Thursday, April 23, 2009

stencil #003 - algernon charles swinburne

Algernon Charles Swinburne in Northcote

a few days late...dymo/stencil tribute to Swinburne on the centenary of his death April 9, 1909

From "A Ballad of Burdens" (1866)
The burden of long living. Thou shalt fear
Waking, and sleeping mourn upon thy bed;
And say at night "Would God the day were here,"
And say at dawn "Would God the day were dead."
With weary days thou shalt be clothed and fed,
And wear remorse of heart for thine attire,
Pain for thy girdle and sorrow upon thine head;
This is the end of every man's desire.
The burden of much gladness. Life and lust
Forsake thee, and the face of thy delight;
And underfoot the heavy hour strews dust,
And overhead strange weathers burn and bite;
And where the red was, lo the bloodless white,
And where the day was, the likeness of the night;
This is the end of every man's desire.

Princes, and ye whom pleasure quickeneth,
Heed well this rhyme before your pleasure tire;
For life is sweet, but after life is death.
This is the end of every man's desire.

[Here's an unrehearsed reading of the poem in full by Gary Pansey."A tad on the overly melodramatic" according to one comment on YouTube. Personally, Gary's sharp intake of breath through the nose before he begins won me over. And if you make it to the end, listen for the perfectly timed kettle whistling for what I expect will be a much needed cuppa for Gary.]

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