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O sister, sister, thy first-begotten !
55 The hands that cling and the feet that follow,
The voice of the child's blood crying yet, Who hath remembered me? who hath forgotten ? Thou hast forgotten, O summer swallow, But the world shall end when I forget. 60
A. C. SWINBURNE.
THE GARDEN OF PROSERPINE
Here, where the world is quiet ;
Here, where all trouble seems
In doubtful dreams of dreams ;
A sleepy world of streams.
I am tired of tears and laughter,
And men that laugh and weep;
For men that sow to reap :
And everything but sleep.
Here life has death for neighbour,
And far from eye or ear
Weak ships and spirits steer ;
And no such things grow here.
No growth of moor or coppice,
No heather-flower or vine, But bloomless buds of poppies,
Green grapes of Proserpine, Pale beds of blowing rushes, Where no leaf blooms or blushes Save this whereout she crushes
For dead men deadly wine.
Pale, without name or number,
In fruitless fields of corn,
All night till light is born ;
Comes out of darkness morn.
Though one were strong as seven,
He too with death shall dwell, Nor wake with wings in heaven,
Nor weep for pains in hell ; Though one were fair as roses, His beauty clouds and closes ; And well though love reposes,
In the end it is not well.
Pale, beyond porch and portal,
Crowned with calm leaves, she stands 50 Who gathers all things mortal
With cold immortal hands ;
55 From many times and lands.
She waits for each and other,
She waits for all men born ; Forgets the earth her mother,
The life of fruits and corn ;
And spring and seed and swallow
And flowers are put to scorn.
65 The old loves with wearier wings ; And all dead years draw thither,
And all disastrous things ; Dead dreams of days forsaken, Blind buds that snows have shaken, 70 Wild leaves that winds have taken,
Red strays of ruined springs. We are not sure of sorrow,
And joy was never sure ; To-day will die to-morrow;
75 Time stoops to no man's lure ; And love, grown faint and fretfúl, With lips but half regretful Sighs, and with eyes forgetful Weeps that no loves endure.
80 From too much love of living,
From hope and fear set free, We thank with brief thanksgiving
Whatever gods may be That no life lives for ever ;
85 That dead men rise up never ; That even the weariest river
Winds somewhere safe to sea. Then star nor sun shall waken, Nor any change of light :
90 Nor sound of waters shaken,
Nor any sound or sight : Nor wintry leaves nor vernal, Nor days nor things diurnal; Only the sleep eternal
95 In an eternal night.
A. C. SWINBURNE.
394 A FORSAKEN GARDEN In a coign of the cliff between lowland and highland,
Atthesea-down’sedge between windwardand lee, Walled round with rocks as an inland island,
The ghost of a garden fronts the sea.
5 The steep square slope of the blossomless bed Where the weeds that grew green from the graves of its roses
Now lie dead.
To the low last edge of the long lone land. 10 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 briers if a man make way He shall find no life but the sea-wind's, restless Night and day.
16 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.
20 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 ; 30 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
35 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
40 Heart handfast in heartas they stood, 'Lookthither,' Did he whisper ? look forth from the flowers
to the sea ; For the foam-flowers endure when the rose
blossoms wither, And men that love lightly may die--but we?' And the same wind sang and the same waves whitened,
45 And or ever the garden's last petals were shed, In the lips that had whispered, the eyes that had lightened,
Love was dead. 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, 51
As the rose-red seaweed that mocks the rose. Shall the dead take thought for the dead tolovethem?
What love was ever as deep as a grave ? They are loveless now as the grass above them, Or the wave.
56 All are at one now, roses and lovers,
Not known of the cliffs and the fields and the sea. Not a breath of the time that has been hovers
In the air now soft with a summer to be. 60 Not a breath shall there sweeten the seasons
hereafter Of the flowers or the lovers that laugh noworweep, When as they that are free now of weeping and laughter
We shall sleep.