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brave, serviceable men of every nation with hope, and their mouths full of tread down the nettle danger, and (400 boastful language, they should be at once pass flyingly over all the stumbling-blocks tripped up and silenced: is there not of prudence. Think of the heroism of something brave and spirited in such Johnson, think of that superb indifference a termination? and does not life go down to mortal limitation that set him upon with a better grace, foaming in full body his dictionary, and carried him through over a precipice, than miserably stragtriumphantly until the end! Who, if gling to an end in sandy deltas? (460 he were wisely considerate of things at When the Greeks made their fine saying large, would ever embark upon any work that those whom the gods love die young, much more considerable than a half- I cannot help believing they had this sort penny post-card? Who would project (410 of death also in their eye. For surely, a serial novel, after Thackeray and at whatever age it overtake the man, Dickens had each fallen in mid-course? this is to die young.
Death has not Who would find heart enough to begin been suffered to take so much as an illuto live, if he dallied with the considera- sion from his heart. In the hot-fit of life, tion of death?
a-tiptoe on the highest point of being, And, after all, what sorry and pitiful he passes at a bound on to the other (470 quibbling all this is! To forego all the side. The noise of the mallet and chisel issues of living in a parlor with a regu- is scarcely quenched, the trumpets are lated temperature-as if that were not hardly done blowing, when, trailing with to die a hundred times over, and for [420 him clouds of glory, this happy-starred, ten years at a stretch! As if it were not full-blooded spirit shoots into the spiritual to die in one's own lifetime, and without land. even the sad immunities of death! As if it were not to die, and yet be the patient spectators of our own pitiable change! The Permanent Possibility is preserved, ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE but the sensations carefully held at arm's
(1837-1909) length, as if one kept a photographic plate in a dark chamber. It is better to THE GARDEN OF PROSERPINE lose health like a spendthrift than to (430 waste it like a miser. It is better to live Here, where the world is quiet, and be done with it, than to die daily in Here, where all trouble seems the sick-room. By all means begin your Dead winds' and spent waves' riot folio; even if the doctor does not give
In doubtful dreams of dreams; you a year, even if he hesitates about a I watch the green field growing 5 month, make one brave push and see For reaping folk and sowing, what can be accomplished in a week. It For harvest-time and mowing, is not only in finished undertakings that A sleepy world of streams. we ought to honor useful labor. A spirit goes out of the man who means (440 I am tired of tears and laughter, execution, which outlives the most un
And men that laugh and weep; timely ending. All who have meant good Of what may come hereafter work with their whole hearts, have done
For men that sow to reap: good work, although they may die before I am weary of days and hours, they have the time to sign it. Every Blown buds of barren flowers, heart that has beat strong and cheerfully Desires and dreams and powers 15 has left a hopeful impulse behind it in And everything but sleep. the world, and bettered the tradition of mankind. And
if death catch Here life has death for neighbor, people, like an open pitfall, and in (450 And far from eye or ear mid-career, laying out vast projects, and Wan waves and wet winds labor, planning monstrous foundations, flushed Weak ships and spirits steer;
With a noise of winds and many rivers, The ivy falls with the Bacchanal's hair
With clamor of waters, and with might; Over her eyebrows hiding her eyes; 50 Bind on thy sandals, 0 thou most fleet, The wild vine slipping down leaves bare Over the splendor and speed of thy feet; Her bright breast shortening into sighs; For the faint east quickens, the wan west The wild vine slips with the weight of its shivers,
leaves, Round the feet of the day and the feet But the berried ivy catches and cleaves of the night. To the limbs that glitter, the feet that
55 Where shall we find her, how shall we sing The wolf that follows, the fawn that flies.
to her, Fold our hands round her knees, and
BEFORE THE BEGINNING OF YEARS cling? O that man's heart were as fire and could Before the beginning of years spring to her,
There came to the making of man Fire, or the strength of the streams that Time, with a gift of tears; spring!
Grief, with a glass that ran; For the stars and the winds are unto her Pleasure, with pain for leaven;
5 As raiment, as songs of the harp-player; Summer, with flowers that fell; For the risen stars and the fallen cling Remembrance fallen from heaven, to her,
And madness risen from hell; And the southwest-wind, and the west- Strength without hands to smite; wind sing.
Love that endures for a breath;
Night, the shadow of light, For winter's rains and ruins are over, 25
And life, the shadow of death. And all the season of snows and sins; And the high gods took in hand The days dividing lover and lover,
Fire, and the falling of tears, The light that loses, the night that wins; | And a measure of sliding sand And time remembered is grief forgotten, 29 From under the feet of the years; And frosts are slain and flowers begotten, And froth and drift of the sea; And in green underwood and cover
And dust of the laboring earth; Blossom by blossom the spring begins. And bodies of things to be
In the houses of death and of birth; The full streams feed on flower of rushes, And wrought with weeping and laughter,
Ripe grasses trammel a traveling foot, And fashioned with loathing and love, The faint fresh flame of the young year With life before and after flushes
And death beneath and above, From leaf to flower and flower to fruit; For a day and a night and a morrow, 25 And fruit and leaf are as gold and fire, That his strength might endure for a And the oat is heard above the lyre,
span And the hoofèd heel of a satyr crushes With travail and heavy sorrow, The chestnut-husk at the chestnut- The holy spirit of man. root.
From the winds of the north and the And Pan by noon and Bacchus by night, south
Fleeter of foot than the fleet-foot kid, They gathered as unto strife; Follows with dancing and fills with de- They breathed upon his mouth, light
They filled his body with life; The Mænad and the Bassarid;
Eyesight and speech they wrought And soft as lips that laugh and hide
For the veils of the soul therein,
45 The laughing leaves of the trees divide, A time for labor and thought,
35 And screen from seeing and leave in A time to serve and to sin; sight
They gave him light in his ways, The god pursuing, the maiden hid. And love, and a space for delight,
In the air that our dead things infest It sees not what season shall bring to it A blast of the breath of the west,
Sweet fruit of its bitter desire; Till east way as west way is clear.
Few voices it hears yet sing to it, 80
Few pulses of hearts reaspire; Out of the sun beyond sunset,
Foresees not time, nor forehears From the evening whence morning shall | The noises of imminent years, be,
Earthquake, and thunder, and fire: 84 With the rollers in measureless onset,
With the van of the storming sea, When crowned and weaponed and curbWith the world-wide wind, with the less breath
40 It shall walk without helm or shield That breaks ships driven upon death, The bare burnt furrows and herbless With the passion of all things free,
Of war's last flame-stricken field,
Till godlike, equal with time, With the sea-steeds footless and frantic, It stand in the sun sublime,
90 White myriads for death to bestride In the godhead of man revealed. In the charge of the ruining Atlantic, 45
Where deaths by regiments ride, Round your people and over them With clouds and clamors of waters,
Light like raiment is drawn, With a long note shriller than slaughter's | Close as a garment to cover them On the furrowless fields world-wide, Wrought not of mail nor of lawn; 95
Here, with hope hardly to wear, With terror, with ardor and wonder, 50 Naked nations and bare
With the soul of the season that wakes Swim, sink, strike out for the dawn. When the weight of a whole year's thunder
In the tidestream of autumn breaks, Chains are here, and a prison,
55 If the God upon you be arisen, Take form and fire for our sakes.
How should our songs be the same?
How, in confusion of change,
Land, songs praising his name?
105 And the web of it who shall unravel Of all that peer on the plan;
60 God is buried and dead to us, Would fain grow men, but they grow Even the spirit of earth, not,
Freedom; so have they said to us And fain be free, but they know not
Some with mocking and mirth, One name for freedom and man.
Some with heartbreak and tears;
And a God without eyes, without ears, One name, not twain, for division;
Who shall sing of him, dead in the One thing, not twain, from the birth; 65
birth? Spirit and substance and vision,
Worth more than worship is worth; The earth-god Freedom, the lonely Unbeheld, unadored, undivined,
Face lightening, the footprint unshod, The cause, the center, the mind,
Not as one man crucified only, 115 The secret and sense of the earth.
Nor scourged with but one life's rod;
The soul that is substance of nations, Here as a weakling in irons,
Reincarnate with fresh generations; Here as a weanling in bands,
The great god Man, which is God. As a prey that the stake-net environs,
Our life that we looked for stands; But in weariest of years and obscurest 120 And the man-child naked and dear,
Doth it live not at heart of all things, Democracy, turns on us here
The one God and one spirit, a purest Eyes trembling with tremulous hands. Life, fed from unstanchable springs?