« AnteriorContinuar »
Good with bad, and overbear
Shall the waves take pity on thee
Or the south-wind offer thee love ? Wilt thou take the night for thy day Or the darkness for light on thy way
Till thou say in thine heart, Ěnough? Behold, thou art over fair, thou art
over wise : The sweetness of spring in thine hair,
and the light in thine eyes. The light of the spring in thine eyes,
and the sound in thine ears ; Yet thine heart shall wax heavy with
sighs and thine eyelids with tears. Wilt thou cover thine hair with gold ;
and with silver thy feet? Hast thou taken the purple to fold thee,
and made thy mouth sweet? Behold, when thy face is made bare, he
that loved thee shall hate ; Thy face shall be no more fair at the
fall of thy fate. For thy life shall fall as a leaf and be
shed as the rain ; And the veil of thine head shall be grief;
and the crown shall be pain.
THE DEATH OF MELEAGER Meleager. Let your hands meet
Round the weight of my head, Lift ye my feet
As the feet of the dead; For the flesh of my body is molten, the
limbs of it molten as lead.
Not as with sundering of the earth
Nor as with cleaving of the sea Nor fierce foreshadowings of a birth
Nor flying dreams of death to be, Nor loosening of a large world's girth And quickening of the body of night,
And sound of thunder in men's ears And fire of lightning in men's sight,
Fate, mother of desires and fears,
Bore unto men the law of tears ; But sudden, an unfathered flame,
And broken out of night, she shone, She, without body, without name,
In days forgotten and foregone; And heaven rang round her as she came Like smitten cymbals, and lay bare ; Clouds and great stars, thunders and
snows, The blue sad fields and folds of air, The life that breathes, the life that
grows, All wind, all fire. that burns or blows, Even all these knew her: for she is great; The daughter of doom, the mother of
death, The sister of sorrow ; a lifelong weight
That no man's finger lighteneth, Nor any god can lighten fate ; A landmark seen across the way Where one race treads as the other
trod; An evil sceptre, an evil stay,
Wrought for a staff, wrought for a rod, The bitter jealousy of God.
For death is deep as the sea,
And fate as the waves thereof,
Melenger. Unto each man his fate ;
Unto each as he saith
Meleager. Would the winds blow me
back Or the waves hurl me home? Ah, to touch in the track
Where the pine learnt to roam Cold girdles and crowns of the sea-gods,
cool blossoms of water and foam !
Chorus. The gods may release
That they made fast; Thy soul shall have ease
In thy limbs at the last ; But what shall they give thee for life,
sweet life that is overpast ?
Meleager. Not the life of men's veins,
Not of flesh that conceives; But the grace that remains,
The fair beauty that cleaves To the life of the rains in the grasses, the
life of the dew's on the leaves.
1 Probably no excuse is needed for including here some examples of Swinburne's French verse, both for its own light and exquisite beauty, anıl because it so characteristically represents him. One of his chief distinctions is that of being per. haps the only Englishman who ever really understood and appreciated Freuch poetry.
Between the sunset and the sea
Between the sea-mark and the sea
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 more row,
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 ; But a goodlier gift is thine than foami
of the grapes or love. Yea, is not even Apollo, with hair and
harpstring of gold, A bitter God to follow, a beautiful God
to behold? I am sick of singing: the bays bu deep
and chafe: I am fain
Between the sundown and the sea
To rest a little from praise and grievous But love grows bitter with treason, and pleasure and pain.
laurel outlives not May. For the Gods we know not of, who give Sleep, shall we sleep after all? for the us our daily breath,
world is not sweet in the end ; We know they are cruel as love or life, For the old faiths loosen and fall, the and lovely as death.
new years ruin and rend. O Gods dethroned and deceased, cast Fate is a sea without shore, and the soul forth, wiped out in a day!
is a rock that abides ; From your wrath is the world released, But her ears are vexed with the roar and redeemed from your chains, men
her face with the foam of the tides. say.
O lips that the live blood faints in, the New Gods are crowned in the city, their leavings of racks and rods !
flowers have broken your rods ; O ghastly glories of saints, dead limbs of They are merciful, clothed with pity, gibbeted Gods !
the young compassionate Gods. Though all men abase them before you But for me their new device is barren, in spirit, and all knees beul, the days are bare ;
I kneel not, neither adore you, but Things long past over suffice, and men
standing, look to the end. forgotten that were.
All delicate days and pleasant, all spirits Time and the Gods are at strife: ye
and sorrows are cast dwell in the midst thereof,
Far out with the foam of the present that Draining a little life from the barren sweeps to the surf of the past : breasts of love.
Where beyond the extreme sea-wall, and I say to you, cease, take rest; yea,
between the remote sea-gates, to you all, be at peace,
Waste water washes, and tall ships Till the bitter milk of her breast and the
founder, and deep death waits : barren bosom shall cease.
Where, mighty with deepening sides, Wilt thou yet take all, Galilean ? but
clad about with the seas as with these thou shalt not take,
wings, The laurel, the palms and the pæan, And impelled of invisible tides, and ful
the breast of the nymphs in the filled of unspeakable things,
White-eyed and poisonous-finned, sharkBreasts more soft than a dove's, that
toothed and serpentine-curled, tremble with tenderer breath ; Rolls, under the whitening wind of the And all the wings of the Loves, and all
future, the wave of the world. the joy before death ;
The depths stand naked in sunder behind All the feet of the hours that sound as
it, the storms flee a way; a single lyre,
In the hollow before it the thunder is Dropped and deep in the flowers, with taken and snared as a prey : strings that flicker like fire.
In its sides is the north-wind bound; and More than these wilt thou give, things
its salt is of all men's tears ; fairer than all these things ? With light of ruin, and sound of changes, Nay, for a little we live, and life hath
and pulse of years : mutable wings.
With travail of day after day, and with A little while and we die ; shall life not
trouble of hour upon hour ; thrive as it may ?
And bitter as blood is the spray; and the For no man under the sky lives twice,
crests are as faugs that devour : outliving his day.
And its vapor and storm of its steam as And grief is a grievous thing, and a man the sighing of spirits to be; hath enough of his tears :
And its noise as the noise in a dream ; Why should he labor, and bring fresh and its lepth as the roots of the sea : grief to blacken his year's ?
And the height of its heads as the height Thou hast conquered, 0 pale Galilean ;
of the utmost stars of the air : the world has grown gray from And the ends of the eartlı at the might thy breath :
thereof tremble, and time is made We have drunken of things Lethean,
bare. and fed on the fulness of death.
bridle the deep sea with reins, Laurel is green for a season, and love is will ye chasten the high sea with sweet for a day;