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A Midsummer Holiday and Other Poems

A Midsummer Holiday and Other Poems
Category: Poetry
Title: A Midsummer Holiday and Other Poems
Release Date: 2006-05-19
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 25 March 2019
Count views: 38
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A

MIDSUMMER HOLIDAY

AND OTHER POEMS

BY

ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE

THIRD EDITION
London

CHATTO & WINDUS, PICCADILLY

1889

v

CONTENTS.

A MIDSUMMER HOLIDAY:—
I.THE SEABOARD3
II.A HAVEN6
III.ON A COUNTRY ROAD9
IV.THE MILL GARDEN12
V.A SEA-MARK16
VI.THE CLIFFSIDE PATH19
VII.IN THE WATER22
VIII.THE SUNBOWS27
IX.ON THE VERGE31
A NEW-YEAR ODE39
LINES ON THE MONUMENT OF GIUSEPPE MAZZINI66
LES CASQUETS70
A BALLAD OF SARK84
NINE YEARS OLD87
AFTER A READING94
viMAYTIME IN MIDWINTER100
A DOUBLE BALLAD OF AUGUST105
HEARTSEASE COUNTRY109
A BALLAD OF APPEAL112
CRADLE SONGS115
PELAGIUS122
LOUIS BLANC125
VOS DEOS LAUDAMUS128
ON THE BICENTENARY OF CORNEILLE132
IN SEPULCRETIS134
LOVE AND SCORN139
ON THE DEATH OF RICHARD DOYLE142
IN MEMORY OF HENRY A. BRIGHT143
A SOLITUDE144
VICTOR HUGO: L’ARCHIPEL DE LA MANCHE145
THE TWILIGHT OF THE LORDS147
CLEAR THE WAY!153
A WORD FOR THE COUNTRY156
A WORD FOR THE NATION167
A WORD FROM THE PSALMIST176
A BALLAD AT PARTING185
1
A MIDSUMMER HOLIDAY
To Theodore Watts
3
THE SEABOARD.
The sea is at ebb, and the sound of herutmost word
Is soft as the least wave’s lapse in a still small reach.
From bay into bay, on quest of a goal deferred,
From headland ever to headland and breach to breach
Where earth gives ear to the message that all days preach
With changes of gladness and sadness that cheer and chide,
The lone way lures me along by a chance untried
That haply, if hope dissolve not and faith be whole,
Not all for nought shall I seek, with a dream for guide.
The goal that is not, and ever again the goal.
4 The trackless ways are untravelled of sail or bird;
The hoar wave hardly recedes from the soundless beach.
The silence of instant noon goes nigh to be heard,
The viewless void to be visible: all and each,
A closure of calm no clamour of storm can breach
Concludes and confines and absorbs them on either side,
All forces of light and of life and the live world’s pride.
Sands hardly ruffled of ripples that hardly roll
Seem ever to show as in reach of a swift brief stride
The goal that is not, and ever again the goal.
The waves are a joy to the seamew, the meads to the herd,
And a joy to the heart is a goal that it may not reach.
No sense that for ever the limits of sense engird,
No hearing or sight that is vassal to form or speech,
Learns ever the secret that shadow and silence teach,
Hears ever the notes that or ever they swell subside,
5 Sees ever the light that lights not the loud world’s tide,
Clasps ever the cause of the lifelong scheme’s control
Wherethrough we pursue, till the waters of life be dried,
The goal that is not, and ever again the goal.
Friend, what have we sought or seek we, whate’er betide,
Though the seaboard shift its mark from afar descried,
But aims whence ever anew shall arise the soul?
Love, thought, song, life, but show for a glimpse and hide
The goal that is not, and ever again the goal.
6
A HAVEN.
East and north a waste of waters, southand west
Lonelier lands than dreams in sleep would feign to be,
When the soul goes forth on travel, and is prest
Round and compassed in with clouds that flash and flee
Dells without a streamlet, downs without a tree,
Cirques of hollow cliff that crumble, give their guest
Little hope, till hard at hand he pause, to see
Where the small town smiles, a warm still sea-side nest.
Many a lone long mile, by many a headland’s crest,
Down by many a garden dear to bird and bee,
7 Up by many a sea-down’s bare and breezy breast,
Winds the sandy strait of road where flowers run free.
Here along the deep steep lanes by field and lea
Knights have carolled, pilgrims chanted, on their quest,
Haply, ere a roof rose toward the bleak strand’s lee,
Where the small town smiles, a warm still sea-side nest.
Are the wild lands cursed perchance of time, or blest,
Sad with fear or glad with comfort of the sea?
Are the ruinous towers of churches fallen on rest
Watched of wanderers woful now, glad once as we,
When the night has all men’s eyes and hearts in fee,
When the soul bows down dethroned and dispossest?
Yet must peace keep guard, by day’s and night’sdecree,
Where the small town smiles, a warm still sea-side nest.
8 Friend, the lonely land is bright for you and me
All its wild ways through: but this methinks is best,
Here to watch how kindly time and change agree
Where the small town smiles, a warm still sea-side nest.
9
ON A COUNTRY ROAD.
Along these low pleached lanes, on sucha day,
So soft a day as this, through shade and sun,
With glad grave eyes that scanned the glad wild way,
And heart still hovering o’er a song begun,
And smile that warmed the world with benison,
Our father, lord long since of lordly rhyme,
Long since hath haply ridden, when the lime
Bloomed broad above him, flowering where he came.
Because thy passage once made warm this clime,
Our father Chaucer, here we praise thy name.
Each year that England clothes herself with May,
She takes thy likeness on her. Time hath spun
10 Fresh raiment all in vain and strange array
For earth and man’s new spirit, fain to shun
Things past for dreams of better to be won,
Through many a century since thy funeral chime
Rang, and men deemed it death’s most direful crime
To have spared not thee for very love or shame;
And yet, while mists round last year’s memories climb,
Our father Chaucer, here we praise thy name.
Each turn of the old wild road whereon we stray,
Meseems, might bring us face to face with one
Whom seeing we could not but give thanks, and pray
For England’s love our father and her son
To speak with us as once in days long done
With all men, sage and churl and monk and mime,
Who knew not as we know the soul sublime
That sang for song’s love more than lust of fame.
11 Yet, though this be not, yet, in happy time,
Our father Chaucer, here we praise thy name.
Friend, even as bees about the flowering thyme,
Years crowd on years, till hoar decay begrime
Names once beloved; but, seeing the sun the same,
As birds of autumn fain to praise the prime,
Our father Chaucer, here we praise thy name.
12
THE MILL GARDEN.
Stately stand the sunflowers, glowingdown the garden-side,
Ranged in royal rank arow along the warm grey wall,
Whence their deep disks burn at rich midnoon afire with pride,
Even as though their beams indeed were sunbeams, and the tall
Sceptral stems bore stars whose reign endures, not flowers thatfall.
Lowlier laughs and basks the kindlier flower of homelier fame,
Held by love the sweeter that it blooms in Shakespeare’sname,
13 Fragrant yet as though his hand had touched and made it thrill,
Like the whole world’s heart, with warm new life and gladdeningflame.
Fair befall the fair green close that lies below the mill!
Softlier here the flower-soft feet of refluent seasons glide,
Lightlier breathes the long low note of change’s gentlercall.
Wind and storm and landslip feed the lone sea’s gulfoutside,
Half a seamew’s first flight hence; but scarce may theseappal
Peace, whose perfect seal is set for signet here on all.
Steep and deep and sterile, under fields no plough can tame,
Dip the cliffs full-fledged with poppies red as love or shame,
14 Wide wan daisies bleak and bold, or herbage harsh and chill;
Here the full clove pinks and wallflowers crown the
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