Wan February with weeping cheer,
Whose cold hand guides the youngling year
Down misty roads of mire and rime,
Before thy pale and fitful face
The shrill wind shifts the clouds apace
Through skies the morning scarce may climb.
Thine eyes are thick with heavy tears,
But lit with hopes that light the year’s.
From Swinburne’s Collected Poetical Works (Heinemann, 1924)
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.
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