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The Heptalogia   By: (1837-1909)

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THE HEPTALOGIA

By Algernon Charles Swinburne

Taken from THE COLLECTED POETICAL WORKS OF ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE, VOL. V

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 SPRINGTIDES.

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

THE HEPTALOGIA

By

Algernon Charles Swinburne

1917

LONDON: WILLIAM HEINEMANN

First printed (Chatto), 1904 Reprinted 1904, '09, '10, '12 (Heinemann), 1917

London: William Heinemann, 1917

THE HEPTALOGIA

THE HIGHER PANTHEISM IN A NUTSHELL 373

JOHN JONES'S WIFE 375

THE POET AND THE WOODLOUSE 396

THE PERSON OF THE HOUSE 400

LAST WORDS OF A SEVENTH RATE POET 406

SONNET FOR A PICTURE 421

NEPHELIDIA 422

SPECIMENS OF MODERN POETS

THE HEPTALOGIA

OR

THE SEVEN AGAINST SENSE

A CAP WITH SEVEN BELLS

THE HIGHER PANTHEISM IN A NUTSHELL

One, who is not, we see: but one, whom we see not, is: Surely this is not that: but that is assuredly this.

What, and wherefore, and whence? for under is over and under: If thunder could be without lightning, lightning could be without thunder.

Doubt is faith in the main: but faith, on the whole, is doubt: We cannot believe by proof: but could we believe without?

Why, and whither, and how? for barley and rye are not clover: Neither are straight lines curves: yet over is under and over.

Two and two may be four: but four and four are not eight: Fate and God may be twain: but God is the same thing as fate.

Ask a man what he thinks, and get from a man what he feels: God, once caught in the fact, shows you a fair pair of heels.

Body and spirit are twins: God only knows which is which: The soul squats down in the flesh, like a tinker drunk in a ditch.

More is the whole than a part: but half is more than the whole: Clearly, the soul is the body: but is not the body the soul?

One and two are not one: but one and nothing is two: Truth can hardly be false, if falsehood cannot be true.

Once the mastodon was: pterodactyls were common as cocks: Then the mammoth was God: now is He a prize ox.

Parallels all things are: yet many of these are askew: You are certainly I: but certainly I am not you.

Springs the rock from the plain, shoots the stream from the rock: Cocks exist for the hen: but hens exist for the cock.

God, whom we see not, is: and God, who is not, we see: Fiddle, we know, is diddle: and diddle, we take it, is dee.

JOHN JONES'S WIFE

I

AT THE PIANO

I

Love me and leave me; what love bids retrieve me? can June's fist grasp May? Leave me and love me; hopes eyed once above me like spring's sprouts decay; Fall as the snow falls, when summer leaves grow false cards packed for storm's play!

II

Nay, say Decay's self be but last May's elf, wing shifted, eye sheathed Changeling in April's crib rocked, who lets 'scape rills locked fast since frost breathed Skin cast (think!) adder like, now bloom bursts bladder like, bloom frost bequeathed?

III

Ah, how can fear sit and hear as love hears it grief's heart's cracked grate's screech? Chance lets the gate sway that opens on hate's way and shews on shame's beach Crouched like an imp sly change watch sweet love's shrimps lie, a toothful in each.

IV

Time feels his tooth slip on husks wet from Truth's lip, which drops them and grins Shells where no throb stirs of life left in lobsters since joy thrilled their fins Hues of the prawn's tail or comb that makes dawn stale, so red for our sins!

V

Years blind and deaf use the soul's joys as refuse, heart's peace as manure, Reared whence, next June's rose shall bloom where our moons rose last year, just as pure: Moons' ends match roses' ends: men by beasts' noses' ends mete sin's stink's cure... Continue reading book >>




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