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Had I Wist

Algernon Charles Swinburne 1837 (London) – 1909 (London)



Had I wist, when life was like a warm wind playing
Light and loud through sundawn and the dew's bright trust,
How the time should come for hearts to sigh in saying
'Had I wist' -

Surely not the roses, laughing as they kissed,
Not the lovelier laugh of seas in sunshine swaying,
Should have lured my soul to look thereon and list.

Now the wind is like a soul cast out and praying
Vainly, prayers that pierce not ears when hearts resist:
Now mine own soul sighs, adrift as wind and straying,
'Had I wist.'

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Algernon Charles Swinburne

Algernon Charles Swinburne was an English poet, playwright, novelist, and critic. He wrote several novels and collections of poetry such as Poems and Ballads, and contributed to the famous Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. Swinburne wrote about many taboo topics, such as lesbianism, cannibalism, sado-masochism, and anti-theism. His poems have many common motifs, such as the ocean, time, and death. Several historical people are featured in his poems, such as Sappho ("Sapphics"), Anactoria ("Anactoria"), Jesus ("Hymn to Proserpine": Galilaee, La. "Galilean") and Catullus ("To Catullus"). more…

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