Death Poems: A Ballad Of Death - Poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne

Death poems from famous poets and best death poems to feel good. Most beautiful death poems ever written. Read all poems for death.


A Ballad Of Death - Poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne

Kneel down, fair Love, and fill thyself with tears,
Girdle thyself with sighing for a girth
Upon the sides of mirth,
Cover thy lips and eyelids, let thine ears
Be filled with rumour of people sorrowing;
Make thee soft raiment out of woven sighs
Upon the flesh to cleave,
Set pains therein and many a grievous thing,
And many sorrows after each his wise
For armlet and for gorget and for sleeve.

O Love's lute heard about the lands of death,
Left hanged upon the trees that were therein;
O Love and Time and Sin,
Three singing mouths that mourn now underbreath,
Three lovers, each one evil spoken of;
O smitten lips wherethrough this voice of mine
Came softer with her praise;
Abide a little for our lady's love.
The kisses of her mouth were more than wine,
And more than peace the passage of her days.

O Love, thou knowest if she were good to see.
O Time, thou shalt not find in any land
Till, cast out of thine hand,
The sunlight and the moonlight fail from thee,
Another woman fashioned like as this.
O Sin, thou knowest that all thy shame in her
Was made a goodly thing;
Yea, she caught Shame and shamed him with her kiss,
With her fair kiss, and lips much lovelier
Than lips of amorous roses in late spring.

By night there stood over against my bed
Queen Venus with a hood striped gold and black,
Both sides drawn fully back
From brows wherein the sad blood failed of red,
And temples drained of purple and full of death.
Her curled hair had the wave of sea-water
And the sea's gold in it.
Her eyes were as a dove's that sickeneth.
Strewn dust of gold she had shed over her,
And pearl and purple and amber on her feet.

Upon her raiment of dyed sendaline
Were painted all the secret ways of love
And covered things thereof,
That hold delight as grape-flowers hold their wine;
Red mouths of maidens and red feet of doves,
And brides that kept within the bride-chamber
Their garment of soft shame,
And weeping faces of the wearied loves
That swoon in sleep and awake wearier,
With heat of lips and hair shed out like flame.

The tears that through her eyelids fell on me
Made mine own bitter where they ran between
As blood had fallen therein,
She saying; Arise, lift up thine eyes and see
If any glad thing be or any good
Now the best thing is taken forth of us;
Even she to whom all praise
Was as one flower in a great multitude,
One glorious flower of many and glorious,
One day found gracious among many days:

Even she whose handmaiden was Love--to whom
At kissing times across her stateliest bed
Kings bowed themselves and shed
Pale wine, and honey with the honeycomb,
And spikenard bruised for a burnt-offering;
Even she between whose lips the kiss became
As fire and frankincense;
Whose hair was as gold raiment on a king,
Whose eyes were as the morning purged with flame,
Whose eyelids as sweet savour issuing thence.

Then I beheld, and lo on the other side
My lady's likeness crowned and robed and dead.
Sweet still, but now not red,
Was the shut mouth whereby men lived and died.
And sweet, but emptied of the blood's blue shade,
The great curled eyelids that withheld her eyes.
And sweet, but like spoilt gold,
The weight of colour in her tresses weighed.
And sweet, but as a vesture with new dyes,
The body that was clothed with love of old.

Ah! that my tears filled all her woven hair
And all the hollow bosom of her gown--
Ah! that my tears ran down
Even to the place where many kisses were,
Even where her parted breast-flowers have place,
Even where they are cloven apart--who knows not this?
Ah! the flowers cleave apart
And their sweet fills the tender interspace;
Ah! the leaves grown thereof were things to kiss
Ere their fine gold was tarnished at the heart.

Ah! in the days when God did good to me,
Each part about her was a righteous thing;
Her mouth an almsgiving,
The glory of her garments charity,
The beauty of her bosom a good deed,
In the good days when God kept sight of us;
Love lay upon her eyes,
And on that hair whereof the world takes heed;
And all her body was more virtuous
Than souls of women fashioned otherwise.

Now, ballad, gather poppies in thine hands
And sheaves of brier and many rusted sheaves
Rain-rotten in rank lands,
Waste marigold and late unhappy leaves
And grass that fades ere any of it be mown;
And when thy bosom is filled full thereof
Seek out Death's face ere the light altereth,
And say "My master that was thrall to Love
Is become thrall to Death."
Bow down before him, ballad, sigh and groan.
But make no sojourn in thy outgoing;
For haply it may be
That when thy feet return at evening
Death shall come in with thee.


Comments about A Ballad Of Death by Algernon Charles Swinburne

  • Rookie suunyyy (6/4/2018 6:46:00 PM)

    sick lad u should write anoter 2 (Report) Reply

    3 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Gold Star - 15,282 Points Sylvaonyema Uba (5/23/2018 5:39:00 AM)

    O love
    Thou knowest
    If she were god to see.

    Good delivery.

    SYLVA-ONYEMA UBA.
    (Report) Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Gold Star - 76,545 Points Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (11/20/2014 3:26:00 AM)

    Great poem on love and affection, the sadness, the life and all. A wonderful imaginative poem.I mostly like the para ten though the poem in general is very much interesting. (Report) Reply

    8 person liked.
    7 person did not like.
  • Rookie - 55 Points The Lastdon (11/20/2012 5:49:00 PM)

    very good poem, but let me add that, i have literature that is trly greatness and I would challenge any poet in the world to a competition, that is how confident i am. (Report) Reply

    6 person liked.
    22 person did not like.
  • Rookie Lola Montez (11/20/2012 8:55:00 AM)

    Yea, she caught Shame and shamed him with her kiss,
    With her fair kiss, and lips much lovelier
    Than lips of amorous roses in late spring.
    (Report) Reply

    8 person liked.
    10 person did not like.
  • Rookie Bodhi U (11/20/2011 1:48:00 PM)

    great..can ask for more (Report) Reply

    7 person liked.
    7 person did not like.
  • Rookie Christine Schmidt (11/20/2009 9:42:00 PM)

    Lots to say about this one-The love is shown by the length of this poem, content and repitition. Gold (deep meaning) is mentioned abundantly-royalty. In mondern day this poem maybe would have been expressed in half the words. Back then they had much more time to write and express, today we're so busy and multi-tasking, our attention spans never spend this much time on one thing...interesting to read poetry from eras-gone-by. (Report) Reply

    8 person liked.
    7 person did not like.
  • Rookie - 0 Points Michael Harmon (11/20/2009 8:59:00 AM)

    Though this star of the Victorian era shines less bright than Tennyson's, Browning's and Arnold's, it represents a massive talent in the realm of sound, as enamored of sound as of meaning, perhaps so much so that, on occasion, it leads to an overabundance not to be emulated in the modern era, with its preference for the plain style. (Report) Reply

    8 person liked.
    7 person did not like.
  • Rookie Kevin Straw (11/20/2009 7:12:00 AM)

    After 'Girdle thyself with sighing for a girth
    Upon the sides of mirth' I ceased to take this poem seriously.
    (Report) Reply

    6 person liked.
    10 person did not like.
  • Gold Star - 123,092 Points Ramesh T A (11/20/2009 1:58:00 AM)

    A rich exquisite poetry composed on the demise of angel of love sweeter than wine and rose born to love express deep sense of sorrow never to be replaced on the earth! (Report) Reply

    6 person liked.
    7 person did not like.
Read all 15 comments »
Death Poems
  1. 1. Let Me Die A Youngman's Death
    Roger McGough
  2. 2. And Death Shall Have No Dominion
    Dylan Thomas
  3. 3. Death Be Not Proud
    John Donne
  4. 4. Death Is Nothing At All
    Henry Scott Holland
  5. 5. Because I Could Not Stop For Death
    Emily Dickinson
  6. 6. Nothing But Death
    Pablo Neruda
  7. 7. A Refusal To Mourn The Death, By Fire, O..
    Dylan Thomas
  8. 8. A Dream Of Death
    William Butler Yeats
  9. 9. A Poet's Death Is His Life Iv
    Khalil Gibran
  10. 10. Father Death Blues
    Allen Ginsberg
  11. 11. Death Wants More Death
    Charles Bukowski
  12. 12. An Irish Airman Forsees His Death
    William Butler Yeats
  13. 13. Death
    Rainer Maria Rilke
  14. 14. A Death Blow Is A Life Blow To Some
    Emily Dickinson
  15. 15. The Death Of The Ball Turret Gunner
    Randall Jarrell
  16. 16. The Beauty Of Death Xiv
    Khalil Gibran
  17. 17. A City's Death By Fire
    Derek Walcott
  18. 18. Death Xxvii
    Khalil Gibran
  19. 19. A Funeral Poem On The Death Of C. E. An ..
    Phillis Wheatley
  20. 20. First Death In Nova Scotia
    Elizabeth Bishop
  21. 21. After Death
    Sara Teasdale
  22. 22. Death Leaves Us Homesick, Who Behind
    Emily Dickinson
  23. 23. Gacela Of The Dark Death
    Federico García Lorca
  24. 24. A Thought For A Lonely Death-Bed
    Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  25. 25. The Death Of Joy Gardner
    Benjamin Zephaniah
  26. 26. A Ballad Of Death
    Algernon Charles Swinburne
  27. 27. On The Death Of That Most Excellent Lady,
    Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz
  28. 28. The Death Of The Hired Man
    Robert Frost
  29. 29. On The Death Of A Young Lady Of Five Yea..
    Phillis Wheatley
  30. 30. Death &Amp; Fame
    Allen Ginsberg
  31. 31. Holy Sonnet X: Death Be Not Proud
    John Donne
  32. 32. Go Down, Death
    James Weldon Johnson
  33. 33. I Have A Rendezvous With Death
    Alan Seeger
  34. 34. Death Fugue
    Paul Celan
  35. 35. Love &Amp; Fame &Amp; Death
    Charles Bukowski
  36. 36. On The Death Of Anne Brontë
    Charlotte Brontë
  37. 37. For The Anniversary Of My Death
    William Stanley Merwin
  38. 38. Fugue Of Death
    Paul Celan
  39. 39. If Death Is Kind
    Sara Teasdale
  40. 40. On Death
    Anne Killigrew
  41. 41. Death
    Heinrich Heine
  42. 42. On Hearing Of A Death
    Rainer Maria Rilke
  43. 43. As At Thy Portals Also Death
    Walt Whitman
  44. 44. Death Stands Above Me, Whispering Low
    Walter Savage Landor
  45. 45. An Elegy On The Death Of Kenneth Patchen
    Lawrence Ferlinghetti
  46. 46. The Death Of The Flowers
    William Cullen Bryant
  47. 47. A Death-Bed
    Rudyard Kipling
  48. 48. A Satirical Elegy On The Death Of A Late..
    Jonathan Swift
  49. 49. Absence Disembodies—so Does Death
    Emily Dickinson
  50. 50. All But Death, Can Be Adjusted
    Emily Dickinson

Death Poems

  1. Death Be Not Proud

    Death be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe, For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow, Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee. From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee, Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow, And soonest our best men with thee doe goe, Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie. Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men, And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell, And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well, And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then? One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally, And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

  2. Let Me Die A Youngman's Death

    Let me die a youngman's death not a clean and inbetween the sheets holywater death not a famous-last-words peaceful out of breath death When I'm 73 and in constant good tumour may I be mown down at dawn by a bright red sports car on my way home from an allnight party Or when I'm 91 with silver hair and sitting in a barber's chair may rival gangsters with hamfisted tommyguns burst in and give me a short back and insides Or when I'm 104 and banned from the Cavern may my mistress catching me in bed with her daughter and fearing for her son cut me up into little pieces and throw away every piece but one Let me die a youngman's death not a free from sin tiptoe in candle wax and waning death not a curtains drawn by angels borne 'what a nice way to go' death

  3. And Death Shall Have No Dominion

    And death shall have no dominion. Dead man naked they shall be one With the man in the wind and the west moon; When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone, They shall have stars at elbow and foot; Though they go mad they shall be sane, Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again; Though lovers be lost love shall not; And death shall have no dominion. And death shall have no dominion. Under the windings of the sea They lying long shall not die windily; Twisting on racks when sinews give way, Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break; Faith in their hands shall snap in two, And the unicorn evils run them through; Split all ends up they shan't crack; And death shall have no dominion. And death shall have no dominion. No more may gulls cry at their ears Or waves break loud on the seashores; Where blew a flower may a flower no more Lift its head to the blows of the rain; Though they be mad and dead as nails, Heads of the characters hammer through daisies; Break in the sun till the sun breaks down, And death shall have no dominion.

  4. Because I Could Not Stop For Death

    Because I could not stop for Death- He kindly stopped for me- The Carriage held but just Ourselves- And Immortality. We slowly drove- He knew no haste And I had put away My labor and my leisure too, For His Civility- We passed the School, where Children strove At Recess- in the Ring- We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain- We passed the Setting Sun- Or rather- He passed us- The Dews drew quivering and chill- For only Gossamer, my Gown- My Tippet- only Tulle- We paused before a House that seemed A Swelling of the Ground- The Roof was scarcely visible- The Cornice- in the Ground- Since then- 'tis Centuries- and yet Feels shorter than the Day I first surmised the Horses' Heads Were toward Eternity-

  5. Death Is Nothing At All

    Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away to the next room. I am I and you are you. Whatever we were to each other, That, we still are. Call me by my old familiar name. Speak to me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without effect. Without the trace of a shadow on it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same that it ever was. There is absolute unbroken continuity. Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you. For an interval. Somewhere. Very near. Just around the corner. All is well. Nothing is past; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before only better, infinitely happier and forever we will all be one together with Christ.

[Report Error]