Algernon Charles Swinburne

(5 April 1837 - 10 April 1909 / London)

One Of Twain


One of twain, twin-born with flowers that waken,
Now hath passed from sense of sun and rain:
Wind from off the flower-crowned branch hath shaken
One of twain.

One twin flower must pass, and one remain:
One, the word said soothly, shall be taken,
And another left: can death refrain?

Two years since was love's light song mistaken,
Blessing then both blossoms, half in vain?
Night outspeeding light hath overtaken
One of twain.


Night and light? O thou of heart unwary,
Love, what knowest thou here at all aright,
Lured, abused, misled as men by fairy
Night and light?

Haply, where thine eyes behold but night,
Soft as o'er her babe the smile of Mary
Light breaks flowerwise into new-born sight.

What though night of light to thee be chary?
What though stars of hope like flowers take flight?
Seest thou all things here, where all see vary
Night and light?

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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