Pallid and pink as the palm of the flag-flower that
flickers with fear of the flies as they float,
Are they looks of our lovers that lustrously lean from a
marvel of mystic miraculous moonshine,
These that we feel in the blood of our blushes that
thicken and threaten with throbs through the throat?
Thicken and thrill as a theatre thronged at appeal of
actor's appalled agitation
Fainter with fear of the fires of the future than
pale with the promise of pride in the pest :
Flushed with the famishing fullness of fever
that reddens with radiance of rather recreation
Gaunt as the ghastliest of glimpses that gleam
through the gloom of the gloaming when ghosts go aghast?
Nay, for the nick of the tick of the time is a
temulaus touch on the temples of terror,
Strained as the Sinews yet strenuous with strife
of the dead who is dumb as the dust-heaps of death :
Surely no soul is it sweet as the spasm of erotic
emotional exquisite error,
Bathed in the balms of beautified bliss, beatific
itself by beatitude's breath.
Surely no spirit or sense of a soul that was soft to
the spirit and soul of our senses.
Sweetens the stress of suspiring suspicion that sobc
in the semblance and sound of a sigh :
Only this oracle opens Olympian in mystical moods
and triangular tenses -
Life is the lust of a lamp for the light is dark still
the dawn of the day when we die'.
Mild is the mirk and monotonous musk of memory
melodiously mute as it may be,
While the hope in the heart of a hero is bruised by
the breach of men's rapiers, resigned to the rod :
Made meek as a mother whose bosom-beats bound
with the bliss-bringing bulk of a balm-breathing baby.
As they grope through the graveyard of creeds,
under skies growing green at a groan for the grimness of God.
Blank is the book of his bounty beholden of old,
and its binding is blacker than bluer :
Out of blue into black is the scheme of the skies,
and their dews are the Wine of the bloodshed of things :
Till the darkling desire of delight shall be free as a
fawn that is freed from the fangs that pursue her.
Till the hearts of hell shall be hushed by a hymn
from the hunt that has hurried the kennel of kings.
By Algernon Charles Swinburne
ABout The Poet :
Swinburne was one of the most accomplished lyric poets of the Victorian era and was a preeminent symbol of rebellion against the conservative values of his time. Born into a wealthy Northumbrian family, Swinburne was educated at Eton and at Balliol College, Oxford, but did not complete a degree. In 1860 Swinburne published two verse dramas in the volume The Queen-Mother and Rosamond, which was largely ignored.
He achieved his first literary success in 1865 with Atalanta in Calydon, which was written in the form of classical Greek tragedy. The following year the appearance of Poems and Ballads brought Swinburne instant notoriety. He became identified with the "indecent" themes and the precept of art for art's sake that characterized many of the poems in the volume.
He subsequently wrote poetry of many different kinds, including the militantly republican Song of Italy (1867) and Songs before Sunrise (1871) in support of the risorgimento, the movement for Italian political unity, as well as nature poetry. Although individual volumes of Swinburne's poetry were occasionally well received, in general his popularity and critical reputation declined following the initial sensation of Poems and Ballads.