Littell's Living Age/Volume 144/Issue 1863/Ode to Gautier

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Littell's Living Age by Algernon Charles Swinburne
Volume 144, Issue 1863 : Ode to Gautier

Ode to Gautier[edit]

Here, where the sunset of our year is red,
Men think of thee, as on the summer dead,
Gone forth before the snows, before thy day,
With unshod feet, with brows unchapleted.

Couldst thou not wait till age had wound, they say,
Round those wreathed brows his snow-white blossoms? Nay,
Why shouldst thou vex thy soul with this harsh air,
Thy bright-winged soul, once free to take its way?

Nor for men's reverence hadst thou need to wear
The holy flower of grey time-honored hair;
Nor were it fit that aught of thee grew old,
Fair lover all thy days of all things fair. …

Mixed with the masque of death's old comedy,
Though thou too pass, have here our flowers, that we,
For all the flowers thou gav'st, upon thee shed,
And pass not crownless to Persephone.

Blue lotus-blooms, and white, and rosy-red,
We wind with poppies for thy silent head,
And on the margin of the sundering sea,
Leave thy sweet light to rise upon the dead!