What is Death!

A poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne

Looking on a page where stood
Graven of old on old-world wood
Death, and by the grave’s edge grim,
Pale, the young man facing him,
Asked my well-beloved of me
Once what strange thing this might be,
Gaunt and great of limb.

Death, I told him: and, surprise
Deepening more his wildwood eyes
(Like some sweet fleet thing’s whose breath
Speaks all spring though nought it saith),
Up he turned his rosebright face
Glorious with its seven years’ grace,
Asking, What is death?

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