Swinburne, Algernon Charles – Ave Atque Vale [extracts]
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Algernon Charles Swinburne – Ave Atque Vale
Sleep, and if life was bitter to thee, pardon
If sweet, give thanks, thou hast no more to live;
And to give thanks is good, and to forgive.
Out of the mystic and the mournful garden
Where all day through thine hands in barren braid
Wove the sick flowers of secrecy and shade
Green buds of sorrow and sin, and remnants grey
Sweet smelling, pale with poison, sanguine hearted
Passions that sprang forth from sleep and thoughts that started
Shall death not bring us all as thee one day
Among the days departed?
Hath found any likeness for thy vision?
A gardener of strange flowers, what bud, what bloom
Hast thou found sown, what gathered in the gloom?
What of despair, of rapture, of derision
What of life is there, what of ill or good?
Are the fruits grey like dust or bright like blood?
Does the dim ground grow any seed of ours
The faint fields quicken any terrene root
In low lands where the sun and moon are mute
And all the stars keep silence?
Are there flowers at all
Or any fruit?