Tristram of Lyonesse and Other Poems


John Marston

Algernon Charles Swinburne

THE BITTERNESS of death and bitterer scorn
    Breathes from the broad-leafed aloe-plant whence thou
    Wast fain to gather for thy bended brow
A chaplet by no gentler forehead worn.
Grief deep as hell, wrath hardly to be borne,
    Ploughed up thy soul till round the furrowing plough
    The strange black soil foamed, as a black beaked prow
Bids night-black waves foam where its track has torn.
Too faint the phrase for thee that only saith
Scorn bitterer than the bitterness of death
    Pervades the sullen splendour of thy soul,
Where hate and pain make war on force and fraud
And all the strengths of tyrants; whence unflawed
    It keeps this noble heart of hatred whole.

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