In Memory of Walter Savage Landor

By Algernon Charles Swinburne 1837–1909
Back to the flower-town, side by side,
         The bright months bring,
New-born, the bridegroom and the bride,
         Freedom and spring.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Poet Algernon Charles Swinburne 1837–1909

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Friends & Enemies, Living, Poetry & Poets, Relationships, Arts & Sciences, Sorrow & Grieving, Death

Occasions Funerals

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Elegy

 Algernon Charles Swinburne

Biography

Swinburne was one of the most accomplished lyric poets of the Victorian era and was a preeminent symbol of rebellion against the conservative values of his time. The explicit and often pathological sexual themes of his most important collection of poetry, Poems and Ballads (1866), delighted some, shocked many, and became the dominant feature of Swinburne's image as both an artist and an individual. Nevertheless, critics have . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Friends & Enemies, Living, Poetry & Poets, Relationships, Arts & Sciences, Sorrow & Grieving, Death

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Elegy

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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