Algernon Charles Swinburne

(5 April 1837 - 10 April 1909 / London)

Monotones - Poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne

Because there is but one truth;
Because there is but one banner;
Because there is but one light;
Because we have with us our youth
Once, and one chance and one manner
Of service, and then the night;

Because we have found not yet
Any way for the world to follow
Save only that ancient way;
Whosoever forsake or forget,
Whose faith soever be hollow,
Whose hope soever grow grey;

Because of the watchwords of kings
That are many and strange and unwritten,
Diverse, and our watchword is one;
Therefore, though seven be the strings,
One string, if the harp be smitten,
Sole sounds, till the tune be done;

Sounds without cadence or change
In a weary monotonous burden,
Be the keynote of mourning or mirth;
Free, but free not to range;
Taking for crown and for guerdon
No man's praise upon earth;

Saying one sole word evermore,
In the ears of the charmed world saying,
Charmed by spells to its death;
One that chanted of yore
To a tune of the sword-sweep's playing
In the lips of the dead blew breath;

Therefore I set not mine hand
To the shifting of changed modulations,
To the smiting of manifold strings;
While the thrones of the throned men stand,
One song for the morning of nations,
One for the twilight of kings.

One chord, one word, and one way,
One hope as our law, one heaven,
Till slain be the great one wrong;
Till the people it could not slay,
Risen up, have for one star seven,
For a single, a sevenfold song.

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Read poems about / on: song, hope, faith, change, star, truth, people, heaven, world, death, light, night, rose

Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004

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