Sunset and Moonrise

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Sunset and Moonrise
by Algernon Charles Swinburne
This poem is from the collection Astrophel and Other Poems, Book I of The Collected Poetical Works of Algernon Charles Swinburne, Vol. VI.


New Year's Eve, 1899

     All the west, whereon the sunset sealed the dead year's glorious
           grave
       Fast with seals of light and fire and cloud that light and fire
           illume,
       Glows at heart and kindles earth and heaven with joyous blush and
           bloom,
     Warm and wide as life, and glad of death that only slays to save.
     As a tide-reconquered sea-rock lies aflush with the influent wave
       Lies the light aflush with darkness, lapped about by lustrous
           gloom,
       Even as life with death, and fame with time, and memory with the
           tomb
     Where a dead man hath for vassals Fame the serf and Time the slave.

     Far from earth as heaven, the steadfast light withdrawn, superb,
           suspense,
       Burns in dumb divine expansion of illimitable flower:
     Moonrise whets the shadow's edges keen as noontide: hence and
           thence
       Glows the presence from us passing, shines and passes not the
           power.
     Souls arise whose word remembered is as spirit within the sense:
       All the hours are theirs of all the seasons: death has but his
           hour.