
The little eyes.


V.


Was life so strange, so sad the sky,
So strait the wide world’s range,
He would not stay to wonder why
Was life so strange?


Was earth’s fair house a joyless grange
Beside that house on high
Whence Time that bore him failed to estrange?

That here at once his soul put by
All gifts of time and change,
And left us heavier hearts to sigh
‘Was life so strange?’


VI.


Angel by name love called him, seeing so fair
The sweet small frame;
Meet to be called, if ever man’s child were,
Angel by name.


Rose-bright and warm from heaven’s own heart he came,
And might not bear
The cloud that covers earth’s wan face with shame.


His little light of life was all too rare
And soft a flame:
Heaven yearned for him till angels hailed him there
Angel by name.


VII.
The song that smiled upon his birthday here
Weeps on the grave that holds him undefiled
Whose loss makes bitterer than a soundless tear
The song that smiled.


His name crowned once the mightiest ever styled
Sovereign of arts, and angel: fate and fear
Knew then their master, and were reconciled.

But we saw born beneath some tenderer sphere
Michael, an angel and a little child,
Whose loss bows down to weep upon his bier
The song that smiled.

Algernon Charles Swinburne

A Baby’s Epitaph


April made me: winter laid me here away asleep.
Bright as Maytime was my daytime; night is soft and deep:
Though the morrow bring forth sorrow, well are ye that weep.
Ye that held me dear beheld me not a twelvemonth long:
All the while ye saw me smile, ye knew not whence the song
Came that made me smile, and laid me here, and wrought you wrong.
Angels, calling from your brawling world one undefiled,
Homeward bade me, and forbade me here to rest beguiled:
Here I sleep not: pass, and weep not here upon your child.

Algernon Charles Swinburne

A Midsummer Holiday:- I. The Seaboard


The sea is at ebb, and the sound of her utmost word
Is soft as the least wave’s lapse in a still small reach.
From bay into bay, on quest of a goal deferred,
From headland ever to headland and breach to breach
Where earth gives ear to the message that all days preach
With changes of gladness and sadness that cheer and chide,
The lone way lures me along by a chance untried
That haply, if hope dissolve not and faith be whole,
Not all for nought shall I seek, with a dream for guide.
The goal that is not, and ever again the goal.
The trackless ways are untravelled of sail or bird;
The hoar wave hardly recedes from the soundless beach.
The silence of instant noon goes nigh to be heard,
The viewless void to be visible: all and each,
A closure of calm no clamour of storm can breach
Concludes and confines and absorbs them on either side,
All forces of light and of life and the live world’s pride.
Sands hardly ruffled of ripples that hardly roll
Seem ever to show as in reach of a swift brief stride
The goal that is not, and ever again the goal.
The waves are a joy to the seamew, the meads to the herd,
And a joy to the heart is a goal that it may not reach.
No sense that for ever the limits of sense engird,
No hearing or sight that is vassal to form or speech,
Learns ever the secret that shadow and silence teach,
Hears ever the notes that or ever they swell subside,
Sees ever the light that lights not the loud world’s tide,
Clasps ever the cause of the lifelong scheme’s control
Wherethrough we pursue, till the waters of life be dried,
The goal that is not, and ever again the goal.
Friend, what have we sought or seek we, whate’er betide,
Though the seaboard shift its mark from afar descried,
But aims whence ever anew shall arise the soul?
Love, thought, song, life, but show for a glimpse and hide
The goal that is not, and ever again the goal.

Algernon Charles Swinburne

A Dirge


A bell tolls on in my heart
As though in my ears a knell
Had ceased for awhile to swell,
But the sense of it would not part
From the spirit that bears its part
In the chime of the soundless bell.
Ah dear dead singer of sorrow,
The burden is now not thine
That grief bade sound for a sign
Through the songs of the night whose morrow
Has risen, and I may not borrow
A beam from its radiant shrine.
The burden has dropped from thee
That grief on thy life bound fast;
The winter is over and past
Whose end thou wast fain to see.
Shall sorrow not comfort me
That is thine no longer, at last?
Good day, good night, and good morrow,
Men living and mourning say.
For thee we could only pray
That night of the day might borrow
Such comfort as dreams lend sorrow:
Death gives thee at last good day.

Algernon Charles Swinburne

Babyhood


I.


A baby shines as bright
If winter or if May be
On eyes that keep in sight
A baby.


Though dark the skies or grey be,
It fills our eyes with light,
If midnight or midday be.


Love hails it, day and night,
The sweetest thing that may be
Yet cannot praise aright
A baby.


II.


All heaven, in every baby born,
All absolute of earthly leaven,
Reveals itself, though man may scorn
All heaven.


Yet man might feel all sin forgiven,
All grief appeased, all pain outworn,
By this one revelation given.

Soul, now forget thy burdens borne:
Heart, be thy joys now seven times seven:
Love shows in light more bright than morn
All heaven.


III.


What likeness may define, and stray not
From truth’s exactest way,
A baby’s beauty? Love can say not
What likeness may.

The Mayflower loveliest held in May
Of all that shine and stay not
Laughs not in rosier disarray.


Sleek satin, swansdown, buds that play not
As yet with winds that play,
Would fain be matched with this, and may not:
What likeness may?


IV.


Rose, round whose bed
Dawn’s cloudlets close,
Earth’s brightest-bred
Rose!


No song, love knows,
May praise the head
Your curtain shows.


Ere sleep has fled,
The whole child glows
One sweet live red
Rose.

Algernon Charles Swinburne

Etude Realiste


I.


A Baby’s feet, like sea-shells pink,
Might tempt, should heaven see meet,
An angel’s lips to kiss, we think,
A baby’s feet.


Like rose-hued sea-flowers toward the heat
They stretch and spread and wink
Their ten soft buds that part and meet.


No flower-bells that expand and shrink
Gleam half so heavenly sweet
As shine on life’s untrodden brink
A baby’s feet.


II.


A baby’s hands, like rosebuds furled
Whence yet no leaf expands,
Ope if you touch, though close upcurled,
A baby’s hands.


Then, fast as warriors grip their brands
When battle’s bolt is hurled,
They close, clenched hard like tightening bands.


No rosebuds yet by dawn impearled
Match, even in loveliest lands,
The sweetest flowers in all the world –
A baby’s hands.


III.


A baby’s eyes, ere speech begin,
Ere lips learn words or sighs,
Bless all things bright enough to win
A baby’s eyes.


Love, while the sweet thing laughs and lies,
And sleep flows out and in,
Sees perfect in them Paradise.


Their glance might cast out pain and sin,
Their speech make dumb the wise,
By mute glad godhead felt within
A baby’s eyes.

Algernon Charles Swinburne

The Tyneside Widow


There’s mony a man loves land and life,
Loves life and land and fee;
And mony a man loves fair women,
But never a man loves me, my love,
But never a man loves me.
O weel and weel for a’ lovers,
I wot weel may they be;
And weel and weel for a’ fair maidens,
But aye mair woe for me, my love,
But aye mair woe for me.
O weel be wi’ you, ye sma’ flowers,
Ye flowers and every tree;
And weel be wi’ you, a’ birdies,
But teen and tears wi’ me, my love,
But teen and tears wi’ me.
O weel be yours, my three brethren,
And ever weel be ye;
Wi’ deeds for doing and loves for wooing,
But never a love for me, my love,
But never a love for me.
And weel be yours, my seven sisters,
And good love-days to see,
And long life-days and true lovers,
But never a day for me, my love,
But never a day for me.
Good times wi’ you, ye bauld riders,
By the hieland and the lee;
And by the leeland and by the hieland
It’s weary times wi’ me, my love,
It’s weary times wi’ me.
Good days wi’ you, ye good sailors,
Sail in and out the sea;
And by the beaches and by the reaches
It’s heavy days wi’ me, my love,
It’s heavy days wi’ me.
I had his kiss upon my mouth,
His bairn upon my knee;
I would my soul and body were twain,
And the bairn and the kiss wi’ me, my love,
And the bairn and the kiss wi’ me.
The bairn down in the mools, my dear,
O saft and saft lies she;
I would the mools were ower my head,
And the young bairn fast wi’ me, my love,
And the young bairn fast wi’ me.
The father under the faem, my dear,
O sound and sound sleeps he;
I would the faem were ower my face,
And the father lay by me, my love,
And the father lay by me.
I would the faem were ower my face,
Or the mools on my ee-bree;
And waking-time with a’ lovers,
But sleeping-time wi’ me, my love,
But sleeping-time wi’ me.
I would the mools were meat in my mouth,
The saut faem in my ee;
And the land-worm and the water-worm
To feed fu’ sweet on me, my love,
To feed fu’ sweet on me.
My life is sealed with a seal of love,
And locked with love for a key;
And I lie wrang and I wake lang,
But ye tak’ nae thought for me, my love,
But ye tak’ nae thought for me.
We were weel fain of love, my dear,
O fain and fain were we;
It was weel with a’ the weary world,
But O, sae weel wi’ me, my love,
But O, sae weel wi’ me.
We were nane ower mony to sleep, my dear,
I wot we were but three;
And never a bed in the weary world
For my bairn and my dear and me, my love,
For my bairn and my dear and me.

Algernon Charles Swinburne

A Ballad of Death


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
Upon the flesh to cleave,
Set pains therein and many a grievous thing,
And many sorrows after each his wise
For armlet and for gorget and for sleeve.


O Love’s lute heard about the lands of death,
Left hanged upon the trees that were therein;
O Love and Time and Sin,
Three singing mouths that mourn now underbreath,
Three lovers, each one evil spoken of;
O smitten lips wherethrough this voice of mine
Came softer with her praise;
Abide a little for our lady’s love.
The kisses of her mouth were more than wine,
And more than peace the passage of her days.


O Love, thou knowest if she were good to see.
O Time, thou shalt not find in any land
Till, cast out of thine hand,
The sunlight and the moonlight fail from thee,
Another woman fashioned like as this.
O Sin, thou knowest that all thy shame in her
Was made a goodly thing;
Yea, she caught Shame and shamed him with her kiss,
With her fair kiss, and lips much lovelier
Than lips of amorous roses in late spring.

By night there stood over against my bed
Queen Venus with a hood striped gold and black,
Both sides drawn fully back
From brows wherein the sad blood failed of red,
And temples drained of purple and full of death.
Her curled hair had the wave of sea-water
And the sea’s gold in it.
Her eyes were as a dove’s that sickeneth.
Strewn dust of gold she had shed over her,
And pearl and purple and amber on her feet.


Upon her raiment of dyed sendaline
Were painted all the secret ways of love
And covered things thereof,
That hold delight as grape-flowers hold their wine;
Red mouths of maidens and red feet of doves,
And brides that kept within the bride-chamber
Their garment of soft shame,
And weeping faces of the wearied loves
That swoon in sleep and awake wearier,
With heat of lips and hair shed out like flame.


The tears that through her eyelids fell on me
Made mine own bitter where they ran between
As blood had fallen therein,
She saying; Arise, lift up thine eyes and see
If any glad thing be or any good
Now the best thing is taken forth of us;
Even she to whom all praise
Was as one flower in a great multitude,
One glorious flower of many and glorious,
One day found gracious among many days:

Even she whose handmaiden was Love—to whom
At kissing times across her stateliest bed
Kings bowed themselves and shed
Pale wine, and honey with the honeycomb,
And spikenard bruised for a burnt-offering;
Even she between whose lips the kiss became
As fire and frankincense;
Whose hair was as gold raiment on a king,
Whose eyes were as the morning purged with flame,
Whose eyelids as sweet savour issuing thence.


Then I beheld, and lo on the other side
My lady’s likeness crowned and robed and dead.
Sweet still, but now not red,
Was the shut mouth whereby men lived and died.
And sweet, but emptied of the blood’s blue shade,
The great curled eyelids that withheld her eyes.
And sweet, but like spoilt gold,
The weight of colour in her tresses weighed.
And sweet, but as a vesture with new dyes,
The body that was clothed with love of old.


Ah! that my tears filled all her woven hair
And all the hollow bosom of her gown’
Ah! that my tears ran down
Even to the place where many kisses were,
Even where her parted breast-flowers have place,
Even where they are cloven apart—who knows not this?
Ah! the flowers cleave apart
And their sweet fills the tender interspace;
Ah! the leaves grown thereof were things to kiss
Ere their fine gold was tarnished at the heart.


Ah! in the days when God did good to me,
Each part about her was a righteous thing;
Her mouth an almsgiving,
The glory of her garments charity,
The beauty of her bosom a good deed,
In the good days when God kept sight of us;
Love lay upon her eyes,
And on that hair whereof the world takes heed;
And all her body was more virtuous
Than souls of women fashioned otherwise.


Now, ballad, gather poppies in thine hands
And sheaves of brier and many rusted sheaves
Rain-rotten in rank lands,
Waste marigold and late unhappy leaves
And grass that fades ere any of it be mown;
And when thy bosom is filled full thereof
Seek out Death’s face ere the light altereth,
And say ‘My master that was thrall to Love
Is become thrall to Death.’
Bow down before him, ballad, sigh and groan,
But make no sojourn in thine outgoing;
For haply it may be
That when thy feet return at evening
Death shall come in with thee.

Algernon Charles Swinburne

A Ballad at Parting


Sea to sea that clasps and fosters England, uttering ever-more
Song eterne and praise immortal of the indomitable shore,
Lifts aloud her constant heart up, south to north and east to west,
Here in speech that shames all music, there in thunder-throated roar,
Chiming concord out of discord, waking rapture out of rest.
All her ways are lovely, all her works and symbols are divine,
Yet shall man love best what first bade leap his heart and bend his knee;
Yet where first his whole soul worshipped shall his soul set up her shrine:
Nor may love not know the lovelier, fair as both beheld may be,
Here the limitless north-eastern, there the strait south-western sea.
Though their chant bear all one burden, as ere man was born it bore;
Though the burden be diviner than the songs all souls adore;
Yet may love not choose but choose between them which to love the best.
Me the sea my nursing-mother, me the Channel green and hoar,
Holds at heart more fast than all things, bares for me the goodlier breast,
Lifts for me the lordlier love-song, bids for me more sunlight shine,
Sounds for me the stormier trumpet of the sweeter strain to me.
So the broad pale Thames is loved not like the tawny springs of Tyne:
Choice is clear between them for the soul whose vision holds in fee
Here the limitless north-eastern, there the strait south-western sea.
Choice is clear, but dear is either; nor has either not in store
Many a likeness, many a written sign of spirit-searching lore,
Whence the soul takes fire of sweet remembrance, magnified and blest.
Thought of songs whose flame-winged feet have trod the unfooted water-floor
When the lord of all the living lords of souls bade speed their quest,
Soft live sound like children’s babble down the rippling sand’s incline,
Or the lovely song that loves them, hailed with thankful prayer and plea;
These are parcels of the harvest here whose gathered sheaves are mine,
Garnered now, but sown and reaped where winds make wild with wrath or glee
Here the limitless north-eastern, there the strait south-western sea.
Song, thy name is freedom, seeing thy strength was born of breeze and brine.
Fare now forth and fear no fortune; such a seal is set on thee.
Joy begat and memory bare thee, seeing in spirit a two-fold sign,
Even the sign of those thy fosters, each as thou from all time free,
Here the limitless north-eastern, there the strait south-western sea.

Algernon Charles Swinburne

A Ballad of Life


I found in dreams a place of wind and flowers,
Full of sweet trees and colour of glad grass,
In midst whereof there was
A lady clothed like summer with sweet hours.
Her beauty, fervent as a fiery moon,
Made my blood burn and swoon
Like a flame rained upon.
Sorrow had filled her shaken eyelids’ blue,
And her mouth’s sad red heavy rose all through
Seemed sad with glad things gone.


She held a little cithern by the strings,
Shaped heartwise, strung with subtle-coloured hair
Of some dead lute-player
That in dead years had done delicious things.
The seven strings were named accordingly;
The first string charity,
The second tenderness,
The rest were pleasure, sorrow, sleep, and sin,
And loving-kindness, that is pity’s kin
And is most pitiless.


There were three men with her, each garmented
With gold and shod with gold upon the feet;
And with plucked ears of wheat
The first man’s hair was wound upon his head.
His face was red, and his mouth curled and sad;
All his gold garment had
Pale stains of dust and rust.
A riven hood was pulled across his eyes;
The token of him being upon this wise
Made for a sign of Lust.


The next was Shame, with hollow heavy face
Coloured like green wood when flame kindles it.
He hath such feeble feet
They may not well endure in any place.
His face was full of grey old miseries,
And all his blood’s increase
Was even increase of pain.
The last was Fear, that is akin to Death;
He is Shame’s friend, and always as Shame saith
Fear answers him again.


My soul said in me; This is marvellous,
Seeing the air’s face is not so delicate
Nor the sun’s grace so great,
If sin and she be kin or amorous.
And seeing where maidens served her on their knees,
I bade one crave of these
To know the cause thereof.
Then Fear said: I am Pity that was dead.
And Shame said: I am Sorrow comforted.
And Lust said: I am Love.


Thereat her hands began a lute-playing
And her sweet mouth a song in a strange tongue;
And all the while she sung
There was no sound but long tears following
Long tears upon men’s faces waxen white
With extreme sad delight.
But those three following men
Became as men raised up among the dead;
Great glad mouths open and fair cheeks made red
With child’s blood come again.


Then I said: Now assuredly I see
My lady is perfect, and transfigureth
All sin and sorrow and death,
Making them fair as her own eyelids be,
Or lips wherein my whole soul’s life abides;
Or as her sweet white sides
And bosom carved to kiss.
Now therefore, if her pity further me,
Doubtless for her sake all my days shall be
As righteous as she is.


Forth, ballad, and take roses in both arms,
Even till the top rose touch thee in the throat
Where the least thornprick harms;
And girdled in thy golden singing-coat,
Come thou before my lady and say this;
Borgia, thy gold hair’s colour burns in me,
Thy mouth makes beat my blood in feverish rhymes;
Therefore so many as these roses be,
Kiss me so many times.
Then it may be, seeing how sweet she is,
That she will stoop herself none otherwise
Than a blown vine-branch doth,
And kiss thee with soft laughter on thine eyes,
Ballad, and on thy mouth.

Algernon Charles Swinburne

A Ballad Of Sark


High beyond the granite portal arched across
Like the gateway of some godlike giant’s hold
Sweep and swell the billowy breasts of moor and moss
East and westward, and the dell their slopes enfold
Basks in purple, glows in green, exults in gold
Glens that know the dove and fells that hear the lark
Fill with joy the rapturous island, as an ark
Full of spicery wrought from herb and flower and tree.
None would dream that grief even here may disembark
On the wrathful woful marge of earth and sea.
Rocks emblazoned like the mid shield’s royal boss
Take the sun with all their blossom broad and bold.
None would dream that all this moorland’s glow and gloss
Could be dark as tombs that strike the spirit acold
Even in eyes that opened here, and here behold
Now no sun relume from hope’s belated spark
Any comfort, nor may ears of mourners hark
Though the ripe woods ring with golden-throated glee,
While the soul lies shattered, like a stranded bark
On the wrathful woful marge of earth and sea.
Death and doom are they whose crested triumphs toss
On the proud plumed waves whence mourning notes are tolled.
Wail of perfect woe and moan for utter loss
Raise the bride-song through the graveyard on the wold
Where the bride-bed keeps the bridegroom fast in mould,
Where the bride, with death for priest and doom for clerk,
Hears for choir the throats of waves like wolves that bark,
Sore anhungered, off the drear Eperquerie,
Fain to spoil the strongholds of the strength of Sark
On the wrathful woful marge of earth and sea.
Prince of storm and tempest, lord whose ways are dark,
Wind whose wings are spread for flight that none may mark,
Lightly dies the joy that lives by grace of thee.
Love through thee lies bleeding, hope lies cold and stark,
On the wrathful woful marge of earth and sea.

Algernon Charles Swinburne

A Ballad Of Appeal


TO CHRISTINA G. ROSSETTI.

Song wakes with every wakening year
From hearts of birds that only feel
Brief spring’s deciduous flower-time near:
And song more strong to help or heal
Shall silence worse than winter seal?
From love-lit thought’s remurmuring cave
The notes that rippled, wave on wave,
Were clear as love, as faith were strong;
And all souls blessed the soul that gave
Sweet water from the well of song.
All hearts bore fruit of joy to hear,
All eyes felt mist upon them steal
For joy’s sake, trembling toward a tear,
When, loud as marriage-bells that peal,
Or flutelike soft, or keen like steel,
Sprang the sheer music; sharp or grave,
We heard the drift of winds that drave,
And saw, swept round by ghosts in throng,
Dark rocks, that yielded, where they clave,
Sweet water from the well of song.
Blithe verse made all the dim sense clear
That smiles of babbling babes conceal:
Prayer’s perfect heart spake here: and here
Rose notes of blameless woe and weal,
More soft than this poor song’s appeal.
Where orchards bask, where cornfields wave,
They dropped like rains that cleanse and lave,
And scattered all the year along,
Like dewfall on an April grave,
Sweet water from the well of song.
Ballad, go bear our prayer, and crave
Pardon, because thy lowlier stave
Can do this plea no right, but wrong.
Ask nought beside thy pardon, save
Sweet water from the well of song.

Algernon Charles Swinburne

A Ballad of Bath


Like a queen enchanted who may not laugh or weep,
Glad at heart and guarded from change and care like ours,
Girt about with beauty by days and nights that creep
Soft as breathless ripples that softly shoreward sweep,
Lies the lovely city whose grace no grief deflowers.
Age and grey forgetfulness, time that shifts and veers,
Touch not thee, our fairest, whose charm no rival nears,
Hailed as England’s Florence of one whose praise gives grace,
Landor, once thy lover, a name that love reveres:
Dawn and noon and sunset are one before thy face.
Dawn whereof we know not, and noon whose fruit we reap,
Garnered up in record of years that fell like flowers,
Sunset liker sunrise along the shining steep
Whence thy fair face lightens, and where thy soft springs leap,
Crown at once and gird thee with grace of guardian powers
Loved of men beloved of us, souls that fame inspheres,
All thine air hath music for him who dreams and hears;
Voices mixed of multitudes, feet of friends that pace,
Witness why for ever, if heaven’s face clouds or clears,
Dawn and noon and sunset are one before thy face.
Peace hath here found harbourage mild as very sleep:
Not the hills and waters, the fields and wildwood bowers,
Smile or speak more tenderly, clothed with peace more deep,
Here than memory whispers of days our memories keep
Fast with love and laughter and dreams of withered hours.
Bright were these as blossom of old, and thought endears
Still the fair soft phantoms that pass with smiles or tears,
Sweet as roseleaves hoarded and dried wherein we trace
Still the soul and spirit of sense that lives and cheers:
Dawn and noon and sunset are one before thy face.
City lulled asleep by the chime of passing years,
Sweeter smiles thy rest than the radiance round thy peers;
Only love and lovely remembrance here have place.
Time on thee lies lighter than music on men’s ears;
Dawn and noon and sunset are one before thy face.

Algernon Charles Swinburne

A Ballad of Burdens


By Algernon Charles Swinburne
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,
And weariness that keeps awake for hire,
And grief that says what pleasure used to say;
This is the end of every man’s desire.


The burden of bought kisses. This is sore,
A burden without fruit in childbearing;
Between the nightfall and the dawn threescore,
Threescore between the dawn and evening.
The shuddering in thy lips, the shuddering
In thy sad eyelids tremulous like fire,
Makes love seem shameful and a wretched thing.
This is the end of every man’s desire.


The burden of sweet speeches. Nay, kneel down,
Cover thy head, and weep; for verily
These market-men that buy thy white and brown
In the last days shall take no thought for thee.
In the last days like earth thy face shall be,
Yea, like sea-marsh made thick with brine and mire,
Sad with sick leavings of the sterile sea.
This is the end of every man’s desire.


The burden of long living. Thou shalt fear
Waking, and sleeping mourn upon thy bed;
And say at night ‘Would God the day were here,’
And say at dawn ‘Would God the day were dead.’
With weary days thou shalt be clothed and fed,
And wear remorse of heart for thine attire,
Pain for thy girdle and sorrow upon thine head;
This is the end of every man’s desire.


The burden of bright colours. Thou shalt see
Gold tarnished, and the grey above the green;
And as the thing thou seest thy face shall be,
And no more as the thing beforetime seen.
And thou shalt say of mercy ‘It hath been,’
And living, watch the old lips and loves expire,
And talking, tears shall take thy breath between;
This is the end of every man’s desire.


The burden of sad sayings. In that day
Thou shalt tell all thy days and hours, and tell
Thy times and ways and words of love, and say
How one was dear and one desirable,
And sweet was life to hear and sweet to smell,
But now with lights reverse the old hours retire
And the last hour is shod with fire from hell;
This is the end of every man’s desire.


The burden of fair seasons. Rain in spring,
White rain and wind among the tender trees;
A summer of green sorrows gathering,
Rank autumn in a mist of miseries,
With sad face set towards the year, that sees
The charred ash drop out of the dropping pyre,
And winter wan with many maladies;
This is the end of every man’s desire.


The burden of dead faces. Out of sight
And out of love, beyond the reach of hands,
Changed in the changing of the dark and light,
They walk and weep about the barren lands
Where no seed is nor any garner stands,
Where in short breaths the doubtful days respire,
And time’s turned glass lets through the sighing sands;
This is the end of every man’s desire.


The burden of much gladness. Life and lust
Forsake thee, and the face of thy delight;
And underfoot the heavy hour strews dust,
And overhead strange weathers burn and bite;
And where the red was, lo the bloodless white,
And where truth was, the likeness of a liar,
And where day was, the likeness of the night;
This is the end of every man’s desire.


L’ENVOY.
Princes, and ye whom pleasure quickeneth,
Heed well this rhyme before your pleasure tire;
For life is sweet, but after life is death.
This is the end of every man’s desire.

Algernon Charles Swinburne

Pelagius


I.
The sea shall praise him and the shores bear part
That reared him when the bright south world was black
With fume of creeds more foul than hell’s own rack,
Still darkening more love’s face with loveless art
Since Paul, faith’s fervent Antichrist, of heart
Heroic, haled the world vehemently back
From Christ’s pure path on dire Jehovah’s track,
And said to dark Elisha’s Lord, ‘Thou art.’
But one whose soul had put the raiment on
Of love that Jesus left with James and John
Withstood that Lord whose seals of love were lies,
Seeing what we see how, touched by Truth’s bright rod,
The fiend whom Jews and Africans called God
Feels his own hell take hold on him, and dies.


II.
The world has no such flower in any land,
And no such pearl in any gulf the sea,
As any babe on any mother’s knee.
But all things blessed of men by saints are banned:
God gives them grace to read and understand
The palimpsest of evil, writ where we,
Poor fools and lovers but of love, can see
Nought save a blessing signed by Love’s own hand.
The smile that opens heaven on us for them
Hath sin’s transmitted birthmark hid therein:
The kiss it craves calls down from heaven a rod.
If innocence be sin that Gods condemn,
Praise we the men who so being born in sin
First dared the doom and broke the bonds of God.


III.
Man’s heel is on the Almighty’s neck who said,
Let there be hell, and there was hell on earth.
But not for that may men forget their worth
Nay, but much more remember them who led
The living first from dwellings of the dead,
And rent the cerecloths that were wont to engirth
Souls wrapped and swathed and swaddled from their birth
With lies that bound them fast from heel to head.
Among the tombs when wise men all their lives
Dwelt, and cried out, and cut themselves with knives,
These men, being foolish, and of saints abhorred,
Beheld in heaven the sun by saints reviled,
Love, and on earth one everlasting Lord
In every likeness of a little child.

Algernon Charles Swinburne

On Lamb’s Specimens of Dramatic Poets – Sonnets


I.


If all the flowers of all the fields on earth
By wonder-working summer were made one,
Its fragrance were not sweeter in the sun,
Its treasure-house of leaves were not more worth
Than those wherefrom thy light of musing mirth
Shone, till each leaf whereon thy pen would run
Breathed life, and all its breath was benison.
Beloved beyond all names of English birth,
More dear than mightier memories; gentlest name
That ever clothed itself with flower-sweet fame,
Or linked itself with loftiest names of old
By right and might of loving; I, that am
Less than the least of those within thy fold,
Give only thanks for them to thee, Charles Lamb.


II.

So many a year had borne its own bright bees
And slain them since thy honey-bees were hived,
John Day, in cells of flower-sweet verse contrived
So well with craft of moulding melodies,
Thy soul perchance in amaranth fields at ease
Thought not to hear the sound on earth revived
Of summer music from the spring derived
When thy song sucked the flower of flowering trees
But thine was not the chance of every day:
Time, after many a darkling hour, grew sunny,
And light between the clouds ere sunset swam,
Laughing, and kissed their darkness all away,
When, touched and tasted and approved, thy honey
Took subtler sweetness from the lips of Lamb.

Algernon Charles Swinburne

At a Dog’s Grave


I
Good night, we say, when comes the time to win
The daily death divine that shuts up sight,
Sleep, that assures for all who dwell therein
Good night.
The shadow shed round those we love shines bright
As love’s own face, when death, sleep’s gentler twin,
From them divides us even as night from light.
Shall friends born lower in life, though pure of sin,
Though clothed with love and faith to usward plight,
Perish and pass unbidden of us, their kin,
Good night?


II
To die a dog’s death once was held for shame.
Not all men so beloved and mourned shall lie
As many of these, whose time untimely came
To die.
His years were full: his years were joyous: why
Must love be sorrow, when his gracious name
Recalls his lovely life of limb and eye?
If aught of blameless life on earth may claim
Life higher than death, though death’s dark wave rise high,
Such life as this among us never came
To die.


III
White violets, there by hands more sweet than they
Planted, shall sweeten April’s flowerful air
About a grave that shows to night and day
White violets there.
A child’s light hands, whose touch makes flowers more fair,
Keep fair as these for many a March and May
The light of days that are because they were.
It shall not like a blossom pass away;
It broods and brightens with the days that bear
Fresh fruits of love, but leave, as love might pray,
White violets there.

Algernon Charles Swinburne

A Word with the Wind


Lord of days and nights that hear thy word of wintry warning,
Wind, whose feet are set on ways that none may tread,
Change the nest wherein thy wings are fledged for flight by morning,
Change the harbour whence at dawn thy sails are spread.
Not the dawn, ere yet the imprisoning night has half released her,
More desires the sun’s full face of cheer, than we,
Well as yet we love the strength of the iron-tongued north-easter,
Yearn for wind to meet us as we front the sea.
All thy ways are good, O wind, and all the world should fester,
Were thy fourfold godhead quenched, or stilled thy strife:
Yet the waves and we desire too long the deep south-wester,
Whence the waters quicken shoreward, clothed with life.
Yet the field not made for ploughing save of keels nor harrowing
Save of storm-winds lies unbrightened by thy breath:
Banded broad with ruddy samphire glow the sea-banks narrowing
Westward, while the sea gleams chill and still as death.
Sharp and strange from inland sounds thy bitter note of battle,
Blown between grim skies and waters sullen-souled,
Till the baffled seas bear back, rocks roar and shingles rattle,
Vexed and angered and anhungered and acold.
Change thy note, and give the waves their will, and all the measure,
Full and perfect, of the music of their might,
Let it fill the bays with thunderous notes and throbs of pleasure,
Shake the shores with passion, sound at once and smite.
Sweet are even the mild low notes of wind and sea, but sweeter
Sounds the song whose choral wrath of raging rhyme
Bids the shelving shoals keep tune with storm’s imperious metre,
Bids the rocks and reefs respond in rapturous chime.
Sweet the lisp and lulling whisper and luxurious laughter,
Soft as love or sleep, of waves whereon the sun
Dreams, and dreams not of the darkling hours before nor after,
Winged with cloud whose wrath shall bid love’s day be done.
Yet shall darkness bring the awakening sea a lordlier lover,
Clothed with strength more amorous and more strenuous will,
Whence her heart of hearts shall kindle and her soul recover
Sense of love too keen to lie for love’s sake still.
Let thy strong south-western music sound, and bid the billows
Brighten, proud and glad to feel thy scourge and kiss
Sting and soothe and sway them, bowed as aspens bend or willows,
Yet resurgent still in breathless rage of bliss.
All to-day the slow sleek ripples hardly bear up shoreward,
Charged with sighs more light than laughter, faint and fair,
Like a woodland lake’s weak wavelets lightly lingering forward,
Soft and listless as the slumber-stricken air.
Be the sunshine bared or veiled, the sky superb or shrouded,
Still the waters, lax and languid, chafed and foiled,
Keen and thwarted, pale and patient, clothed with fire or clouded,
Vex their heart in vain, or sleep like serpents coiled.
Thee they look for, blind and baffled, wan with wrath and weary,
Blown for ever back by winds that rock the bird:
Winds that seamews breast subdue the sea, and bid the dreary
Waves be weak as hearts made sick with hope deferred.
Let thy clarion sound from westward, let the south bear token
How the glories of thy godhead sound and shine:
Bid the land rejoice to see the land-wind’s broad wings broken,
Bid the sea take comfort, bid the world be thine.
Half the world abhors thee beating back the sea, and blackening
Heaven with fierce and woful change of fluctuant form:
All the world acclaims thee shifting sail again, and slackening
Cloud by cloud the close-reefed cordage of the storm.
Sweeter fields and brighter woods and lordlier hills than waken
Here at sunrise never hailed the sun and thee:
Turn thee then, and give them comfort, shed like rain and shaken
Far as foam that laughs and leaps along the sea.

Algernon Charles Swinburne

Anactoria


My life is bitter with thy love; thine eyes
Blind me, thy tresses burn me, thy sharp sighs
Divide my flesh and spirit with soft sound,
And my blood strengthens, and my veins abound.
I pray thee sigh not, speak not, draw not breath;
Let life burn down, and dream it is not death.
I would the sea had hidden us, the fire
(Wilt thou fear that, and fear not my desire?)
Severed the bones that bleach, the flesh that cleaves,
And let our sifted ashes drop like leaves.
I feel thy blood against my blood: my pain
Pains thee, and lips bruise lips, and vein stings vein.
Let fruit be crushed on fruit, let flower on flower,
Breast kindle breast, and either burn one hour.
Why wilt thou follow lesser loves? are thine
Too weak to bear these hands and lips of mine?
I charge thee for my life’s sake, O too sweet
To crush love with thy cruel faultless feet,
I charge thee keep thy lips from hers or his,
Sweetest, till theirs be sweeter than my kiss:
Lest I too lure, a swallow for a dove,
Erotion or Erinna to my love.
I would my love could kill thee; I am satiated
With seeing thee live, and fain would have thee dead.
I would earth had thy body as fruit to eat,
And no mouth but some serpent’s found thee sweet.
I would find grievous ways to have thee slain,
Intense device, and superflux of pain;
Vex thee with amorous agonies, and shake
Life at thy lips, and leave it there to ache;
Strain out thy soul with pangs too soft to kill,
Intolerable interludes, and infinite ill;
Relapse and reluctation of the breath,
Dumb tunes and shuddering semitones of death.
I am weary of all thy words and soft strange ways,
Of all love’s fiery nights and all his days,
And all the broken kisses salt as brine
That shuddering lips make moist with waterish wine,
And eyes the bluer for all those hidden hours
That pleasure fills with tears and feeds from flowers,
Fierce at the heart with fire that half comes through,
But all the flower-like white stained round with blue;
The fervent underlid, and that above
Lifted with laughter or abashed with love;
Thine amorous girdle, full of thee and fair,
And leavings of the lilies in thine hair.
Yea, all sweet words of thine and all thy ways,
And all the fruit of nights and flower of days,
And stinging lips wherein the hot sweet brine
That Love was born of burns and foams like wine,
And eyes insatiable of amorous hours,
Fervent as fire and delicate as flowers,
Coloured like night at heart, but cloven through
Like night with flame, dyed round like night with blue,
Clothed with deep eyelids under and above,
Yea, all thy beauty sickens me with love;
Thy girdle empty of thee and now not fair,
And ruinous lilies in thy languid hair.
Ah, take no thought for Love’s sake; shall this be,
And she who loves thy lover not love thee?
Sweet soul, sweet mouth of all that laughs and lives,
Mine is she, very mine; and she forgives.
For I beheld in sleep the light that is
In her high place in Paphos, heard the kiss
Of body and soul that mix with eager tears
And laughter stinging through the eyes and ears;
Saw Love, as burning flame from crown to feet,
Imperishable, upon her storied seat;
Clear eyelids lifted toward the north and south,
A mind of many colours, and a mouth
Of many tunes and kisses; and she bowed,
With all her subtle face laughing aloud,
Bowed down upon me, saying, ‘Who doth thee wrong,
Sappho?’ but thou, thy body is the song,
Thy mouth the music; thou art more than I,
Though my voice die not till the whole world die;
Though men that hear it madden; though love weep,
Though nature change, though shame be charmed to sleep.
Ah, wilt thou slay me lest I kiss thee dead?
Yet the queen laughed from her sweet heart and said:
‘Even she that flies shall follow for thy sake,
And she shall give thee gifts that would not take,
Shall kiss that would not kiss thee’ (yea, kiss me)
‘When thou wouldst no’ when I would not kiss thee!
Ah, more to me than all men as thou art,
Shall not my songs assuage her at the heart?
Ah, sweet to me as life seems sweet to death,
Why should her wrath fill thee with fearful breath?
Nay, sweet, for is she God alone? hath she
Made earth and all the centuries of the sea,
Taught the sun ways to travel, woven most fine
The moonbeams, shed the starbeams forth as wine,
Bound with her myrtles, beaten with her rods,
The young men and the maidens and the gods?
Have we not lips to love with, eyes for tears,
And summer and flower of women and of years?
Stars for the foot of morning, and for noon
Sunlight, and exaltation of the moon;
Waters that answer waters, fields that wear
Lilies, and languor of the Lesbian air?
Beyond those flying feet of fluttered doves,
Are there not other gods for other loves?
Yea, though she scourge thee, sweetest, for my sake,
Blossom not thorns and flowers not blood should break.
Ah that my lips were tuneless lips, but pressed
To the bruised blossom of thy scourged white breast!
Ah that my mouth for Muses’ milk were fed
On the sweet blood thy sweet small wounds had bled!
That with my tongue I felt them, and could taste
The faint flakes from thy bosom to the waist!
That I could drink thy veins as wine, and eat
Thy breasts like honey! that from face to feet
Thy body were abolished and consumed,
And in my flesh thy very flesh entombed!
Ah, ah, thy beauty! like a beast it bites,
Stings like an adder, like an arrow smites.
Ah sweet, and sweet again, and seven times sweet,
The paces and the pauses of thy feet!
Ah sweeter than all sleep or summer air
The fallen fillets fragrant from thine hair!
Yea, though their alien kisses do me wrong,
Sweeter thy lips than mine with all their song;
Thy shoulders whiter than a fleece of white,
And flower-sweet fingers, good to bruise or bite
As honeycomb of the inmost honey-cells,
With almond-shaped and roseleaf-coloured shells
And blood like purple blossom at the tips
Quivering; and pain made perfect in thy lips
For my sake when I hurt thee; O that I
Durst crush thee out of life with love, and die,
Die of thy pain and my delight, and be
Mixed with thy blood and molten into thee!
Would I not plague thee dying overmuch?
Would I not hurt thee perfectly? not touch
Thy pores of sense with torture, and make bright
Thine eyes with bloodlike tears and grievous light?
Strike pang from pang as note is struck from note,
Catch the sob’s middle music in thy throat,
Take thy limbs living, and new-mould with these
A lyre of many faultless agonies?
Feed thee with fever and famine and fine drouth,
With perfect pangs convulse thy perfect mouth,
Make thy life shudder in thee and burn afresh,
And wring thy very spirit through the flesh?
Cruel? but love makes all that love him well
As wise as heaven and crueller than hell.
Me hath love made more bitter toward thee
Than death toward man; but were I made as he
Who hath made all things to break them one by one,
If my feet trod upon the stars and sun
And souls of men as his have alway trod,
God knows I might be crueller than God.
For who shall change with prayers or thanksgivings
The mystery of the cruelty of things?
Or say what God above all gods and years
With offering and blood-sacrifice of tears,
With lamentation from strange lands, from graves
Where the snake pastures, from scarred mouths of slaves,
From prison, and from plunging prows of ships
Through flamelike foam of the sea’s closing lips
With thwartings of strange signs, and wind-blown hair
Of comets, desolating the dim air,
When darkness is made fast with seals and bars,
And fierce reluctance of disastrous stars,
Eclipse, and sound of shaken hills, and wings
Darkening, and blind inexpiable things
With sorrow of labouring moons, and altering light
And travail of the planets of the night,
And weeping of the weary Pleiads seven,
Feeds the mute melancholy lust of heaven?
Is not his incense bitterness, his meat
Murder? his hidden face and iron feet
Hath not man known, and felt them on their way
Threaten and trample all things and every day?
Hath he not sent us hunger? who hath cursed
Spirit and flesh with longing? filled with thirst
Their lips who cried unto him? who bade exceed
The fervid will, fall short the feeble deed,
Bade sink the spirit and the flesh aspire,
Pain animate the dust of dead desire,
And life yield up her flower to violent fate?
Him would I reach, him smite, him desecrate,
Pierce the cold lips of God with human breath,
And mix his immortality with death.
Why hath he made us? what had all we done
That we should live and loathe the sterile sun,
And with the moon wax paler as she wanes,
And pulse by pulse feel time grow through our veins?
Thee too the years shall cover; thou shalt be
As the rose born of one same blood with thee,
As a song sung, as a word said, and fall
Flower-wise, and be not any more at all,
Nor any memory of thee anywhere;
For never Muse has bound above thine hair
The high Pierian flower whose graft outgrows
All summer kinship of the mortal rose
And colour of deciduous days, nor shed
Reflex and flush of heaven about thine head,
Nor reddened brows made pale by floral grief
With splendid shadow from that lordlier leaf.
Yea, thou shalt be forgotten like spilt wine,
Except these kisses of my lips on thine
Brand them with immortality; but me
Men shall not see bright fire nor hear the sea,
Nor mix their hearts with music, nor behold
Cast forth of heaven with feet of awful gold
And plumeless wings that make the bright air blind,
Lightning, with thunder for a hound behind
Hunting through fields unfurrowed and unsown
But in the light and laughter, in the moan
And music, and in grasp of lip and hand
And shudder of water that makes felt on land
The immeasurable tremor of all the sea,
Memories shall mix and metaphors of me.
Like me shall be the shuddering calm of night,
When all the winds of the world for pure delight
Close lips that quiver and fold up wings that ache;
When nightingales are louder for love’s sake,
And leaves tremble like lute-strings or like fire;
Like me the one star swooning with desire
Even at the cold lips of the sleepless moon,
As I at thine; like me the waste white noon,
Burnt through with barren sunlight; and like me
The land-stream and the tide-stream in the sea.
I am sick with time as these with ebb and flow,
And by the yearning in my veins I know
The yearning sound of waters; and mine eyes
Burn as that beamless fire which fills the skies
With troubled stars and travailing things of flame;
And in my heart the grief consuming them
Labours, and in my veins the thirst of these,
And all the summer travail of the trees
And all the winter sickness; and the earth,
Filled full with deadly works of death and birth,
Sore spent with hungry lusts of birth and death,
Has pain like mine in her divided breath;
Her spring of leaves is barren, and her fruit
Ashes; her boughs are burdened, and her root
Fibrous and gnarled with poison; underneath
Serpents have gnawn it through with tortuous teeth
Made sharp upon the bones of all the dead,
And wild birds rend her branches overhead.
These, woven as raiment for his word and thought,
These hath God made, and me as these, and wrought
Song, and hath lit it at my lips; and me
Earth shall not gather though she feed on thee.
As a shed tear shalt thou be shed; but I
Lo, earth may labour, men live long and die,
Years change and stars, and the high God devise
New things, and old things wane before his eyes
Who wields and wrecks them, being more strong than they
But, having made me, me he shall not slay.
Nor slay nor satiate, like those herds of his
Who laugh and live a little, and their kiss
Contents them, and their loves are swift and sweet,
And sure death grasps and gains them with slow feet,
Love they or hate they, strive or bow their knees
And all these end; he hath his will of these.
Yea, but albeit he slay me, hating me
Albeit he hide me in the deep dear sea
And cover me with cool wan foam, and ease
This soul of mine as any soul of these,
And give me water and great sweet waves, and make
The very sea’s name lordlier for my sake,
The whole sea sweeter, albeit I die indeed
And hide myself and sleep and no man heed,
Of me the high God hath not all his will.
Blossom of branches, and on each high hill
Clear air and wind, and under in clamorous vales
Fierce noises of the fiery nightingales,
Buds burning in the sudden spring like fire,
The wan washed sand and the waves’ vain desire,
Sails seen like blown white flowers at sea, and words
That bring tears swiftest, and long notes of birds
Violently singing till the whole world sings
I Sappho shall be one with all these things,
With all high things for ever; and my face
Seen once, my songs once heard in a strange place,
Cleave to men’s lives, and waste the days thereof
With gladness and much sadness and long love.
Yea, they shall say, earth’s womb has borne in vain
New things, and never this best thing again;
Borne days and men, borne fruits and wars and wine,
Seasons and songs, but no song more like mine.
And they shall know me as ye who have known me here,
Last year when I loved Atthis, and this year
When I love thee; and they shall praise me, and say
‘She hath all time as all we have our day,
Shall she not live and have her will’, even I?
Yea, though thou diest, I say I shall not die.
For these shall give me of their souls, shall give
Life, and the days and loves wherewith I live,
Shall quicken me with loving, fill with breath,
Save me and serve me, strive for me with death.
Alas, that neither moon nor snow nor dew
Nor all cold things can purge me wholly through,
Assuage me nor allay me nor appease,
Till supreme sleep shall bring me bloodless ease;
Till time wax faint in all his periods;
Till fate undo the bondage of the gods,
And lay, to slake and satiate me all through,
Lotus and Lethe on my lips like dew,
And shed around and over and under me
Thick darkness and the insuperable sea.

Algernon Charles Swinburne

Autumn and Winter


I.


Three months bade wane and wax the wintering moon
Between two dates of death, while men were fain
Yet of the living light that all too soon
Three months bade wane.

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.


First went my friend, in life’s mid light of noon,
Who loved the lord of music: then the strain
Whence earth was kindled like as heaven in June
Three months bade wane.


II.


A herald soul before its master’s flying
Touched by some few moons first the darkling goal
Where shades rose up to greet the shade, espying
A herald soul;


Shades of dead lords of music, who control
Men living by the might of men undying,
With strength of strains that make delight of dole.


The deep dense dust on death’s dim threshold lying
Trembled with sense of kindling sound that stole
Through darkness, and the night gave ear, descrying
A herald soul.

III.


One went before, one after, but so fast
They seem gone hence together, from the shore
Whence we now gaze: yet ere the mightier passed
One went before;


One whose whole heart of love, being set of yore
On that high joy which music lends us, cast
Light round him forth of music’s radiant store.


Then went, while earth on winter glared aghast,
The mortal god he worshipped, through the door
Wherethrough so late, his lover to the last,
One went before.


IV.


A star had set an hour before the sun
Sank from the skies wherethrough his heart’s pulse yet
Thrills audibly: but few took heed, or none,
A star had set.


All heaven rings back, sonorous with regret,
The deep dirge of the sunset: how should one
Soft star be missed in all the concourse met?


But, O sweet single heart whose work is done,
Whose songs are silent, how should I forget
That ere the sunset’s fiery goal was won
A star had set?

Algernon Charles Swinburne

All of these poems are classics! Compared to other poetry collections, Algernon Charles Swinburne wrote about many taboo topics. He is more on writing lengthy poems.

Honestly, I was already expecting that―A Baby’s Death is on the top. It’s unique and compelling yet so sad at the same time. 

What about you? What’s your most favorite poem of Algernon Charles Swinburne?

Is your favorite poem included in this list? Let me know in the comment section below! 😉

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