Algernon Charles Swinburne

(5 April 1837 - 10 April 1909 / London)

A Dialogue


I
DEATH, if thou wilt, fain would I plead with thee:
Canst thou not spare, of all our hopes have built,
One shelter where our spirits fain would be,
Death, if thou wit?

No dome with suns and dews impearled and gilt,
Imperial: but some roof of wildwood tree,
Too mean for sceptre's heft or swordblade's hilt.

Some low sweet roof where love might live, set free
From change and fear and dreams of grief or guilt;
Canst thou not leave life even thus much to see,
Death, if thou wilt?

II
Man, what art thou to speak and plead with me?
What knowest thou of my workings, where and how
What things I fashion? Nay, behold and see,
Man, what art thou?

Thy fruits of life, and blossoms of thy bough,
What are they but my seedlings? Earth and sea
Bear nought but when I breathe on it must bow.

Bow thou too down before me: though thou be
Great, all the pride shall fade from off thy brow,
When Time and strong Oblivion ask of thee,
Man, what art thou ?

III
Death, if thou be or be not, as was said,
Immortal; if thou make us nought, or we
Survive: thy power is made but of our dread,
Death, if thou be.

Thy might is made out of our fear of thee:
Who fears thee not, hath plucked from off thine head
The crown of cloud that darkens earth and sea.

Earth, sea, and sky, as rain or vapour shed,
Shall vanish; all the shows of them shall flee:
Then shall we know full surely, quick or dead,
Death, if thou be.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: death, sea, fear, grief, pride, change, power, tree, rain, sky, life, hope, dream

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (A Dialogue by Algernon Charles Swinburne )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  2. If, Rudyard Kipling
  3. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  4. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  5. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
  6. Daffodils, William Wordsworth
  7. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  8. Alone, Edgar Allan Poe
  9. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  10. And Then There Was Love, Sandra Feldman

Poem of the Day

poet Alfred Edward Housman

The time you won your town the race
We chaired you through the market-place;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
And home we brought you shoulder-high.

...... Read complete »

   

Member Poem

New Poems

  1. alphabet you two bucks you drive a truck, Mandolyn ...
  2. Open the floodgate.., veeraiyah subbulakshmi
  3. A Dream Of Death,, Luo Zhihai
  4. Feeling Your Spirit, Michael P. McParland
  5. Word, Birgitta Heikka
  6. Ganjaraja And His Associates/Ganjaraja W.., Bijay Kant Dubey
  7. Royal Presidio Chapel, Monterey California, Steven Federle
  8. the apple of my I, Prophmatt . . .
  9. And Then There Was Love, Sandra Feldman
  10. Sigh, Erwick Brandon
[Hata Bildir]