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MR. SWINBURNE'S WORKS.

MR. SWINBURNE'S COLLECTED POEMS. In 6 vols. crown 8vo. 361. net.

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London: CHATTO & WINDUS, in St. Martin's Lane. W.C



THE POEMS



ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE



IN SIX VOLUMES



VOLUME VI

A MIDSUMMER HOLIDAY

ASTROPHEL
A CHANNEL PASSAGE

AND OTHER POEMS



LONDON

CHATTO & WINDUS
1911



Fourth Impression



Copyright, 1904, by HARPER & BROTHERS, for the
United States of America



n\\

v'.b
CONTENTS



A MIDSUMMER HOLIDAY

AND OTHER POEMS

PAGE

A MIDSUMMER HOLIDAY :

I. THE SEABOARD .... 5

II. A HAVEN . . 7

III. ON A COUNTRY ROAD 9

IV. THE MILL GARDEN n

V. A SEA-MARK ....... 14

VI. THE CLIFFSIDE PATH 16

VII. IN THE WATER 18

VIII. THE SUNBOWS 21

IX. ON THE VERGE 23

A NEW-YEAR ODE 27

LINES ON THE MONUMENT OF GIUSEPPE MAZZINI . . 45

LES CASQUETS 47

A BALLAD OF SARK 55

NINE YEARS OLD .57

AFTER A READING 61

MAYTIME IN MIDWINTER 64

A DOUBLE BALLAD OF AUGUST 67

HEARTSEASE COUNTRY 69

A BALLAD OF APPEAL ..,..,. 71

CRADLE SONGS , , 73

PELAGIUS .......... 77

Louis BLANC 79



vi CONTENTS

PAGE

Vos DECS LAUDAMUS 81

ON THE BICENTENARY OF CORNEILLE . . . . 83

IN SEPULCRETIS 85

LOVE AND SCORN 88

ON THE DEATH OF RICHARD DOYLE .... 90

IN MEMORY OF HENRY A. BRIGHT . . . . . 91

A SOLITUDE 92

VICTOR HUGO: L'ARCHIPEL DE LA MANCHE . . . 93

THE TWILIGHT OF THE LORDS 94

CLEAR THE WAY !........ 97

A WORD FOR THE COUNTRY 99

A WORD FOR THE NATION 105

A WORD FROM THE PSALMIST no

A BALLAD AT PARTING . . . . . . 115

ASTROPHEL
AND OTHER POEMS

ASTROPHEL 121

A NYMPHOLEPT 127

ON THE SOUTH COAST 141

AN AUTUMN VISION 149

A SWIMMER'S DREAM 159

GRACE DARLING 164

LOCH TORRIDON 171

THE PALACE OF PAN 178

A YEAR'S CAROLS 181

ENGLAND: AN ODE 186

ETON : AN ODE 191

THE UNION 194

EAST TO WEST 196

INSCRIPTIONS FOR THE FOUR SIDES OF A PEDESTAL . 197

ON THE DEATH OF RICHARD BURTON . . . . 199

ELEGY 202



CONTENTS vii

PAGE

A SEQUENCE OF SONNETS ON THE DEATH OF ROBERT

BROWNING 208

SUNSET AND MOONRISE 212

BIRTHDAY ODE 214

THRENODY 217

THE BALLAD OF MELICERTES 220

AU TOMBEAU DE BANVILLE 222

LIGHT : AN EPICEDE 223

THRENODY 225

A DIRGE 227

A REMINISCENCE 229

VIA DOLOROSA 230

I. TRANSFIGURATION 231

II. DELIVERANCE 232

III. THANKSGIVING ........ 233

IV. LIBITINA VERTICORDIA 234

V. THE ORDER OF RELEASE 235

VI. PSYCHAGOGOS 236

VII. THE LAST WORD 237

IN MEMORY OF AURELIO SAFFI 238

THE FESTIVAL OF BEATRICE 242

THE MONUMENT OF GIOMJANO BRUNO . . . . 243

LIFE IN DEATH 245

EPICEDE 246

MEMORIAL VERSES ON THE DEATH OF WILLIAM BELL

SCOTT 249

AN OLD SAYING 253

A Moss-RosE 254

To A CAT 255

HAWTHORN DYKE 258

THE BROTHERS 259

JACOBITE SONG 263

THE BALLAD OF DEAD MEN'S BAY 266

DEDICATION 271



viii CONTENTS



A CHANNEL PASSAGE

AND OTHER POEMS

PAGE

A CHANNEL PASSAGE 279

THE LAKE OF GAUBE 284

THE PROMISE OF THE HAWTHORN 288

HAWTHORN TIDE 289

THE PASSING OF THE HAWTHORN 296

To A BABY KINSWOMAN 297

THE ALTAR OF RIGHTEOUSNESS 301

A NEW YEAR'S EVE 321

IN A ROSARY 324

THE HIGH OAKS 326

BARKING HALL: A YEAR AFTER 331

Music : AN ODE 334

THE CENTENARY OF THE BATTLE OF THE NILE . . 336

TRAFALGAR DAY 338

CROMWELL'S STATUE 340

A WORD FOR THE NAVY 342

NORTHUMBERLAND 346

STRATFORD-ON-AVON 349

BURNS : AN ODE 350

THE COMMONWEAL: A SONG FOR UNIONISTS . . . 355

THE QUESTION 359

APOSTASY 363

RUSSIA : AN ODE 366

FOR GREECE AND CRETE 370

DELPHIC HYMN TO APOLLO 372

A NEW CENTURY 374

AN EVENING AT VICHY 375

To GEORGE FREDERICK WATTS 378

ON THE DEATH OF MRS. LYNN LINTON . . . . 379

IN MEMORY OF AURELIO SAFFI ..... 382

CARNOT 383



CONTENTS ix

PAGE

AFTER THE VERDICT 384

THE TRANSVAAL 385

REVERSE 386

THE TURNING OF THE TIDE 387

ON THE DEATH OF COLONEL BENSON .... 388

ASTR/EA VICTRIX 389

THE FIRST OF JUNE 393

A ROUNDEL FROM VILLON 395

A ROUNDEL OF RABELAIS 396

LUCIFER 397

THE CENTENARY OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS . . . 398

AT A DOG'S GRAVE 400

THREE WEEKS OLD 402

A CLASP OF HANDS 403

PROLOGUE TO DOCTOR FAUSTUS 405

PROLOGUE TO ARDEN OF FEVERSHAM 407

PROLOGUE TO OLD FORTUNATUS 409

PROLOGUE TO THE DUCHESS OF MALFY . . . . 411

PROLOGUE TO THE REVENGER'S TRAGEDY . . . 413

PROLOGUE TO THE BROKEN HEART 415

PROLOGUE TO A VERY WOMAN . . , . .417

PROLOGUE TO THE SPANISH GIPSY 419

PROLOGUE TO THE Two NOBLE KINSMEN . . .421

THE AFTERGLOW OF SHAKESPEARE 423

CLEOPATRA 427

DEDICATION . 435



MIDSUMMER HOLIDAY



AND OTHER POEMS



VOL. VI.



A MIDSUMMER HOLIDAY

To THEODORE WATTS



B2



1

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.



6 A MIDSUMMER HOLIDAY

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.



A MIDSUMMER HOLIDAY



II
A HAVEN



EAST and north a waste of waters, south and west
Lonelier lands than dreams in sleep would feign

to be,

When the soul goes forth on travel, and is prest
Round and compassed in with clouds that flash and

flee.

Dells without a streamlet, downs without a tree,
Cirques of hollow cliff that crumble, give their guest
Little hope, till hard at hand he pause, to see
Where the small town smiles, a warm still sea-side

nest.

Many a lone long mile, by many a headland's crest,
Down by many a garden dear to bird and bee,
Up by many a sea-down's bare and breezy breast,
Winds the sandy strait of road where flowers run

free.

Here along the deep steep lanes by field and lea
Knights have carolled, pilgrims chanted, on their

quest,

Haply, ere a roof rose toward the bleak strand's lee,
Where the small town smiles, a warm still sea-side

nest.



8 A MIDSUMMER HOLIDAY

Are the wild lands cursed perchance of time, or blest,
Sad with fear or glad with comfort of the sea?
Are the ruinous towers of churches fallen on rest
Watched of wanderers woful now, glad once as we,
When the night has all men's eyes and hearts in fee,
When the soul bows down dethroned and dispossest ?
Yet must peace keep guard, by day's and night's

decree,
Where the small town smiles, a warm still sea-side

nest.

Friend, the lonely land is bright for you and me
All its wild ways through : but this methinks is best,
Here to watch how kindly time and change agree
Where the small town smiles, a warm still sea-side
nest.



A MIDSUMMER HOLIDAY



III
ON A COUNTRY ROAD

ALONG these low pleached lanes, on such a day,

So soft a day as this, through shade and sun,

With glad grave eyes that scanned the glad wild

way,

And heart still hovering o'er a song begun,
And smile that warmed the world with benison,
Our father, lord long since of lordly rhyme,
Long since hath haply ridden, when the lime
Bloomed broad above him, flowering where he came.
Because thy passage once made warm this clime,
Our father Chaucer, here we praise thy name.

Each year that England clothes herself with May,
She takes thy likeness on her. Time hath spun
Fresh raiment all in vain and strange array
For earth and man's new spirit, fain to shun
Things past for dreams of better to be won,
Through many a century since thy funeral chime
Rang, and men deemed it death's most direful crime
To have spared not thee for very love or shame ;
And yet, while mists round last year's memories

climb,
Our father Chaucer, here we praise thy name.



io A MIDSUMMER HOLIDAY

Each turn of the old wild road whereon we stray,
Meseems, might bring us face to face with one
Whom seeing we could not but give thanks, and pray
For England's love our father and her son
To speak with us as once in days long done
With all men, sage and churl and monk and mime,
Who knew not as we know the soul sublime
That sang for song's love more than lust of fame.
Yet, though this be not, yet, in happy time,
Our father Chaucer, here we praise thy name.

Friend, even as bees about the flowering thyme,
Years crowd on years, till hoar decay begrime
Names once beloved ; but, seeing the sun the same,
As birds of autumn fain to praise the prime,
Our father Chaucer, here we praise thy name.



A MIDSUMMER HOLIDAY n



IV
THE MILL GARDEN

STATELY stand the sunflowers, glowing down the

garden-side,
Ranged in royal rank arow along the warm grey

wall,
Whence their deep disks burn at rich midnoon afire

with pride,
Even as though their beams indeed were sunbeams,

and the tall
Sceptral stems bore stars whose reign endures, not

flowers that fall.
Lowlier laughs and basks the kindlier flower of

homelier fame,

Held by love the sweeter that it blooms in Shake-
speare's name,
Fragrant yet as though his hand had touched and

made it thrill,
Like the whole world's heart, with warm new life

and gladdening flame.
Fair befall the fair green close that lies below the

mill !

Softlier here the flower-soft feet of refluent seasons

glide,
Lightlier breathes the long low note of change's

gentler call.



12 A MIDSUMMER HOLIDAY

Wind and storm and landslip feed the lone sea's

gulf outside,
Half a seamew's first flight hence ; but scarce may

these appal

Peace, whose perfect seal is set for signet here on all.
Steep and deep and sterile, under fields no plough

can tame,
Dip the cliffs full-fledged with poppies red as love or

shame,
Wide wan daisies bleak and bold, or herbage harsh

and chill ;
Here the full clove pinks and wallflowers crown the

love they claim.
Fair befall the fair green close that lies below the

mill!

All the place breathes low, but not for fear lest ill

betide,

Soft as roses answering roses, or a dove's recall.
Little heeds it how the seaward banks may stoop and

slide,
How the winds and years may hold all outer things

in thrall,
How their wrath may work on hoar church tower

and boundary wail.

Far and wide the waste and ravin of their rule pro-
claim
Change alone the changeless lord of things, alone

the same :
Here a flower is stronger than the winds that work

their will,
Or the years that wing their way through darkness

toward their aim.
Fair befall the fair green close that lies below the

mill!



A MIDSUMMER HOLIDAY 13

Friend, the home that smiled us welcome hither when

we came,
When we pass again with summer, surely should

reclaim
Somewhat given of heart's thanksgiving more than

words fulfil
More than song, were song more sweet than all but

love, might frame.
Fair befall the fair green close that lies below the

mill!



i 4 A MIDSUMMER HOLIDAY



V
A SEA-MARK

RAINS have left the sea-banks ill to climb :
Waveward sinks the loosening seaboard's floor :
Half the sliding cliffs are mire and slime.
Earth, a fruit rain-rotted to the core,
Drops dissolving down in flakes, that pour
Dense as gouts from eaves grown foul with grime.
One sole rock which years that scathe not score
Stands a sea-mark in the tides of time.

Time were even as even the rainiest clime,
Life were even as even this lapsing shore,
Might not aught outlive their trustless prime :
Vainly fear would wail or hope implore,
Vainly grief revile or love adore
Seasons clothed in sunshine, rain, or rime.
Now for me one comfort held in store
Stands a sea-mark in the tides of time.

Once, by fate's default or chance's crime,
Each apart, our burdens each we bore ;
Heard, in monotones like bells that chime,
Chime the sounds of sorrows, float and soar



A MIDSUMMER HOLIDAY 15

Joy's full carols, near or far before ;
Heard not yet across the alternate rhyme
Time's tongue tell what sign set fast of yore
Stands a sea-mark in the tides of time.

Friend, the sign we knew not heretofore
Towers in sight here present and sublime.
Faith in faith established evermore
Stands a sea-mark in the tides of time.



16 A MIDSUMMER HOLIDAY



VI

THE CLIFFSIDE PATH

SEAWARD goes the sun, and homeward by the down
We, before the night upon his grave be sealed.
Low behind us lies the bright steep murmuring

town,

High before us heaves the steep rough silent field.
Breach by ghastlier breach, the cliffs collapsing

yield :

Half the path is broken, half the banks divide ;
Flawed and crumbled, riven and rent, they cleave

and slide
Toward the ridged and wrinkled waste of girdling

sand

Deep beneath, whose furrows tell how far and wide
Wind is lord and change is sovereign of the strand.

Star by star on the unsunned waters twiring down.
Golden spear-points glance against a silver shield.
Over banks and bents, across the headland's crown,
As by pulse of gradual plumes through twilight

wheeled,

Soft as sleep, the waking wind awakes the weald.
Moor and copse and fallow, near or far descried,
Feel the mild wings move, and gladden where they

glide :



A MIDSUMMER HOLIDAY 17

Silence, uttering love that all things understand,

Bids the quiet fields forget that hard beside

Wind is lord and change is sovereign of the strand.

Yet may sight, ere all the hoar soft shade grow
brown,

Hardly reckon half the rifts and rents unhealed

Where the scarred cliffs downward sundering drive
and drown,

Hewn as if with stroke of swords in tempest steeled,

Wielded as the night's will and the wind's may
wield.

Crowned and zoned in vain with flowers of autumn-
tide,

Soon the blasts shall break them, soon the waters
hide ;

Soon, where late we stood, shall no man ever stand.

Life and love seek harbourage on the landward side :

Wind is lord and change is sovereign of the strand.

Friend, though man be less than these, for all his

pride,

Yet, for all his weakness, shall not hope abide ?
Wind and change can wreck but life and waste but

land :

Truth and trust are sure, though here till all subside
Wind is lord and change is sovereign of the strand.



VOL. VI.



i8 A MIDSUMMER HOLIDAY



VII

IN THE WATER

THE sea is awake, and the sound of the song of the

joy of her waking is rolled
From afar to the star that recedes, from anear to the

wastes of the wild wide shore.
Her call is a trumpet compelling us homeward : if

dawn in her east be acold,
From the sea shall we crave not her grace to rekindle

the life that it kindled before,
Her breath to requicken, her bosom to rock us,

kisses to bless as of yore ?
For the wind, with his wings half open, at pause in

the sky, neither fettered nor free,
Leans waveward and flutters the ripple to laughter :

and fain would the twain of us be
Where lightly the wave yearns forward from under

the curve of the deep dawn's dome,
And, full of the morning and fired with the pride of

the glory thereof and the glee,
Strike out from the shore as the heart in us bids and

beseeches, athirst for the foam.

Life holds not an hour that is better to live in : the

past is a tale that is told,
The future a sun-flecked shadow, alive and asleep,

with a blessing in store.



A MIDSUMMER HOLIDAY 19

A.S we give us again to the waters, the rapture of

limbs that the waters enfold
Is less than the rapture of spirit whereby, though the

burden it quits were sore,
Our souls and the bodies they wield at their will are

absorbed in the life they adore
In the life that endures no burden, and bows not the

forehead, and bends not the knee
In the life everlasting of earth and of heaven, in the

laws that atone and agree,
In the measureless music of things, in the fervour of

forces that rest or that roam,
That cross and return and reissue, as I after you and

as you after me
Strike out from the shore as the heart in us bids and

beseeches, athirst for the foam.

For, albeit he were less than the least of them, haply

the heart of a man may be bold
To rejoice in the word of the sea as a mother's that

saith to the son she bore,
Child, was not the life in thee mine, and my spirit

the breath in thy lips from of old ?
Have I let not thy weakness exult in my strength,

and thy foolishness learn of my lore ?
Have I helped not or healed not thine anguish, or

made not the might of thy gladness more ?
And surely his heart should answer, The light of the

love of my life is in thee.
She is fairer than earth, and the sun is not fairer,

the wind is not blither than she :
From my youth hath she shown me the joy of her

bays that I crossed, of her cliffs that I clomb,






20 A MIDSUMMER HOLIDAY

Till now that the twain of us here, in desire of the

dawn and in trust of the sea,
Strike out from the shore as the heart in us bids and

beseeches, athirst for the foam.

Friend, earth is a harbour of refuge for winter, a

covert whereunder to flee
When day is the vassal of night, and the strength of

the hosts of her mightier than he ;
But here is the presence adored of me, here my desire

is at rest and at home.
There are cliffs to be climbed upon land, there are

ways to be trodden and ridden : but we
Strike out from the shore as the heart in us bids and

beseeches, athirst for the foam.



A MIDSUMMER HOLIDAY 21



VIII

THE SUNBOWS

SPRAY of song that springs in April, light of love that

laughs through May,
Live and die and live for ever : nought of all things

far less fair
Keeps a surer life than these that seem to pass like

fire away.
In the souls they live which are but all the brighter

that they were ;
In the hearts that kindle, thinking what delight of old

was there.
Wind that shapes and lifts and shifts them bids

perpetual memory play
Over dreams and in and out of deeds and thoughts

which seem to wear
Light that leaps and runs and revels through the

springing flames of spray.

Dawn is wild upon the waters where we drink of

dawn to-day :
Wide, from wave to wave rekindling in rebound

through radiant air,
Flash the fires unwoven and woven again of wind

that works in play,
Working wonders more than heart may note or sight

may wellnigh dare,



22 A MIDSUMMER HOLIDAY

Wefts of rarer light than colours rain from heaven,

though this be rare.
Arch on arch unbuilt in building, reared and ruined

ray by ray,
Breaks and brightens, laughs and lessens, even till

eyes may hardly bear
Light that leaps and runs and revels through the

springing flames of spray.

Year on year sheds light and music rolled and flashed
from bay to bay

Round the summer capes of time and winter head-
lands keen and bare

Whence the soul keeps watch, and bids her vassal
memory watch and pray,

If perchance the dawn may quicken, or perchance the
midnight spare.

Silence quells not music, darkness takes not sunlight
in her snare ;

Shall not joys endure that perish ? Yea, saith dawn,
though night say nay :

Life on life goes out, but very life enkindles every-
where

Light that leaps and runs and revels through the
springing flames of spray.

Friend, were life no more than this is, well would yet

the living fare.
All aflower and all afire and all flung heavenward,

who shall say
Such a flash of life were worthless ? This is worth

a world of care
Light that leaps and runs and revels through the

springing flames of spray.



A MIDSUMMER HOLIDAY 33



IX
ON THE VERGE

HERE begins the sea that ends not till the world's

end. Where we stand,
Could we know the next high sea-mark set beyond

these waves that gleam,
We should know what never man hath known, nor

eye of man hath scanned.
Nought beyond these coiling clouds that melt like

fume of shrines that steam
Breaks or stays the strength of waters till they pass

our bounds of dream.
Where the waste Land's End leans westward, all the

seas it watches roll

Find their border fixed beyond them, and a world-
wide shore's control :
These whereby we stand no shore beyond us limits :

these are free.
Gazing hence, we see the water that grows iron

round the Pole,
From the shore that hath no shore beyond it set in

all the sea.

Sail on sail along the sea-line fades and flashes ; here

on land
Flash and fade the wheeling wings on wings of mews

that plunge and scream.



24 A MIDSUMMER HOLIDAY

Hour on hour along the line of life and time's evasive

strand
Shines and darkens, wanes and waxes, slays and

dies : and scarce they seem
More than motes that thronged and trembled in the

brief noon's breath and beam.
Some with crying and wailing, some with notes like

sound of bells that toll,
Some with sighing and laughing, some with words

that blessed and made us whole,
Passed, and left us, and we know not what they were,

nor what were we.
Would we know, being mortal ? Never breath of

answering whisper stole
From the shore that hath no shore beyond it set in

all the sea.

Shadows, would we question darkness ? Ere our

eyes and brows be fanned
Round with airs of twilight, washed with dews from

sleep's eternal stream,
Would we know sleep's guarded secret ? Ere the fire

consume the brand,
Would it know if yet its ashes may requicken ? yet

we deem
Surely man may know, or ever night unyoke her

starry team,
What the dawn shall be, or if the dawn shall be not :

yea, the scroll
Would we read of sleep's dark scripture, pledge of

peace or doom of dole.
Ah, but here man's heart leaps, yearning toward the

gloom with venturous glee,



A MIDSUMMER HOLIDAY 25

Though his pilot eye behold nor bay nor harbour, rock

nor shoal,
From the shore that hath no shore beyond it set in

all the sea.

Friend, who knows if death indeed have life or life

have death for goal ?


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