English poet, playwright, novelist, and critic
Algernon Charles Swinburne (5 April 1837 – 10 April 1909) was an English poet, playwright, novelist, and critic. He wrote several novels and collections of poetry such as Poems and Ballads, and contributed to the famous Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica.
Swinburne wrote about many taboo topics, such as lesbianism, cannibalism, sado-masochism, and anti-theism. His poems have many common motifs, such as the ocean, time, and death. Several historical people are featured in his poems, such as Sappho ("Sapphics"), Anactoria ("Anactoria"), and Catullus ("To Catullus").
Wherever there is a grain of loyalty there is a glimpse of freedom.
But now, you are twain, you are cloven apart Flesh of his flesh, but heart of my heart.
We, drinking love at the furthest springs, Covered with love as a covering tree, We had grown as gods, as the gods above, Filled from the heart to the lips with love, Held fast in his hands, clothed warm with his wings, O love, my love, had you loved but me!
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.
In friendship's fragrant garden, There are flowers of every hue. Each with its own fair beauty And its gift of joy for you. Friendship's Garden If love were what the rose is, And I were like the leaf, Our lives would grow together In sad or singing weather.
Before the beginning of years There came to the making of man Time with a gift of tears, Grief with a glass that ran, Pleasure with pain for leaven, Summer with flowers that fell, Remembrance fallen from heaven, And Madness risen from hell, Strength without hands to smite, Love that endures for a breath; Night, the shadow of light, And Life, the shadow of death.
Love, till dawn sunder night from day with fire Dividing my delight and my desire.
For whom all winds are quiet as the sun,/ All waters as the shore.
As a god self-slain on his own strange altar, Death lies dead.
There was a poor poet named Clough, Whom his friends all united to puff, But the public, though dull, Had not such a skull As belonged to believers in Clough.
God's own hand Holds fast all issues of our deeds: with him The end of all our ends is, but with us Our ends are, just or unjust: though our works Find righteous or unrighteous judgment, this At least is ours, to make them righteous.
Change lays not her hand upon truth.
When the hounds of Spring are on winter's traces, The mother of months in meadow or plain Fills the shadows and windy places With lisp of leaves and ripple of rain.
We are not sure of sorrow, And joy was never sure; Today will die tomorrow; Time stoops to no man's lure.
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.
Sleep; and if life was bitter to thee, pardon, If sweet, give thanks; thou hast no more to live; And to give thanks is good, and to forgive.
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.
To wipe off the froth of falsehood from the foaming lips of inebriated virtue, when fresh from the sexless orgies of morality and reeling from the delirious riot of religion, may doubtless be a charitable office.
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.
At the door of life by the gate of breath, There are worse things waiting for men than death.
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.
She knows not loves that kissed her She knows not where. Art thou the ghost, my sister, White sister there, Am I the ghost, who knows? My hand, a fallen rose, Lies snow-white on white snows, and takes no care.
There lived a singer in France of old By the tideless dolorous midland sea. In a land of sand and rain and gold There shone one woman, and none but she.
Thou hast conquered, O pale Galilean; the world has grown grey from thy breath;/ We have drunken of things Lethean, and fed on the fullness of death
Though one were fair as roses His beauty clouds and closes.
Who knows but on their sleep may rise Such light as never heaven let through To lighten earth from Paradise?
Our way is where God knows And Love knows where: We are in Love's hand to-day.
The more congenial page of some tenth-rate poeticule worn out with failure after failure and now squat in his hole like the tailless fox, he is curled up to snarl and whimper beneath the inaccessible vine of song.
A young man with a very good past. [Fr., Un jeune homme d'un bien beau passe.]
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.
Is not Precedent indeed a King of men? A Word from the Psalmist.
Wan February with weeping cheer, Whose cold hand guides the youngling year Down misty roads of mire and rime, Before thy pale and fitful face The shrill wind shifts the clouds apace Through skies the morning scarce may climb. Thine eyes are thick with heavy tears, But lit with hopes that light the year's.
While three men hold together, the kingdoms are less by three.
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.
For winter's rains and ruins are over... And in Green under wood and cover Blossum by blossom the spring begins.
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.
Doubt is faith in the main: but faith, on the whole, is doubt; We cannot believe by proof: but could we believe without?
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.
Sorrow, on wing through the world for ever, Here and there for awhile would borrow Rest, if rest might haply deliver Sorrow.
Not with dreams, but with blood and with iron, Shall a nation be moulded at last.
Stately, kindly, lordly friend Condescend Here to sit by me.
Then star nor sun shall waken, Nor any change of light: Nor sound of waters shaken, Nor any sound or sight: Nor wintry leaves nor vernal; Nor days nor things diurnal; Only the sleep eternal In an eternal night.
I will go back to the great sweet mother, Mother and lover of men, the sea. I will go down to her, I and no other, Close with her, kiss her and mix her with me.
The loves and hours of the life of a man, They are swift and sad, being born of the sea.
And lo, between the sundawn and the sun His day's work and his night's work are undone: And lo, between the nightfall and the light, He is not, and none knoweth of such an one.
Before the beginning of years There came to the making of man Time with a gift of tears, Grief with a glass that ran .
The sun is all about the world we see, the breath and strength of every spring.
I shall sleep, and move with the moving ships, Change as the winds change, veer in the tide.
Fruits fail and love dies and time ranges;Thou art fed with perpetual breath, and alive after infinite changes,And fresh from the kisses of death,Of langours rekindled and rallied, Of barren delights and unclean,Things monstrous and fruitless, a pallidAnd poisonous queen.
Love laid his sleepless head On a thorny rose bed: And his eyes with tears were red, And pale his lips as the dead.
Life is the lust of a lamp for the light that is dark till the dawn of the day that we die.
The beast faith lives on its own dung.
Hope thou not much, and fear thou not at all.
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.
Forget that I remember And dream that I forget.
For words divide and rend But silence is most noble till the end.
The highest spiritual quality, the noblest property of mind a man can have, is this of loyalty.
Time turns the old days to derision, Our loves into corpses or wives.
The highest spiritual quality, the noblest property of mind a man can have, is this of loyalty ... a man with no loyalty in him, with no sense of love or reverence or devotion due to something outside and above his poor daily life, with its pains and pleasures, profits and losses, is as evil a case as man can be.
The tadpole poet will never grow into anything bigger than a frog.
There grows No herb of help to heal a coward heart.
I dore not always touch her, lest the kiss Leave my lips charred. Yea, Lord, a little bliss, Brief, bitter bliss, one hath for a great sin; Nathless thou knowest how sweet a thing it is.
Yet leave me not; yet, if thou wilt, be free; love me no more, but love my love of thee.
My loss may shine yet goodlier than your gain When Time and God give judgment.
On the mountains of memory by the world's wellsprings, in all man's eyes, where the light of life of him is on all past things, death only dies.
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.
The tadpole poet will never grow into anything bigger than a frog; not though in that stage of development he should puff and blow himself till he bursts with windy adulation at the heels of the laureled ox.
If love were what the rose is, And I were like the leaf, Our lives would grow together In sad or singing weather.
Change lays her hand not upon the truth.
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.
Despair the twin-born of devotion.
Thou has conquered, O pale Galilean.
Faith speaks when hope is disassembled; faith lives when hope dies dead.
Where might is, the right is: Long purses make strong swords. Let weakness learn meekness: God save the House of Lords!
For the crown of our life as it closes Is darkness, the fruit thereof dust; No thorns go as deep as a rose's, And love is more cruel than lust. Time turns the old days to derision, Our loves into corpses or wives; And marriage and death and division Make barren our lives.