Richard Hovey

(1864-1900 / United States)

Sonnets To: Swinburne - Poem by Richard Hovey

POET! thou art to me a faery king
Dwelling in some weird place of witchery,
Some garden where unnumbered roses vie
In color with the hollyhocks that spring
On every side in scarlet wantoning
And lilies'neath the gaudier herbage lie
And violets unclose their leaves near by
While stately sunflowers guard each opening.
And in that garden-realm magnificent
I often see thee walking-stopping now
To list to hollow murmurs, now to scent
Some flower's subtle perfume, wherein, pent,
A rich, rare pleasance lies that none but thou
And thy strange fellow-bard, the wind, can know.

Oft, too, I see thee on the rocky shore,
Worshipping all the infinitely strong
Grand godhead that to ocean doth belong,
Or prostrate with uncovered head before
The sun, whom even Ocean doth adore,
Who giveth speech to every poet's tongue,
Who is the only king and god of song,
From whom all bards receive their secret lore.
For thou art brother of the elements;
There is a spirit of kinship that compels
Your feet to stray in paths, where nothing dwells
Save the triune power that knows not death nor birth
But sways all nature in omnipotence-
Sea, wind and sun, the gods who rule the earth.

I, also standing where the white caps seem,
In inextinguishable laughter on the shore,
Forever tumbling and where, glancing o'er
The sandy beach, the sun-god's arrows gleam,
Bright as the swords of Eden's cherubim,

Here, on this coast mind-seen of bards of your
Atlantis, the lost world now found once more,
This land whereof the Hellene did dream-
I cast this sea-shell into the great sea
And all the old Greek spirit in me prays
To great Poseidon, whom we both adore,
To cast it up upon the other shore,
Where it may meet thine Apollonian gaze
And murmur sweetlier, being seen of thee.


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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010



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