Algernon Charles Swinburne

Here you will find the Long Poem Four Songs Of Four Seasons of poet Algernon Charles Swinburne

Four Songs Of Four Seasons

 OUTSIDE the garden
 The wet skies harden;
 The gates are barred on
 The summer side:
 "Shut out the flower-time,
 Sunbeam and shower-time;
 Make way for our time,"
 Wild winds have cried.
 Green once and cheery,
 The woods, worn weary,
 Sigh as the dreary
 Weak sun goes home:
 A great wind grapples
 The wave, and dapples
The dead green floor of the sea with foam.

 Through fell and moorland,
 And salt-sea foreland,
 Our noisy norland
 Resounds and rings;
 Waste waves thereunder
 Are blown in sunder,
 And winds make thunder
 With cloudwide wings;
 Sea-drift makes dimmer
 The beacon's glimmer;
 Nor sail nor swimmer
 Can try the tides;
 And snowdrifts thicken
 Where, when leaves quicken,
Under the heather the sundew hides.

 Green land and red land,
 Moorside and headland,
 Are white as dead land,
 Are all as one;
 Nor honied heather,
 Nor bells to gather,
 Fair with fair weather
 And faithful sun:
 Fierce frost has eaten
 All flowers that sweeten
 The fells rain-beaten;
 And winds their foes
 Have made the snow's bed
 Down in the rose-bed;
Deep in the snow's bed bury the rose.

 Bury her deeper
 Than any sleeper;
 Sweet dreams will keep her
 All day, all night;
 Though sleep benumb her
 And time o'ercome her,
 She dreams of summer,
 And takes delight,
 Dreaming and sleeping
 In love's good keeping,
 While rain is weeping
 And no leaves cling;
 Winds will come bringing her
 Comfort, and singing her
Stories and songs and good news of the spring.

 Draw the white curtain
 Close, and be certain
 She takes no hurt in
 Her soft low bed;
 She feels no colder,
 And grows not older,
 Though snows enfold her
 From foot to head;
 She turns not chilly
 Like weed and lily
 In marsh or hilly
 High watershed,
 Or green soft island
 In lakes of highland;
She sleeps awhile, and she is not dead.

 For all the hours,
 Come sun, come showers,
 Are friends of flowers,
 And fairies all;
 When frost entrapped her,
 They came and lapped her
 In leaves, and wrapped her
 With shroud and pall;
 In red leaves wound her,
 With dead leaves bound her
 Dead brows, and round her
 A death-knell rang;
 Rang the death-bell for her,
 Sang, "is it well for her,
Well, is it well with you, rose?" they sang.

 O what and where is
 The rose now, fairies,
 So shrill the air is,
 So wild the sky?
 Poor last of roses,
 Her worst of woes is
 The noise she knows is
 The winter's cry;
 His hunting hollo
 Has scared the swallow;
 Fain would she follow
 And fain would fly:
 But wind unsettles
 Her poor last petals;
Had she but wings, and she would not die.

 Come, as you love her,
 Come close and cover
 Her white face over,
 And forth again
 Ere sunset glances
 On foam that dances,
 Through lowering lances
 Of bright white rain;
 And make your playtime
 Of winter's daytime,
 As if the Maytime
 Were here to sing;
 As if the snowballs
 Were soft like blowballs,
Blown in a mist from the stalk in the spring.

 Each reed that grows in
 Our stream is frozen,
 The fields it flows in
 Are hard and black;
 The water-fairy
 Waits wise and wary
 Till time shall vary
 And thaws come back.
 "O sister, water,"
 The wind besought her,
 "O twin-born daughter
 Of spring with me,
 Stay with me, play with me,
 Take the warm way with me,
Straight for the summer and oversea."

 But winds will vary,
 And wise and wary
 The patient fairy
 Of water waits;
 All shrunk and wizen,
 In iron prison,
 Till spring re-risen
 Unbar the gates;
 Till, as with clamor
 Of axe and hammer,
 Chained streams that stammer
 And struggle in straits
 Burst bonds that shiver,
 And thaws deliver
The roaring river in stormy spates.

 In fierce March weather
 White waves break tether,
 And whirled together
 At either hand,
 Like weeds uplifted,
 The tree-trunks rifted
 In spars are drifted,
 Like foam or sand,
 Past swamp and sallow
 And reed-beds callow,
 Through pool and shallow,
 To wind and lee,
 Till, no more tongue-tied,
 Full flood and young tide
Roar down the rapids and storm the sea.

 As men's cheeks faded
 On shores invaded,
 When shorewards waded
 The lords of fight;
 When churl and craven
 Saw hard on haven
 The wide-winged raven
 At mainmast height;
 When monks affrighted
 To windward sighted
 The birds full-flighted
 Of swift sea-kings;
 So earth turns paler
 When Storm the sailor
Steers in with a roar in the race of his wings.

 O strong sea-sailor,
 Whose cheek turns paler
 For wind or