Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
  PREVIOUS NEXT  
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
 
From “Rosamond”
 
Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837–1909)
 
 
Rosamond at Woodstock
 
 
  Rosamond.        Are you tir’d?
But I seem shameful to you, shame-worthy,
Contemnable of good women, being so bad,
So bad as I am. Yea, would God, would God,
I had kept my face from this contempt of yours.        5
Insolent custom would not anger me
So as you do; more clean are you than I,
Sweeter for gathering of the grace of God
To perfume some accomplish’d work in heaven?
I do not use to scorn, stay pure of hate,        10
Seeing how myself am scorn’d unworthily;
But anger here so takes me in the throat
I would speak now for fear it strangle me.
Here, let me feel your hair and hands and face;
I see not flesh is holier than flesh,        15
Or blood than blood more choicely qualified
That scorn should live between them. Better am I
Than many women; you are not over fair,
Nor delicate with some exceeding good
In the sweet flesh; you have no much tenderer soul        20
Than love is moulded out of for God’s use
Who wrought our double need; you are not so choice
That in the golden kingdom of your eyes
All coins should melt for service. But I that am
Part of the perfect witness for the world        25
How good it is; I chosen in God’s eyes
To fill the lean account of under men,
The lank and hunger-bitten ugliness
Of half his people; I who make fair heads
Bow, saying, “Though we be in no wise fair        30
We have touch’d all beauty with our eyes, we have
Some relish in the hand, and in the lips
Some breath of it,” because they saw me once;
I whose curl’d hair was as a strong stak’d net
To take the hunters and the hunt, and bind        35
Faces and feet and hands; a golden gin
Wherein the tawny-lidded lions fell,
Broken at ankle; I that am yet, ah yet,
And shall be till the worm hath share in me,
Fairer than love or the clean truth of God,        40
More sweet than sober customs of kind use
That shackle pain and stablish temperance;
I that have roses in my name, and make
All flowers glad to set their color by;
I that have held a land between twin lips        45
And turn’d large England to a little kiss;
God thinks not of me as contemptible;
And that you think me even a smaller thing
Than your own goodness and slight name of good,
Your special, thin, particular repute,—        50
I would some mean could be but clear to me
Not to contemn you.
 

CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUS NEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors