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75 Works of Algernon Charles Swinburne

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The Three Damsels

Story type: Poetry

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(SUGGESTED BY A DRAWING OF DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI’S.) Three damsels in the queen’s chamber, The queen’s mouth was most fair; She spake a word of God’s mother As the combs went in her hair. Mary that is of might, Bring us to thy Son’s sight. They held the gold combs out from her A span’s […]

George Chapman

Story type: Poetry

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High priest of Homer, not elect in vain, Deep trumpets blow before thee, shawms behind Mix music with the rolling wheels that wind Slow through the labouring triumph of thy train: Fierce history, molten in thy forging brain, Takes form and fire and fashion from thy mind, Tormented and transmuted out of kind: But howsoe’er […]

Thomas Heywood

Story type: Poetry

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Tom, if they loved thee best who called thee Tom, What else may all men call thee, seeing thus bright Even yet the laughing and the weeping light That still thy kind old eyes are kindled from? Small care was thine to assail and overcome Time and his child Oblivion: yet of right Thy name […]

Thomas Decker

Story type: Poetry

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Out of the depths of darkling life where sin Laughs piteously that sorrow should not know Her own ill name, nor woe be counted woe; Where hate and craft and lust make drearier din Than sounds through dreams that grief holds revel in; What charm of joy-bells ringing, streams that flow, Winds that blow healing […]

Thomas Middleton

Story type: Poetry

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A wild moon riding high from cloud to cloud, That sees and sees not, glimmering far beneath, Hell’s children revel along the shuddering heath With dirge-like mirth and raiment like a shroud: A worse fair face than witchcraft’s, passion-proud, With brows blood-flecked behind their bridal wreath And lips that bade the assassin’s sword find sheath […]

John Ford

Story type: Poetry

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Hew hard the marble from the mountain’s heart Where hardest night holds fast in iron gloom Gems brighter than an April dawn in bloom, That his Memnonian likeness thence may start Revealed, whose hand with high funereal art Carved night, and chiselled shadow: be the tomb That speaks him famous graven with signs of doom […]

John Webster

Story type: Poetry

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Thunder: the flesh quails, and the soul bows down. Night: east, west, south, and northward, very night. Star upon struggling star strives into sight, Star after shuddering star the deep storms drown. The very throne of night, her very crown, A man lays hand on, and usurps her right. Song from the highest of heaven’s […]

Philip Massinger

Story type: Poetry

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Clouds here and there arisen an hour past noon Chequered our English heaven with lengthening bars And shadow and sound of wheel-winged thunder-cars Assembling strength to put forth tempest soon, When the clear still warm concord of thy tune Rose under skies unscared by reddening Mars Yet, like a sound of silver speech of stars, […]

Not if men’s tongues and angels’ all in one Spake, might the word be said that might speak Thee. Streams, winds, woods, flowers, fields, mountains, yea, the sea, What power is in them all to praise the sun? His praise is this,–he can be praised of none. Man, woman, child, praise God for him; but […]

Ben Jonson

Story type: Poetry

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Broad-based, broad-fronted, bounteous, multiform, With many a valley impleached with ivy and vine, Wherein the springs of all the streams run wine, And many a crag full-faced against the storm, The mountain where thy Muse’s feet made warm Those lawns that revelled with her dance divine Shines yet with fire as it was wont to […]

An hour ere sudden sunset fired the west, Arose two stars upon the pale deep east. The hall of heaven was clear for night’s high feast, Yet was not yet day’s fiery heart at rest. Love leapt up from his mother’s burning breast To see those warm twin lights, as day decreased, Wax wider, till […]

Crowned, girdled, garbed and shod with light and fire, Son first-born of the morning, sovereign star! Soul nearest ours of all, that wert most far, Most far off in the abysm of time, thy lyre Hung highest above the dawn-enkindled quire Where all ye sang together, all that are, And all the starry songs behind […]

Not for less love, all glorious France, to thee, “Sweet enemy” called in days long since at end, Now found and hailed of England sweeter friend, Bright sister of our freedom now, being free; Not for less love or faith in friendship we Whose love burnt ever toward thee reprehend The vile vain greed whose […]

Sir William Gomm

Story type: Poetry

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I At threescore years and five aroused anew To rule in India, forth a soldier went On whose bright-fronted youth fierce war had spent Its iron stress of storm, till glory grew Full as the red sun waned on Waterloo. Landing, he met the word from England sent Which bade him yield up rule: and […]

Quia Nominor Leo

Story type: Poetry

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I What part is left thee, lion? Ravenous beast, Which hadst the world for pasture, and for scope And compass of thine homicidal hope The kingdom of the spirit of man, the feast Of souls subdued from west to sunless east, From blackening north to bloodred south aslope, All servile; earth for footcloth of the […]

O son of man, by lying tongues adored, By slaughterous hands of slaves with feet red-shod In carnage deep as ever Christian trod Profaned with prayer and sacrifice abhorred And incense from the trembling tyrant’s horde, Brute worshippers or wielders of the rod, Most murderous even of all that call thee God, Most treacherous even […]

Not all disgraced, in that Italian town, The imperial German cowered beneath thine hand, Alone indeed imperial Hildebrand, And felt thy foot and Rome’s, and felt her frown And thine, more strong and sovereign than his crown, Though iron forged its blood-encrusted band. But now the princely wielder of his land, For hatred’s sake toward […]

Ad generem Cereris sine caede et vulnere pauci Descendunt reges, aut sicca morte tyranni. By no dry death another king goes down The way of kings. Yet may no free man’s voice, For stern compassion and deep awe, rejoice That one sign more is given against the crown, That one more head those dark red […]

Euonymos

Story type: Poetry

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[Greek: eu men he timen edidou nikephoros alke ek nikes onom’ esche phobou kear aien athiktos.] A year ago red wrath and keen despair Spake, and the sole word from their darkness sent Laid low the lord not all omnipotent Who stood most like a god of all that were As gods for pride of […]

I If all the flowers of all the fields on earth By wonder-working summer were made one, Its fragrance were not sweeter in the sun, Its treasure-house of leaves were not more worth Than those wherefrom thy light of musing mirth Shone, till each leaf whereon thy pen would run Breathed life, and all its […]

To John Nichol

Story type: Poetry

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I Friend of the dead, and friend of all my days Even since they cast off boyhood, I salute The song saluting friends whose songs are mute With full burnt-offerings of clear-spirited praise. That since our old young years our several ways Have led through fields diverse of flower and fruit, Yet no cross wind […]

Sick of self-love, Malvolio, like an owl That hoots the sun rerisen where starlight sank, With German garters crossed athwart thy frank Stout Scottish legs, men watched thee snarl and scowl, And boys responsive with reverberate howl Shrilled, hearing how to thee the springtime stank And as thine own soul all the world smelt rank […]

Dickens

Story type: Poetry

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Chief in thy generation born of men Whom English praise acclaimed as English-born, With eyes that matched the worldwide eyes of morn For gleam of tears or laughter, tenderest then When thoughts of children warmed their light, or when Reverence of age with love and labour worn, Or godlike pity fired with godlike scorn, Shot […]

Two souls diverse out of our human sight Pass, followed one with love and each with wonder: The stormy sophist with his mouth of thunder, Clothed with loud words and mantled in the might Of darkness and magnificence of night; And one whose eye could smite the night in sunder, Searching if light or no […]

I Three men lived yet when this dead man was young Whose names and words endure for ever: one Whose eyes grew dim with straining toward the sun, And his wings weakened, and his angel’s tongue Lost half the sweetest song was ever sung, But like the strain half uttered earth hears none, Nor shall […]

To Dr. John Brown

Story type: Poetry

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Beyond the north wind lay the land of old Where men dwelt blithe and blameless, clothed and fed With joy’s bright raiment and with love’s sweet bread, The whitest flock of earth’s maternal fold. None there might wear about his brows enrolled A light of lovelier fame than rings your head, Whose lovesome love of […]

The larks are loud above our leagues of whin Now the sun’s perfume fills their glorious gold With odour like the colour: all the wold Is only light and song and wind wherein These twain are blent in one with shining din. And now your gift, a giver’s kingly-souled, Dear old fast friend whose honours […]

The strong spring sun rejoicingly may rise, Rise and make revel, as of old men said, Like dancing hearts of lovers newly wed: A light more bright than ever bathed the skies Departs for all time out of all men’s eyes. The crowns that girt last night a living head Shine only now, though deathless, […]

Hope And Fear

Story type: Poetry

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Beneath the shadow of dawn’s aerial cope, With eyes enkindled as the sun’s own sphere, Hope from the front of youth in godlike cheer Looks Godward, past the shades where blind men grope Round the dark door that prayers nor dreams can ope, And makes for joy the very darkness dear That gives her wide […]

After Sunset

Story type: Poetry

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“Si quis piorum Manibus locus.” I Straight from the sun’s grave in the deep clear west A sweet strong wind blows, glad of life: and I, Under the soft keen stardawn whence the sky Takes life renewed, and all night’s godlike breast Palpitates, gradually revealed at rest By growth and change of ardours felt on […]

If that be yet a living soul which here Seemed brighter for the growth of numbered springs And clothed by Time and Pain with goodlier things Each year it saw fulfilled a fresh fleet year, Death can have changed not aught that made it dear; Half humorous goodness, grave-eyed mirth on wings Bright-balanced, blither-voiced than […]

Haughton, whose mirth gave woman all her will: Field, bright and loud with laughing flower and bird And keen alternate notes of laud and gird: Barnes, darkening once with Borgia’s deeds the quill Which tuned the passion of Parthenophil: Blithe burly Porter, broad and bold of word: Wilkins, a voice with strenuous pity stirred: Turk […]

Greene, garlanded with February’s few flowers, Ere March came in with Marlowe’s rapturous rage: Peele, from whose hand the sweet white locks of age Took the mild chaplet woven of honoured hours: Nash, laughing hard: Lodge, flushed from lyric bowers: And Lilly, a goldfinch in a twisted cage Fed by some gay great lady’s pettish […]

Ye too, dim watchfires of some darkling hour, Whose fame forlorn time saves not nor proclaims For ever, but forgetfulness defames And darkness and the shadow of death devour, Lift up ye too your light, put forth your power, Let the far twilight feel your soft small flames And smile, albeit night name not even […]

More yet and more, and yet we mark not all: The Warning fain to bid fair women heed Its hard brief note of deadly doom and deed;[1] The verse that strewed too thick with flowers the hall Whence Nero watched his fiery festival;[2] That iron page wherein men’s eyes who read See, bruised and marred […]

Sons born of many a loyal Muse to Ben, All true-begotten, warm with wine or ale, Bright from the broad light of its presence, hail! Prince Randolph, nighest his throne of all his men, Being highest in spirit and heart who hailed him then King, nor might other spread so blithe a sail: Cartwright, a […]

Mother whose womb brought forth our man of men, Mother of Shakespeare, whom all time acclaims Queen therefore, sovereign queen of English dames, Throned higher than sat thy sonless empress then, Was it thy son’s young passion-guided pen Which drew, reflected from encircling flames, A figure marked by the earlier of thy names Wife, and […]

John Day

Story type: Poetry

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Day was a full-blown flower in heaven, alive With murmuring joy of bees and birds aswarm, When in the skies of song yet flushed and warm With music where all passion seems to strive For utterance, all things bright and fierce to drive Struggling along the splendour of the storm, Day for an hour put […]

James Shirley

Story type: Poetry

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The dusk of day’s decline was hard on dark When evening trembled round thy glowworm lamp That shone across her shades and dewy damp A small clear beacon whose benignant spark Was gracious yet for loiterers’ eyes to mark, Though changed the watchword of our English camp Since the outposts rang round Marlowe’s lion ramp, […]

John Marston

Story type: Poetry

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The bitterness of death and bitterer scorn Breathes from the broad-leafed aloe-plant whence thou Wast fain to gather for thy bended brow A chaplet by no gentler forehead worn. Grief deep as hell, wrath hardly to be borne, Ploughed up thy soul till round the furrowing plough The strange black soil foamed, as a black […]

Hawthorn Dyke

Story type: Poetry

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All the golden air is full of balm and bloomWhere the hawthorns line the shelving dyke with flowers.Joyous children born of April’s happiest hours,High and low they laugh and lighten, knowing their doomBright as brief–to bless and cheer they know not whom,Heed not how, but washed and warmed with suns and showersSmile, and bid the […]

Jacobite Song

Story type: Poetry

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Now who will speak, and lie not,And pledge not life, but give?Slaves herd with herded cattle:The dawn grows bright for battle,And if we die, we die not;And if we live, we live. The faith our fathers fought for,The kings our fathers knew,We fight but as they fought for:We seek the goal they sought for,The chance […]

The sea swings owre the slants of sand,All white with winds that drive;The sea swirls up to the still dim strand,Where nae man comes alive. At the grey soft edge of the fruitless surfA light flame sinks and springs;At the grey soft rim of the flowerless turfA low flame leaps and clings. What light is […]

1893 The sea of the years that endure notWhose tide shall endure till we dieAnd know what the seasons assure not,If death be or life be a lie,Sways hither the spirit and thither,A waif in the swing of the seaWhose wrecks are of memories that witherAs leaves of a tree. We hear not and hail […]

I Not from without us, only from within,Comes or can ever come upon us lightWhereby the soul keeps ever truth in sight.No truth, no strength, no comfort man may win,No grace for guidance, no release from sin,Save of his own soul’s giving. Deep and brightAs fire enkindled in the core of nightBurns in the soul […]

Life In Death

Story type: Poetry

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He should have followed who goes forth before us,Last born of us in life, in death first-born:The last to lift up eyes against the morn,The first to see the sunset. Life, that bore usPerchance for death to comfort and restore us,Of him hath left us here awhile forlorn,For him is as a garment overworn,And time […]

As a vesture shalt thou change them, said the prophet,And the raiment that was flesh is turned to dust;Dust and flesh and dust again the likeness of it,And the fine gold woven and worn of youth is rust.Hours that wax and wane salute the shade and scoff it,That it knows not aught it doth nor […]

A life more bright than the sun’s face, bowedThrough stress of season and coil of cloud,Sets: and the sorrow that casts out fearScarce deems him dead in his chill still shroud, Dead on the breast of the dying year,Poet and painter and friend, thrice dearFor love of the suns long set, for loveOf song that […]

An Old Saying

Story type: Poetry

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Many waters cannot quench love,Neither can the floods drown it.Who shall snare or slay the white doveFaith, whose very dreams crown it,Gird it round with grace and peace, deep,Warm, and pure, and soft as sweet sleep?Many waters cannot quench love,Neither can the floods drown it. Set me as a seal upon thine heart,As a seal […]

A Moss-Rose

Story type: Poetry

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If the rose of all flowers be the rarestThat heaven may adore from above,And the fervent moss-rose be the fairestThat sweetens the summer with love, Can it be that a fairer than anyShould blossom afar from the tree?Yet one, and a symbol of many,Shone sudden for eyes that could see. In the grime and the […]

Light: An Epicede

Story type: Poetry

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TO PHILIP BOURKE MARSTON Love will not weep because the seal is brokenThat sealed upon a life beloved and briefDarkness, and let but song break through for tokenHow deep, too far for even thy song’s relief,Slept in thy soul the secret springs of grief. Thy song may soothe full many a soul hereafter,As tears, if […]

To A Cat

Story type: Poetry

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I Stately, kindly, lordly friend,CondescendHere to sit by me, and turnGlorious eyes that smile and burn,Golden eyes, love’s lustrous meed,On the golden page I read. All your wondrous wealth of hair,Dark and fair,Silken-shaggy, soft and brightAs the clouds and beams of night,Pays my reverent hand’s caressBack with friendlier gentleness. Dogs may fawn on all and […]

Watching here alone by the fire whereat last yearSat with me the friend that a week since yet was near,That a week has borne so far and hid so deep,Woe am I that I may not weep,May not yearn to behold him here. Shame were mine, and little the love I bore him were,Now to […]

A Reminiscence

Story type: Poetry

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The rose to the wind has yielded: all its leavesLie strewn on the graveyard grass, and all their lightAnd colour and fragrance leave our sense and sightBereft as a man whom bitter time bereavesOf blossom at once and hope of garnered sheaves,Of April at once and August. Day to nightCalls wailing, and life to death, […]

Via Dolorosa

Story type: Poetry

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The days of a man are threescore years and ten.The days of his life were half a man’s, whom weLament, and would yet not bid him back, to bePartaker of all the woes and ways of men.Life sent him enough of sorrow: not againWould anguish of love, beholding him set free,Bring back the beloved to […]

The wider world of men that is not oursReceives a soul whose life on earth was light.Though darkness close the date of human hours,Love holds the spirit and sense of life in sight,That may not, even though death bid fly, take flight.Faith, love, and hope fulfilled with memory, seeAs clear and dear as life could […]

Dante, sole standing on the heavenward height,Beheld and heard one saying, “Behold me well:I am, I am Beatrice.” Heaven and hellKept silence, and the illimitable lightOf all the stars was darkness in his sightWhose eyes beheld her eyes again, and fellShame-stricken. Since her soul took flight to dwellIn heaven, six hundred years have taken flight. […]

NEW YEAR’S EVE, 1889 All the west, whereon the sunset sealed the dead year’s glorious graveFast with seals of light and fire and cloud that light and fire illume,Glows at heart and kindles earth and heaven with joyous blush and bloom,Warm and wide as life, and glad of death that only slays to save.As a […]

Birthday Ode

Story type: Poetry

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AUGUST 6, 1891 I Love and praise, and a length of days whose shadow cast upon time is light,Days whose sound was a spell shed round from wheeling wings as of doves in flight,Meet in one, that the mounting sun to-day may triumph, and cast out night. Two years more than the full fourscore lay […]

OCTOBER 6, 1892 I Life, sublime and serene when time had power upon it and ruled its breath,Changed it, bade it be glad or sad, and hear what change in the world’s ear saith,Shines more fair in the starrier air whose glory lightens the dusk of death. Suns that sink on the wan sea’s brink, […]

IN MEMORY OF THEODORE DE BANVILLE Death, a light outshining life, bids heaven resumeStar by star the souls whose light made earth divine.Death, a night outshining day, sees burn and bloomFlower by flower, and sun by sun, the fames that shineDeathless, higher than life beheld their sovereign sign.Dead Simonides of Ceos, late restored,Given again of […]

La plus douce des voix qui vibraient sous le cielSe tait: les rossignols ailes pleurent le frereQui s’envole au-dessus de l’apre et sombre terre,Ne lui laissant plus voir que l’etre essentiel, Esprit qui chante et rit, fleur d’une ame sans fiel.L’ombre elyseenne, ou la nuit n’est que lumiere,Revoit, tout revetu de splendeur douce et fiere,Melicerte, […]

East To West

Story type: Poetry

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Sunset smiles on sunrise: east and west are one,Face to face in heaven before the sovereign sun.From the springs of the dawn everlasting a glory renews and transfigures the west,From the depths of the sunset a light as of morning enkindles the broad sea’s breast,And the lands and the skies and the waters are glad […]

Night or light is it now, whereinSleeps, shut out from the wild world’s din,Wakes, alive with a life more clear,One who found not on earth his kin? Sleep were sweet for awhile, were dearSurely to souls that were heartless here,Souls that faltered and flagged and fell,Soft of spirit and faint of cheer. A living soul […]

I The clearest eyes in all the world they readWith sense more keen and spirit of sight more trueThan burns and thrills in sunrise, when the dewFlames, and absorbs the glory round it shed,As they the light of ages quick and dead,Closed now, forsake us: yet the shaft that slewCan slay not one of all […]

NOVEMBER 4, 1889 Somno mollior unda I Dawn is dim on the dark soft water,Soft and passionate, dark and sweet.Love’s own self was the deep sea’s daughter,Fair and flawless from face to feet,Hailed of all when the world was golden,Loved of lovers whose names beholdenThrill men’s eyes as with light of oldenDays more glad than […]

Loch Torridon

Story type: Poetry

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TO E. H. The dawn of night more fair than morning rose,Stars hurrying forth on stars, as snows on snowsHaste when the wind and winter bid them speed.Vague miles of moorland road behind us layScarce traversed ere the daySank, and the sun forsook us at our need,Belated. Where we thought to have rested, restWas none; […]

The Palace Of Pan

Story type: Poetry

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INSCRIBED TO MY MOTHER September, all glorious with gold, as a kingIn the radiance of triumph attired,Outlightening the summer, outsweetening the spring,Broods wide on the woodlands with limitless wing,A presence of all men desired. Far eastward and westward the sun-coloured landsSmile warm as the light on them smiles;And statelier than temples upbuilded with hands,Tall column […]

A Year’s Carols

Story type: Poetry

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JANUARY Hail, January, that bearest hereOn snowbright breasts the babe-faced yearThat weeps and trembles to be born.Hail, maid and mother, strong and bright,Hooded and cloaked and shod with white,Whose eyes are stars that match the morn.Thy forehead braves the storm’s bent bow,Thy feet enkindle stars of snow. FEBRUARY Wan February with weeping cheer,Whose cold hand […]

England: An Ode

Story type: Poetry

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I Sea and strand, and a lordlier land than sea-tides rolling and rising sunClasp and lighten in climes that brighten with day when day that was here is done,Call aloud on their children, proud with trust that future and past are one. Far and near from the swan’s nest here the storm-birds bred of her […]

Eton: An Ode

Story type: Poetry

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FOR THE FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FOUNDATION OF THE COLLEGE I Four hundred summers and fifty have shone on the meadows of Thames and diedSince Eton arose in an age that was darkness, and shone by hisradiant sideAs a star that the spell of a wise man’s word bade live and ascend […]

Astrophel

Story type: Poetry

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AFTER READING SIR PHILIP SIDNEY’S ARCADIA IN THE GARDEN OF AN OLD ENGLISH MANOR HOUSE I A star in the silence that followsThe song of the death of the sunSpeaks music in heaven, and the hollowsAnd heights of the world are as one;One lyre that outsings and outlightensThe rapture of sunset, and thrillsMute night till […]

A Nympholept

Story type: Poetry

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Summer, and noon, and a splendour of silence, felt,Seen, and heard of the spirit within the sense.Soft through the frondage the shades of the sunbeams melt,Sharp through the foliage the shafts of them, keen and dense,Cleave, as discharged from the string of the God’s bow, tenseAs a war-steed’s girth, and bright as a warrior’s belt.Ah, […]

TO THEODORE WATTS Hills and valleys where April rallies his radiant squadron of flowers and birds,Steep strange beaches and lustrous reaches of fluctuant sea that the land engirds,Fields and downs that the sunrise crowns with life diviner than lives in words, Day by day of resurgent May salute the sun with sublime acclaim,Change and brighten […]

An Autumn Vision

Story type: Poetry

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OCTOBER 31, 1889 +Zephyrou gigantos aura+ I Is it Midsummer here in the heavens that illumine October on earth?Can the year, when his heart is fulfilled with desire of the days of his mirth,Redeem them, recall, or remember?For a memory recalling the rapture of earth, and redeeming the sky,Shines down from the heights to the […]