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Short poem

Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909)

In Memory of Walter Savage Landor

              1  Back to the flower-town, side by side,
              2      The bright months bring,
              3New-born, the bridegroom and the bride,
              4      Freedom and spring.

              5  The sweet land laughs from sea to sea,
              6      Filled full of sun;
              7All things come back to her, being free;
              8      All things but one.

              9  In many a tender wheaten plot
            10      Flowers that were dead
            11Live, and old suns revive; but not
            12      That holier head.

            13  By this white wandering waste of sea,
            14      Far north, I hear
            15One face shall never turn to me
            16      As once this year:

            17  Shall never smile and turn and rest
            18      On mine as there,
            19Nor one most sacred hand be prest
            20      Upon my hair.

            21  I came as one whose thoughts half linger,
            22      Half run before;
            23The youngest to the oldest singer
            24      That England bore.

            25  I found him whom I shall not find
            26      Till all grief end,
            27In holiest age our mightiest mind,
            28      Father and friend.

            29  But thou, if anything endure,
            30      If hope there be,
            31O spirit that man's life left pure,
            32      Man's death set free,

            33  Not with disdain of days that were
            34      Look earthward now;
            35Let dreams revive the reverend hair,
            36      The imperial brow;

            37  Come back in sleep, for in the life
            38      Where thou art not
            39We find none like thee. Time and strife
            40      And the world's lot

            41  Move thee no more; but love at least
            42      And reverent heart
            43May move thee, royal and released,
            44      Soul, as thou art.

            45  And thou, his Florence, to thy trust
            46      Receive and keep,
            47Keep safe his dedicated dust,
            48      His sacred sleep.

            49  So shall thy lovers, come from far,
            50      Mix with thy name
            51As morning-star with evening-star
            52      His faultless fame.


1] Walter Savage Landor, born 1775, died 1864.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Swinburne's Collected Poetical Works, 2 vols. (London: William Heinemann, 1924): 134-36.
First publication date: 1866
Publication date note: Poems and Ballads (1866).
RPO poem editor: J. D. Robins
RP edition: 2RP 2.626.
Recent editing: 2:2002/5/2

Rhyme: abab

Other poems by Algernon Charles Swinburne