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A Child's Laughter
Algernon Charles Swinburne

All the bells of heaven may ring,
All the birds of heaven may sing,
All the wells on earth may spring,
All the winds on earth may bring
All sweet sounds together—
Sweeter far than all things heard,
Hand of harper, tone of bird,
Sound of woods at sundawn stirred,
Welling water’s winsome word,
Wind in warm wan weather,
One thing yet there is, that none
Hearing ere its chime be done
Knows not well the sweetest one
Heard of man beneath the sun,
Hoped in heaven hereafter;
Soft and strong and loud and light,
Very sound of very light
Heard from morning’s rosiest height,
When the soul of all delight
Fills a child’s clear laughter.
Golden bells of welcome rolled
Never forth such notes, nor told
Hours so blithe in tones so bold,
As the radiant mouth of gold
Here that rings forth heaven.
If the golden-crested wren
Were a nightingale—why, then,
Something seen and heard of men
Might be half as sweet as when
Laughs a child of seven.
This poem is in the public domain.

Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837 - 1909) was an English poet, playwright, and critic born to a family of aristocrats. He began writing poetry in his midteens and eventually came to be revered by many as one of England’s most accomplished poets; his gifts for rhyme and meter were particularly strong. Through his bloodlines as well as his talent, Charles had ready access to England’s literary community, but his sometimes explicit lyrics, almost lifelong alcoholism, and unrestrained behaviour kept him from being universally admired.

Post New Comment:
Wilda Morris:
A beautiful poem. Is there a name for this form?
Posted 04/29/2013 10:05 AM
So true!
Posted 04/29/2013 08:51 AM
Ahhhh, the music.
Posted 04/29/2013 08:49 AM

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