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Algernon Charles Swinburne

(5 April 1837 - 10 April 1909 / London)

Song Before Death: From the French


SWEET MOTHER, in a minute’s span
Death parts thee and my love of thee;
Sweet love, that yet art living man,
Come back, true love, to comfort me.
Back, ah, come back! ah wellaway!
But my love comes not any day.

As roses, when the warm West blows,
Break to full flower and sweeten spring,
My soul would break to a glorious rose
In such wise at his whispering.
In vain I listen; wellaway!
My love says nothing any day.

You that will weep for pity of love
On the low place where I am lain,
I pray you, having wept enough,
Tell him for whom I bore such pain
That he was yet, ah! wellaway!
My true love to my dying day.

Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010

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