Sonnets on English Dramatic Poets (1590-1650): Thomas Middleton

A poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne

A wild moon riding high from cloud to cloud,
That sees and sees not, glimmering far beneath,
Hell’s children revel along the shuddering heath
With dirge-like mirth and raiment like a shroud:
A worse fair face than witchcraft’s, passion-proud,
With brows blood-flecked behind their bridal wreath
And lips that bade the assassin’s sword find sheath
Deep in the heart whereto love’s heart was vowed:
A game of close contentious crafts and creeds
Played till white England bring black Spain to shame:
A son’s bright sword and brighter soul, whose deeds
High conscience lights for mother’s love and fame:
Pure gipsy flowers, and poisonous courtly weeds:
Such tokens and such trophies crown thy name.

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