A Year After

A poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne

If blood throbs yet in this that was thy face,
O thou whose soul was full of devil's faith,
If in thy flesh the worm's bite slackeneth
In some acute red pause of iron days,
Arise now, gird thee, get thee on thy ways,
Breathe off the worm that crawls and fears not breath;
King, it may be thou shalt prevail on death;
King, it may be thy soul shall find out grace.
O spirit that hast eased the place of Cain,
Weep now and howl, yea weep now sore; for this
That was thy kingdom hath spat out its king.
Wilt thou plead now with God? behold again,
Thy prayer for thy son's sake is turned to a hiss,
Thy mouth to a snake's whose slime outlives the sting,

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