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Past Days

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



I.

Dead and gone, the days we had together,
Shadow-stricken all the lights that shone
Round them, flown as flies the blown foam's feather,
Dead and gone.

Where we went, we twain, in time foregone,
Forth by land and sea, and cared not whether,
If I go again, I go alone.

Bound am I with time as with a tether;
Thee perchance death leads enfranchised on,
Far from deathlike life and changeful weather,
Dead and gone.

II.

Above the sea and sea-washed town we dwelt,
We twain together, two brief summers, free
From heed of hours as light as clouds that melt
Above the sea.

Free from all heed of aught at all were we,
Save chance of change that clouds or sunbeams dealt
And gleam of heaven to windward or to lee.

The Norman downs with bright grey waves for belt
Were more for us than inland ways might be;
A clearer sense of nearer heaven was felt
Above the sea.

III.

Cliffs and downs and headlands which the forward-hasting
Flight of dawn and eve empurples and embrowns,
Wings of wild sea-winds and stormy seasons wasting
Cliffs and downs,

These, or ever man was, were: the same sky frowns,
Laughs, and lightens, as before his soul, forecasting
Times to be, conceived such hopes as time discrowns.

These we loved of old: but now for me the blasting
Breath of death makes dull the bright small seaward towns,
Clothes with human change these all but everlasting
Cliffs and downs.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:15 min read
121

Quick analysis:

Scheme abaC cab axaC dedE ede dedE fgfG gfg fgfG
Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 1,360
Words 251
Stanzas 9
Stanza Lengths 4, 3, 4, 4, 3, 4, 4, 3, 4

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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