Algernon Charles Swinburne

(5 April 1837 - 10 April 1909 / London)

George Chapman:Xi - Poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne

HIGH priest of Homer, not elect in vain,
Deep trumpets blow before thee, shawms behind
Mix music with the rolling wheels that wind
Slow through the labouring triumph of thy train:
Fierce history, molten in thy forging brain,
Takes form and fire and fashion from thy mind,
Tormented and transmuted out of kind:
But howsoe’er thou shift thy strenuous strain,
Like Tailor1 smooth, like Fisher2 swollen, and now
Grim Yarrington3 scarce bloodier marked than thou,
Then bluff as Mayne’s4 or broad-mouthed Barry’s5 glee ,
Proud still with hoar predominance of brow
And beard like foam swept off the broad blown sea,
Where’er thou go, men’s reverence goes with thee.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010

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