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A Dark Month by Algernon Charles Swinburne

A Dark Month

By Algernon Charles Swinburne

Taken from The Collected Poetical Works of Algernon Charles Swinburne (Vol. V)

THE COLLECTED POETICAL WORKS OF ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE

VOL. V

STUDIES IN SONG : A CENTURY OF ROUNDELS : SONNETS ON ENGLISH DRAMATIC POETS : THE HEPTALOGIA : ETC.

SWINBURNE'S POETICAL WORKS

I. POEMS AND BALLADS (First Series).

II. SONGS BEFORE SUNRISE, and SONGS OF TWO NATIONS.

III. POEMS AND BALLADS (Second and Third Series), and SONGS OF THE SPRING TIDES.

IV. TRISTRAM OF LYONESSE, THE TALE OF BALEN, ATALANTA IN CALYDON, ERECHTHEUS.

V. STUDIES IN SONG, A CENTURY OF ROUNDELS, SONNETS ON ENGLISH DRAMATIC POETS, THE HEPTALOGIA, ETC.

VI. A MIDSUMMER HOLIDAY, ASTROPHEL, A CHANNEL PASSAGE AND OTHER POEMS.

LONDON: WILLIAM HEINEMANN

STUDIES IN SONG : A CENTURY OF ROUNDELS : SONNETS ON ENGLISH DRAMATIC POETS : THE HEPTALOGIA : ETC.

By

Algernon Charles Swinburne

1917

LONDON: WILLIAM HEINEMANN

_First printed (Chatto), 1904_ _Reprinted 1904, '09, '10, '12_ _(Heinemann), 1917_

_London: William Heinemann, 1917_

A DARK MONTH

"La maison sans enfants!"--VICTOR HUGO.

I

A month without sight of the sun Rising or reigning or setting Through days without use of the day, Who calls it the month of May? The sense of the name is undone And the sound of it fit for forgetting.

We shall not feel if the sun rise, We shall not care when it sets: If a nightingale make night's air As noontide, why should we care? Till a light of delight that is done rise, Extinguishing grey regrets;

Till a child's face lighten again On the twilight of older faces; Till a child's voice fall as the dew On furrows with heat parched through And all but hopeless of grain, Refreshing the desolate places--

Fall clear on the ears of us hearkening And hungering for food of the sound And thirsting for joy of his voice: Till the hearts in us hear and rejoice, And the thoughts of them doubting and darkening Rejoice with a glad thing found.

When the heart of our gladness is gone, What comfort is left with us after? When the light of our eyes is away, What glory remains upon May, What blessing of song is thereon If we drink not the light of his laughter?

No small sweet face with the daytime To welcome, warmer than noon! No sweet small voice as a bird's To bring us the day's first words! Mid May for us here is not Maytime: No summer begins with June.


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