For the whole city and all the low-lying land Flames, and the soft air sounds with them that come; The gods give all these fruit of all their works. What thing is this for you to shout me down, What, for a man to grudge me this my life As it were envious of all yours, and I A thief of reputations? O children, what is this ye see? Pain becomes an impetus to create. Ah, to touch in the track Where the pine learnt to roam Cold girdles and crowns of the sea-gods, cool blossoms of water and foam! But this is, of course, the point: in this post-classical tragedy, the time is out of joint. But thou, O well-beloved, of all my days Bid it be fruitful, and a crown for all, To bring forth leaves and bind round all my hair With perfect chaplets woven for thine of thee. O death, a little, a little while, sweet death, Until I see the brand burnt down and die.
For what lies light on many and they forget, Small things and transitory as a wind o' the sea, I forget never; I have seen thee all thine years A man in arms, strong and a joy to men Seeing thine head glitter and thine hand burn its way Through a heavy and iron furrow of sundering spears; But always also a flower of three suns old, The small one thing that lying drew down my life To lie with thee and feed thee; a child and weak, Mine, a delight to no man, sweet to me. It is done now, shall I put back my day? Hard by the quarry, where they breathe, O queen. From a swamp, the boar attacks the hunters, and only after a fierce fight is it killed by Meleager. Wherefore I kissed and hid him with my hands, And covered under arms and hair, and wept, And feared to touch him with my tears, and laughed; So light a thing was this man, grown so great Men cast their heads back, seeing against the sun Blaze the armed man carven on his shield, and hear The laughter of little bells along the brace Ring, as birds singing or flutes blown, and watch, High up, the cloven shadow of either plume Divide the bright light of the brass, and make His helmet as a windy and wintering moon Seen through blown cloud and plume-like drift, when ships Drive, and men strive with all the sea, and oars Break, and the beaks dip under, drinking death; Yet was he then but a span long, and moaned With inarticulate mouth inseparate words, And with blind lips and fingers wrung my breast Hard, and thrust out with foolish hands and feet, Murmuring; but those grey women with bound hair Who fright the gods frighted not him; he laughed Seeing them, and pushed out hands to feel and haul Distaff and thread, intangible; but they Passed, and I hid the brand, and in my heart Laughed likewise, having all my will of heaven. Swinburne announced his admiration for Aeschylus and his disdain for Euripides. This is the only chorus in Atalanta that presents itself as song in the manner and metre of speech. He also wrote on , , and , and his elegy on the latter, Ave Atque Vale 1867—68 , is among his finest works.
But if toward any of you I am overbold That take thus much upon me, let him think How I, for all my forest holiness, Fame, and this armed and iron maidenhood, Pay thus much also; I shall have no man's love For ever, and no face of children born Or feeding lips upon me or fastening eyes For ever, nor being dead shall kings my sons Mourn me and bury, and tears on daughters' cheeks Burn, but a cold and sacred life, but strange, But far from dances and the back-blowing torch, Far off from flowers or any bed of man, Shall my life be for ever: me the snows That face the first o' the morning, and cold hills Full of the land-wind and sea-travelling storms And many a wandering wing of noisy nights That know the thunder and hear the thickening wolves-- Me the utmost pine and footless frost of woods That talk with many winds and gods, the hours Re-risen, and white divisions of the dawn, Springs thousand-tongued with the intermitting reed And streams that murmur of the mother snow-- Me these allure, and know me; but no man Knows, and my goddess only. Describing the effects and nature of this recomposition-in-performance is extraordinarily difficult, because the aesthetic sensations of music and prosody lie outside language. But what he will remoulds and discreates. Fire in the roofs, and on the lintels fire. Cry aloud, O thou kingdom, O nation, O stricken, a ruinous land. See also Swinburne and Lang : 60, 93—94, 102. Between two joys a grief grows unaware.
Unto each man his fate; Unto each as he saith In whose fingers the weight Of the world is as breath; Yet I would that in clamour of battle mine hands had laid hold upon death. Would God ye could carry me Forth of all these; Heap sand and bury me By the Chersonese Where the thundering Bosphorus answers the thunder of Pontic seas. The gods guard over us With sword and with rod; Weaving shadow to cover us, Heaping the sod, That law may fulfil herself wholly, to darken man's face before God. Praise be with men abroad; chaste lives with us, Home-keeping days and household reverences. Nay, both bite soft, but no whit softly mine. Then all the heroes drew sharp breath, and gazed, And smote not; but Meleager, but thy son, Right in the wild way of the coming curse Rock-rooted, fair with fierce and fastened lips, Clear eyes, and springing muscle and shortening limb-- With chin aslant indrawn to a tightening throat, Grave, and with gathered sinews, like a god,-- Aimed on the left side his well-handled spear Grasped where the ash was knottiest hewn, and smote, And with no missile wound, the monstrous boar Right in the hairiest hollow of his hide Under the last rib, sheer through bulk and bone, Peep in; and deeply smitten, and to death, The heavy horror with his hanging shafts Leapt, and fell furiously, and from raging lips Foamed out the latest wrath of all his life.
This angers Meleager's uncles, who believe that a woman from Arcadia should not be given the spoils of the hunt. And in air the clamorous birds, And men upon earth that hear Sweet articulate words Sweetly divided apart, And in shallow and channel and mere The rapid and footless herds, Rejoiced, being foolish of heart. I know not if I live; Save that I feel the fire upon my face And on my cheek the burning of a brand. The latter work was the first of a trilogy on Mary, queen of Scots, who held a peculiar fascination for him; Bothwell 1874 and Mary Stuart 1881 followed. For the stars and the winds are unto her As raiment, as songs of the harp-player; For the risen stars and the fallen cling to her, And the southwest-wind and the west-wind sing. Then were all the chief men of Greece gathered together, and among them Atalanta daughter of Iasius the Arcadian, a virgin, for whose sake Artemis let slay the boar, seeing she favoured the maiden greatly; and Meleager having despatched it gave the spoil thereof to Atalanta, as one beyond measure enamoured of her; but the brethren of Althaea his mother, Toxeus and Plexippus, with such others as misliked that she only should bear off the praise whereas many had borne the labour, laid wait for her to take away her spoil; but Meleager fought against them and slew them: whom when Althaea their sister beheld and knew to be slain of her son, she waxed for wrath and sorrow like as one mad, and taking the brand whereby the measure of her son's life was meted to him, she cast it upon a fire; and with the wasting thereof his life likewise wasted away, that being brought back to his father's house he died in a brief space, and his mother also endured not long after for very sorrow; and this was his end, and the end of that hunting.
Atalanta has grown up in the Arcadian wilderness, where she was reared by a female bear. Mountainous region of ancient Greece from which come some of the warriors—including the beautiful athletic, virginal Atalanta—who hunt the boar destroying Calydon. But thou, being armed and perfect for the deed, Abide; for like rain-flakes in a wind they grow, The men thy fellows, and the choice of the world, Bound to root out the tusked plague, and leave Thanks and safe days and peace in. Not as the bride's mouth when man kisses it. Far off ye come, and least in years of these, But lordliest, but worth love to look upon.
Longinus, whose Peri Hupsos is our sole surviving treatise on the sublime from antiquity, notoriously fails to define the sublime. Distorting what would likely be expressed by a traditional chorus, Swinburne manages to berate whatever gods may be—in a manner that reproduces the attitudes associated, for example, with Sophocles. Atalanta has grown up in the Arcadian wilderness, where she was reared by a female bear. Marion Wier's published doctoral dissertation, The Influence of Aeschylus and Euripides on the Structure and Content of Swinburne's Atalanta in Calydon and Erechtheus 1920 , initiated the contending appraisals. O that man's heart were as fire and could spring to her, Fire, or the strength of the streams that spring! The light of thy bosom as fire Between the wheel of the sun And the flying flames of the air? She is holier than all holy days or things, The sprinkled water or fume of perfect fire; Chaste, dedicated to pure prayers, and filled With higher thoughts than heaven; a maiden clean, Pure iron, fashioned for a sword, and man She loves not; what should one such do with love? Yet how to atone at all I know not, seeing the love of my born son, A new-made mother's new-born love, that grows From the soft child to the strong man, now soft Now strong as either, and still one sole same love, Strives with me, no light thing to strive withal; This love is deep, and natural to man's blood, And ineffaceable with many tears. Have they not given life, and the end of life? For the stars and the winds are unto her As raiment, as songs of the harp-player; For the risen stars and the fallen cling to her, And the southwest-wind and the west-wind sing.
It then becomes incumbent for Greek heroes to come from far and wide to hunt down the boar and kill it. Or drink not, are not thy lips dead for thirst? She has filled with sighing the city, And the ways thereof with tears; She arose, she girdled her sides, She set her face as a bride's; She wept, and she had no pity, Trembled, and felt no fears. The effect is subtle to our ears ironic mockery. Love thou the law and cleave to things ordained. What linguistic and psychological patterns add structure and balance? How art thou rent from us, Thou that wert whole, As with severing of eyelids and eyes, as with sundering of body and soul! Straightway the crown slid off and smote on earth, First fallen; and he, grasping his own hair, groaned And cast his raiment round his face and fell. Nor any man a man's mouth woman-tongued. Who hath given man speech? The first, for many I know not, being far off, the , couched with whom Sleeps the white sea-bred wife and silver-shod, Fair as fled foam, a goddess; and their son Most swift and splendid of men's children born, Most like a god, full of the future fame.