Algernon Charles Swinburne

(5 April 1837 - 10 April 1909 / London)

Sir William Gomm: Sonnets - Poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne

I.
AT threescore years and five aroused anew
To rule in India, forth a soldier went
On whose bright-fronted youth fierce war had spent
Its iron stress of storm, till glory grew
Full as the red sun waned on Waterloo.
Landing, he met the word from England sent
Which bade him yield up rule: and he, content,
Resigned it, as a mightier warrior’s due;
And wrote as one rejoicing to record
That ‘from the first’ his royal heart was lord
Of its own pride or pain; that thought was none
Therein save this, that in her perilous strait
England, whose womb brings forth her sons so great,
Should choose to serve her first her mightiest son.

II.

Glory beyond all flight of warlike fame
Go with the warrior’s memory who preferred
To praise of men whereby men’s hearts are stirred,
And acclamation of his own proud name
With blare of trumpet-blasts and sound and flame
Of pageant honour, and the titular word
That only wins men worship of the herd,
His country’s sovereign good: who overcame
Pride, wrath, and hope of all high chance on earth,
For this land’s love that gave his great heart birth.
O nursling of the sea-winds and the sea,
Immortal England, goddess ocean-born,
What shall thy children fear, what strengths not scorn,
While children of such mould are born to thee?


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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010



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