Algernon Charles Swinburne

Here you will find the Long Poem In the Bay of poet Algernon Charles Swinburne

In the Bay

 Beyond the hollow sunset, ere a star
 Take heart in heaven from eastward, while the west,
 Fulfilled of watery resonance and rest,
 Is as a port with clouds for harbour bar
 To fold the fleet in of the winds from far
 That stir no plume now of the bland sea's breast:II
 Above the soft sweep of the breathless bay
 Southwestward, far past flight of night and day,
 Lower than the sunken sunset sinks, and higher
 Than dawn can freak the front of heaven with fire, 
 My thought with eyes and wings made wide makes way
 To find the place of souls that I desire.III

 If any place for any soul there be,
 Disrobed and disentrammelled; if the might
 The fire and force that filled with ardent light
 The souls whose shadow is half the light we see,
 Survive and be suppressed not of the night;
 This hour should show what all day hid from me.IV

 Night knows not, neither is it shown to day,
 By sunlight nor by starlight is it shown,
 Nor to the full moon's eye nor footfall known,
 Their world's untrodden and unkindled way.
 Nor is the breath nor music of it blown
 With sounds of winter or with winds of May.V

 But here, where light and darkness reconciled
 Held earth between them as a weanling child
 Between the balanced hands of death and birth,
 Even as they held the new-born shape of earth
 When first life trembled in her limbs and smiled,
 Here hope might think to find what hope were worth.VI

 Past Hades, past Elysium, past the long
 Slow smooth strong lapse of Lethe--past the toil
 Wherein all souls are taken as a spoil,
 The Stygian web of waters--if your song
 Be quenched not, O our brethren, but be strong
 As ere ye too shook off our temporal coil;VII

 If yet these twain survive your worldly breath,
 Joy trampling sorrow, life devouring death,
 If perfect life possess your life all through
 And like your words your souls be deathless too,
 To-night, of all whom night encompasseth,
 My soul would commune with one soul of you.VIII

 Above the sunset might I see thine eyes
 That were above the sundawn in our skies,
 Son of the songs of morning,--thine that were
 First lights to lighten that rekindling air
 Wherethrough men saw the front of England rise
 And heard thine loudest of the lyre-notes there--IX

 If yet thy fire have not one spark the less,
 O Titan, born of her a Titaness,
 Across the sunrise and the sunset's mark
 Send of thy lyre one sound, thy fire one spark,
 To change this face of our unworthiness,
 Across this hour dividing light from dark.X

 To change this face of our chill time, that hears
 No song like thine of all that crowd its ears,
 Of all its lights that lighten all day long
 Sees none like thy most fleet and fiery sphere's
 Outlightening Sirius--in its twilight throng
 No thunder and no sunrise like thy song. XI

 Hath not the sea-wind swept the sea-line bare
 To pave with stainless fire through stainless air
 A passage for thine heavenlier feet to tread
 Ungrieved of earthly floor-work? hath it spread
 No covering splendid as the sun-god's hair
 To veil or to reveal thy lordlier head?XII

 Hath not the sunset shown across the sea
 A way majestical enough for thee?
 What hour save this should be thine hour--and mine,
 If thou have care of any less divine 
 Than thine own soul; if thou take thought of me,
 Marlowe, as all my soul takes thought of thine?XIII

 Before the morn's face as before the sun
 The morning star and evening star are one
 For all men's lands as England. O, if night
 Hang hard upon us,--ere our day take flight,
 Shed thou some comfort from thy day long done
 On us pale children of the latter light!XIV

 For surely, brother and master and lord and king,
 Where'er thy footfall and thy face make spring
 In all souls' eyes that meet thee wheresoe'er,
 And have thy soul for sunshine and sweet air--
 Some late love of thine old live land should cling,
 Some living love of England, round thee there.XV

 Here from her shore across her sunniest sea
 My soul makes question of the sun for thee,
 And waves and beams make answer. When thy feet
 Made her ways flowerier and their flowers more sweet
 With childlike passage of a god to be,
 Like spray these waves cast off her foemen's fleet.XVI

 Like foam they flung it from her, and like weed
 Its wrecks were washed from scornful shoal to shoal,
 From rock to rock reverberate; and the whole
 Sea laughed and lightened with a deathless deed
 That sowed our enemies in her field for seed
 And made her shores fit harbourage for thy soul.XVII

 Then in her green south fields, a poor man's child,
 Thou hadst thy short sweet fill of half-blown joy,
 That ripens all of us for time to cloy
 With full-bl