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Poems And Ballads (First Series)

Algernon Charles Swinburne


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Tags: Poetry

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Description

Poems and Ballads was the first collection of poetry by English poet, Algernon Charles Swinburne. First published in 1866, the book was very popular in its time, but it was also very controversial due to it's themes of lesbianism, sado-masochism, and anti-theism. The poems have common motifs, such as the ocean, time, and death. They also include mentions of some historical figures, such as Sappho and Jesus. Four years after Swinburne's book came out, the word 'lesbianism' was used for the first time to refer to female homosexuality. This is the 'First Series' of Poems and Ballads. Swinburne followed up his success with a Second and Third series collection. Full chapter list

№ 69 in Anne Haight's List of Banned Books.

This book has 209 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1866.

Production notes: This edition of Poems And Ballads (First Series) was published by Global Grey ebooks on the 12th July 2021. The artwork used for the cover is 'Time and Tide' by Alfred Thompson Bricher.

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Excerpt from 'Poems And Ballads (First Series)'

Kneel down, fair Love, and fill thyself with tears,
Girdle thyself with sighing for a girth
Upon the sides of mirth,
Cover thy lips and eyelids, let thine ears
Be filled with rumour of people sorrowing;
Make thee soft raiment out of woven sighs
Upon the flesh to cleave,
Set pains therein and many a grievous thing,
And many sorrows after each his wise
For armlet and for gorget and for sleeve.

O Love’s lute heard about the lands of death,
Left hanged upon the trees that were therein;
O Love and Time and Sin,
Three singing mouths that mourn now underbreath,
Three lovers, each one evil spoken of;
O smitten lips wherethrough this voice of mine
Came softer with her praise;
Abide a little for our lady’s love.
The kisses of her mouth were more than wine,
And more than peace the passage of her days.

O Love, thou knowest if she were good to see.
O Time, thou shalt not find in any land
Till, cast out of thine hand,
The sunlight and the moonlight fail from thee,
Another woman fashioned like as this.
O Sin, thou knowest that all thy shame in her
Was made a goodly thing;
Yea, she caught Shame and shamed him with her kiss,
With her fair kiss, and lips much lovelier
Than lips of amorous roses in late spring.

By night there stood over against my bed
Queen Venus with a hood striped gold and black,
Both sides drawn fully back
From brows wherein the sad blood failed of red,
And temples drained of purple and full of death.
Her curled hair had the wave of sea-water
And the sea’s gold in it.
Her eyes were as a dove’s that sickeneth.
Strewn dust of gold she had shed over her,
And pearl and purple and amber on her feet.

Upon her raiment of dyed sendaline
Were painted all the secret ways of love
And covered things thereof,
That hold delight as grape-flowers hold their wine;
Red mouths of maidens and red feet of doves,
And brides that kept within the bride-chamber

Their garment of soft shame,
And weeping faces of the wearied loves
That swoon in sleep and awake wearier,
With heat of lips and hair shed out like flame.

The tears that through her eyelids fell on me
Made mine own bitter where they ran between
As blood had fallen therein,
She saying; Arise, lift up thine eyes and see
If any glad thing be or any good
Now the best thing is taken forth of us;
Even she to whom all praise
Was as one flower in a great multitude,
One glorious flower of many and glorious,
One day found gracious among many days:

Even she whose handmaiden was Love—to whom
At kissing times across her stateliest bed
Kings bowed themselves and shed
Pale wine, and honey with the honeycomb,
And spikenard bruised for a burnt-offering;
Even she between whose lips the kiss became
As fire and frankincense;
Whose hair was as gold raiment on a king,
Whose eyes were as the morning purged with flame,
Whose eyelids as sweet savour issuing thence.

Then I beheld, and lo on the other side
My lady’s likeness crowned and robed and dead.

Chapter List for 'Poems And Ballads (First Series)'

A Ballad Of Life
A Ballad Of Death
Laus Veneris
Phædra
The Triumph Of Time
Les Noyades
A Leave-Taking
Itylus
Anactoria
Hymn To Proserpine
Ilicet
Hermaphroditus
Fragoletta
Rondel
Satia Te Sanguine
A Litany
A Lamentation
Anima Anceps
In The Orchard
A Match
Faustine
A Cameo
Song Before Death
Rococo
Stage Love
The Leper
A Ballad Of Burdens
Rondel
Before The Mirror
Erotion
In Memory Of Walter Savage Landor
A Song In Time Of Order.⁠ 1852
A Song In Time Of Revolution.⁠ 1860
To Victor Hugo
Before Dawn
Dolores
The Garden Of Proserpine
Hesperia
Love At Sea
April
Before Parting
The Sundew
Félise
An Interlude
Hendecasyllabics
Sapphics
At Eleusis
August
A Christmas Carol
The Masque Of Queen Bersabe
St. Dorothy
The Two Dreams
Aholibah
Love And Sleep
Madonna Mia
The King's Daughter
After Death
May Janet
The Bloody Son
The Sea-Swallows
The Year Of Love
Dedication

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