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Algernon Charles Swinburne

Algernon Charles Swinburne

1837 Born in London; lived most of his early life in the Isle of Wight, with occassional trips to Northhumbira. Was a child of delicated health; learned to enjoy swimming and riding. Was especially fond of the ocean.

1849 Went to Eton; was an omnivorous reader.

1849-1851 Began to publish in Fraser's Magazine. Was a youth of strong literary prejudices; liked Landor, Hugo, Mazzini, Shelley, Keats, Marlowe, Catullus, and Corneille; hated Euripides, Horace, and Racine.

1866 Published Poems and Ballads. Public objected, on grounds of morality, to the tone of some of the poems.

1879 Took up living with a friend at Putney where he resided for the remainder of his life.

1909 Algernon Charles Swinburne died.

A Match

If love were what the rose is,
And I were like the leaf,
Our lives would grow together
In sad or singing weather,
Blown fields or flowerful closes,
Green pleasure or gray grief;
If love were what the rose is,
And I were like the leaf.

If I were what the words are,
And love were like the tune,
With double sound and single
Delight our lips would mingle
,With kisses glas as birds are
That get sweet rain at noon;
If I were what the words are
And love were like the tune.

If you were life, my darling,
And I your love were death,
We'd shine and snow together
Ere March made sweet the weather
With daffodil and starling
And hours of fruitful breath;
If you were life, my darling,
And I your love were death.

If you were thrall to sorrow,
And I were page to joy
We'd play for lives and seasons
With loving looks and treasons
And tears of night and morrow
And laughs of maid and boy;
If you were thrall to sorrow,
And I were page to joy.

If you were April's lady,
And I were lord in May,
We'd throw with leaves for hours
And draw for days with flowers,
Till day like night were shady
And night were bright like day;
If you were April's lady,
And I were lord in May.

If you were queen of pleasure,
And I were king of pain,
We'd hunt down love together,
Pluck out his flying-feather,
And teach his feet a measure,
And find his mouth a rein;
If you were queen of pleasure,
And I were king of pain.

RONDEL

Kissing her hair I sat against her feet
Wove and unwove it, wound and found it sweet
Made fast therewith her hands, drew down her eyes,
Deep as deep flowers and dreamy like dim skies;
With her own tresses bound and found her fair
Kissing her hair

Sleep were no sweeter than her face to me,
Sleep of cold sea-bloom under the cold sea;
What pain could get between my face and hers?
What new sweet thing would love not relish worse?
Kissing her hair?

THE OBLATION

Ask nothing more of me, sweet,
All I can give you I give
Heart of my heart, were it more,
More would be laid at your feet:
Love that should help you to live,
Song that should spur you to soar.

All things were nothing to give
Once to have sense of you more,
Touch you and taste of you, sweet,
Think you and breathe you and live,
Swept of your wings as they soar,
Trodden by chance of your feet.

I that have love and no more
Give you but love of yo, 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


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