A poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne

In Memory of Mrs. Thellusson.

Forth of our ways and woes,
Forth of the winds and snows,
A white soul soaring goes,
Winged like a dove:
So sweet, so pure, so clear,
So heavenly tempered here,
Love need not hope or fear her changed above:

Ere dawned her day to die,
So heavenly, that on high
Change could not glorify
Nor death refine her:
Pure gold of perfect love,
On earth like heaven’s own dove,
She cannot wear, above, a smile diviner.

Her voice in heaven’s own quire
Can sound no heavenlier lyre
Than here no purer fire
Her soul can soar:
No sweeter stars her eyes
In unimagined skies
Beyond our sight can rise than here before,

Hardly long years had shed
Their shadows on her head:
Hardly we think her dead,
Who hardly thought her
Old: hardly can believe
The grief our hearts receive
And wonder while they grieve, as wrong were wrought her.

But though strong grief be strong
No word or thought of wrong
May stain the trembling song,
Wring the bruised heart,
That sounds or sighs its faint
Low note of love, nor taint
Grief for so sweet a saint, when such depart.

A saint whose perfect soul,
With perfect love for goal,
Faith hardly might control,
Creeds might not harden:
A flower more splendid far
Than the most radiant star
Seen here of all that are in God’s own garden.

Surely the stars we see
Rise and relapse as we,
And change and set, may be
But shadows too:
But spirits that man’s lot
Could neither mar nor spot
Like these false lights are not, being heavenly true.

Not like these dying lights
Of worlds whose glory smites
The passage of the nights
Through heaven’s blind prison:
Not like their souls who see,
If thought fly far and free,
No heavenlier heaven to be for souls rerisen.

A soul wherein love shone
Even like the sun, alone,
With fervour of its own
And splendour fed,
Made by no creeds less kind
Toward souls by none confined,
Could Death’s self quench or blind, Love’s self were dead.

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