Page:Some soldier poets.djvu/118
it up, as we often have been when Swinburne was not first rate. Did the magnolia bud of this large soul lodge a canker? Yet, though we can only surmise what his full-blown splendour might have been, he was ever so slightly opening; his latest sonnets are not only the most manifold, but deeper and almost fragrant.
- "Seeing you have not come with me, nor spent
- This day's suggestive beauty as we ought,
- I have gone forth alone and been content
- To make you mistress only of my thought."
- "I am the field of undulating grass
- And you the gentle perfume of the Spring,
- And all my lyric being, when you pass,
- Is bowed and filled with sudden murmuring."
- "For I have ever gone untied and free,
- The stars and my high thoughts for company;
- Wet with the salt spray and the mountain showers,
- I have had the sense of space and amplitude,
- And love in many places, silver-shoed,
- Has come and scattered all my path with flowers."
Four lines from two sonnets, six from a third, and you build up a new one richer and stronger than any of the three. For all these flashes are like the flap of a flame in a swirl of smoke; some pleasure in his own attitude, some self-assertion causes the momentary brilliance among the ever-flowing grey ghosts of scheduled ornament which make the bulk of a rhetorical style. But he has gentle, more promising moods.
- "There have been times when I could storm and plead,
- But you shall never hear me supplicate.
- These long months that have magnified my need
- Have made my asking less importunate;
- For now small favours seem to me so great
- That not the courteous lovers of old time
- Were more content to rule themselves and wait,
- Easing desire with discourse and sweet rhyme."