The Passing of the Hawthorn

A poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne

The coming of the hawthorn brings on earth
Heaven: all the spring speaks out in one sweet word,
And heaven grows gladder, knowing that earth has heard.
Ere half the flowers are jubilant in birth,
The splendour of the laughter of their mirth
Dazzles delight with wonder: man and bird
Rejoice and worship, stilled at heart and stirred
With rapture girt about with awe for girth.
The passing of the hawthorn takes away
Heaven: all the spring falls dumb, and all the soul
Sinks down in man for sorrow. Night and day
Forego the joy that made them one and whole.
The change that falls on every starry spray
Bids, flower by flower, the knell of springtime toll.

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