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Old and younger Gods are buried or begotten From uprising to downsetting of thy sun, Risen from eastward, fallen to westward and forgotten, And their springs are many, but their end is one. Divers births of godheads find one death appointed, As the soul whence each was born makes room for each; God by God goes out, discrowned and disanointed, But the soul stands fast that gave them shape and speech. Is the sun yet cast out of heaven?

Is the song yet cast out of man? Life that had song for its leaven To quicken the blood that ran Through the veins of the songless years More bitter and cold than tears, Heaven that had thee for its one Light, life, word, witness, O sun, Are they soundless and sightless and hollow, Without eye, without speech, without ear?

Poems and Ballads, First Series: Historicity and Erotic Aestheticism

Time arose and smote thee silent at his warning, Change and darkness fell on men that fell from thee; Dark thou satest, veiled with light, behind the morning, Till the soul of man should lift up eyes and see. Till the blind mute soul get speech again and eyesight, Man may worship not the light of life within; In his sight the stars whose fires grow dark in thy sight Shine as sunbeams on the night of death and sin.

Time again is risen with mightier word of warning, Change hath blown again a blast of louder breath; Clothed with clouds and stars and dreams that melt in morning, Lo, the Gods that ruled by grace of sin and death! They are conquered, they break, they are stricken, Whose might made the whole world pale; They are dust that shall rise not or quicken Though the world for their death's sake wail.

As a hound on a wild beast's trace, So time has their godhead in chase; As wolves when the hunt makes head, They are scattered, they fly, they are fled; They are fled beyond hail, beyond hollo, And the cry of the chase, and the cheer. Day by day thy shadow shines in heaven beholden, Even the sun, the shining shadow of thy face: King, the ways of heaven before thy feet grow golden; God, the soul of earth is kindled with thy grace. In thy lips the speech of man whence Gods were fashioned, In thy soul the thought that makes them and unmakes; By thy light and heat incarnate and impassioned, Soul to soul of man gives light for light and takes.

As they knew thy name of old time could we know it, Healer called of sickness, slayer invoked of wrong, Light of eyes that saw thy light, God, king, priest, poet, Song should bring thee back to heal us with thy song. For thy kingdom is past not away, Nor thy power from the place thereof hurled; Out of heaven they shall cast not the day, They shall cast not out song from the world.

By the song and the light they give We know thy works that they live; With the gift thou hast given us of speech We praise, we adore, we beseech, We arise at thy bidding and follow, We cry to thee, answer, appear, O father of all of us, Paian, Apollo, Destroyer and healer, hear!

IN THE BAY I Beyond the hollow sunset, ere a star Take heart in heaven from eastward, while the west, Fulfilled of watery resonance and rest, Is as a port with clouds for harbour bar To fold the fleet in of the winds from far That stir no plume now of the bland sea's breast: II Above the soft sweep of the breathless bay Southwestward, far past flight of night and day, Lower than the sunken sunset sinks, and higher Than dawn can freak the front of heaven with fire, My thought with eyes and wings made wide makes way To find the place of souls that I desire.

III If any place for any soul there be, Disrobed and disentrammelled; if the might, The fire and force that filled with ardent light The souls whose shadow is half the light we see, Survive and be suppressed not of the night; This hour should show what all day hid from me. IV Night knows not, neither is it shown to day, By sunlight nor by starlight is it shown, Nor to the full moon's eye nor footfall known, Their world's untrodden and unkindled way. Nor is the breath nor music of it blown With sounds of winter or with winds of May.

Poems & Ballads (First Series)

V But here, where light and darkness reconciled Hold earth between them as a weanling child Between the balanced hands of death and birth, Even as they held the new-born shape of earth When first life trembled in her limbs and smiled, Here hope might think to find what hope were worth. VI Past Hades, past Elysium, past the long Slow smooth strong lapse of Lethe—past the toil Wherein all souls are taken as a spoil, The Stygian web of waters—if your song Be quenched not, O our brethren, but be strong As ere ye too shook off our temporal coil; VII If yet these twain survive your worldly breath, Joy trampling sorrow, life devouring death, If perfect life possess your life all through And like your words your souls be deathless too, To-night, of all whom night encompasseth, My soul would commune with one soul of you.

VIII Above the sunset might I see thine eyes That were above the sundawn in our skies, Son of the songs of morning,—thine that were First lights to lighten that rekindling air Wherethrough men saw the front of England rise And heard thine loudest of the lyre-notes there— IX If yet thy fire have not one spark the less, O Titan, born of her a Titaness, Across the sunrise and the sunset's mark Send of thy lyre one sound, thy fire one spark, To change this face of our unworthiness, Across this hour dividing light from dark. X To change this face of our chill time, that hears No song like thine of all that crowd its ears, Of all its lights that lighten all day long Sees none like thy most fleet and fiery sphere's Outlightening Sirius—in its twilight throng No thunder and no sunrise like thy song.

XI Hath not the sea-wind swept the sea-line bare To pave with stainless fire through stainless air A passage for thine heavenlier feet to tread Ungrieved of earthly floor-work? XII Hath not the sunset strewn across the sea A way majestical enough for thee? What hour save this should be thine hour—and mine, If thou have care of any less divine Than thine own soul; if thou take thought of me, Marlowe, as all my soul takes thought of thine?

O, if night Hang hard upon us,—ere our day take flight, Shed thou some comfort from thy day long done On us pale children of the latter light! XIV For surely, brother and master and lord and king, Where'er thy footfall and thy face make spring In all souls' eyes that meet thee wheresoe'er, And have thy soul for sunshine and sweet air— Some late love of thine old live land should cling, Some living love of England, round thee there.

XV Here from her shore across her sunniest sea My soul makes question of the sun for thee, And waves and beams make answer. When thy feet Made her ways flowerier and their flowers more sweet With childlike passage of a god to be, Like spray these waves cast off her foemen's fleet. XVI Like foam they flung it from her, and like weed Its wrecks were washed from scornful shoal to shoal, From rock to rock reverberate; and the whole Sea laughed and lightened with a deathless deed That sowed our enemies in her field for seed And made her shores fit harbourage for thy soul.

Poems & Ballads (First Series) by Algernon Charles Swinburne

XVII Then in her green south fields, a poor man's child, Thou hadst thy short sweet fill of half-blown joy, That ripens all of us for time to cloy With full-blown pain and passion; ere the wild World caught thee by the fiery heart, and smiled To make so swift end of the godlike boy. Who knows what splendour of strange dreams was shed With sacred shadow and glimmer of gold and red From hallowed windows, over stone and sod, On thine unbowed bright insubmissive head?

No day nor night on English earth shall be For ever, spring nor summer, Junes nor Mays, But somewhat as a sound or gleam of thee Shall come on us like morning from the sea. XX Like sunrise never wholly risen, nor yet Quenched; or like sunset never wholly set, A light to lighten as from living eyes The cold unlit close lids of one that lies Dead, or a ray returned from death's far skies To fire us living lest our lives forget.

XXI For in that heaven what light of lights may be, What splendour of what stars, what spheres of flame Sounding, that none may number nor may name, We know not, even thy brethren; yea, not we Whose eyes desire the light that lightened thee, Whose ways and thine are one way and the same.

"The Ballad of Reading Gaol" by Oscar Wilde (read by Roy Macready)

XXII But if the riddles that in sleep we read, And trust them not, be flattering truth indeed, As he that rose our mightiest called them,—he, Much higher than thou as thou much higher than we— There, might we say, all flower of all our seed, All singing souls are as one sounding sea.

XXIII All those that here were of thy kind and kin, Beside thee and below thee, full of love, Full-souled for song,—and one alone above Whose only light folds all your glories in— With all birds' notes from nightingale to dove Fill the world whither we too fain would win. XXIV The world that sees in heaven the sovereign light Of sunlike Shakespeare, and the fiery night Whose stars were watched of Webster; and beneath, The twin-souled brethren of the single wreath, Grown in kings' gardens, plucked from pastoral heath, Wrought with all flowers for all men's heart's delight.

Poems & Ballads (First Series)

XXV And that fixed fervour, iron-red like Mars, In the mid moving tide of tenderer stars, That burned on loves and deeds the darkest done, Athwart the incestuous prisoner's bride-house bars; And thine, most highest of all their fires but one, Our morning star, sole risen before the sun. Thou hast seen Shelley, him that was to thee As light to fire or dawn to lightning; me, Me likewise, O our brother, shalt thou see, And I behold thee, face to glorious face? And from the gleam of Apollonian tears A holier aureole rounds your memories, kept Most fervent-fresh of all the singing spheres, And April-coloured through all months and years.

Ye from beyond the dark dividing date Stand smiling, crowned as gods with foot on fate. For stronger was your blessing than his ban, And earliest whom he struck, he struck too late. XXIX Yet love and loathing, faith and unfaith yet Bind less to greater souls in unison, And one desire that makes three spirits as one Takes great and small as in one spiritual net Woven out of hope toward what shall yet be done Ere hate or love remember or forget. XXX Woven out of faith and hope and love too great To bear the bonds of life and death and fate: Woven out of love and hope and faith too dear To take the print of doubt and change and fear: And interwoven with lines of wrath and hate Blood-red with soils of many a sanguine year.

XXXI Who cannot hate, can love not; if he grieve, His tears are barren as the unfruitful rain That rears no harvest from the green sea's plain, And as thorns crackling this man's laugh is vain. Nor can belief touch, kindle, smite, reprieve His heart who has not heart to disbelieve. XXXII But you, most perfect in your hate and love, Our great twin-spirited brethren; you that stand Head by head glittering, hand made fast in hand, And underfoot the fang-drawn worm that strove To wound you living; from so far above, Look love, not scorn, on ours that was your land.

What help is ours to take or give? XXXIV As fire to frost, as ease to toil, as dew To flowerless fields, as sleep to slackening pain, As hope to souls long weaned from hope again Returning, or as blood revived anew To dry-drawn limbs and every pulseless vein, Even so toward us should no man be but you. And now the heaven is dark and bright and loud With wind and starry drift and moon and cloud, And night's cry rings in straining sheet and shroud, What help is ours if hope like yours be none? This kind earth Made fragrant once for all time with your birth, And bright for all men with your love, and worth The clasp and kiss and wedlock of the sea, Were not your mother if not your brethren we.

XXXVII Because the days were dark with gods and kings And in time's hand the old hours of time as rods, When force and fear set hope and faith at odds, Ye failed not nor abased your plume-plucked wings; And we that front not more disastrous things, How should we fail in face of kings and gods? XXXVIII For now the deep dense plumes of night are thinned Surely with winnowing of the glimmering wind Whose feet are fledged with morning; and the breath Begins in heaven that sings the dark to death.

And all the night wherein men groaned and sinned Sickens at heart to hear what sundawn saith.


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XXXIX O first-born sons of hope and fairest, ye Whose prows first clove the thought-unsounded sea Whence all the dark dead centuries rose to bar The spirit of man lest truth should make him free, The sunrise and the sunset, seeing one star, Take heart as we to know you that ye are. XL Ye rise not and ye set not; we that say Ye rise and set like hopes that set and rise Look yet but seaward from a land-locked bay; But where at last the sea's line is the sky's And truth and hope one sunlight in your eyes, No sunrise and no sunset marks their day.

A girdle of brushwood and thorn encloses The steep square slope of the blossomless bed Where the weeds that grew green from the graves of its roses Now lie dead.

The fields fall southward, abrupt and broken, To the low last edge of the long lone land. If a step should sound or a word be spoken, Would a ghost not rise at the strange guest's hand? So long have the grey bare walks lain guestless, Through branches and briars if a man make way, He shall find no life but the sea-wind's, restless Night and day.

The dense hard passage is blind and stifled That crawls by a track none turn to climb To the strait waste place that the years have rifled Of all but the thorns that are touched not of time. The thorns he spares when the rose is taken; The rocks are left when he wastes the plain. The wind that wanders, the weeds wind-shaken, These remain. Not a flower to be pressed of the foot that falls not; As the heart of a dead man the seed-plots are dry; From the thicket of thorns whence the nightingale calls not, Could she call, there were never a rose to reply.

Over the meadows that blossom and wither Rings but the note of a sea-bird's song; Only the sun and the rain come hither All year long. The sun burns sere and the rain dishevels One gaunt bleak blossom of scentless breath. Only the wind here hovers and revels In a round where life seems barren as death.

Here there was laughing of old, there was weeping, Haply, of lovers none ever will know, Whose eyes went seaward a hundred sleeping Years ago. Heart handfast in heart as they stood, "Look thither," Did he whisper? Or they loved their life through, and then went whither? And were one to the end—but what end who knows? Love deep as the sea as a rose must wither, As the rose-red seaweed that mocks the rose. Shall the dead take thought for the dead to love them?

What love was ever as deep as a grave? They are loveless now as the grass above them Or the wave.