On an Old Roundel

English: East Dene, Bonchurch, Isle of Wight, ...

East Dene, Bonchurch, Isle of Wight, family home of the Victorian Poet – Algernon Charles Swinburne. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Algernon Charles Swinburne


 

TRANSLATED BY D. C. ROSSETTI FROM THE FRENCH OF VILLON

I.

Death, from thy rigour a voice appealed,
And men still hear what the sweet cry saith,
Crying aloud in thine ears fast sealed,
Death.

As a voice in a vision that vanisheth,
Through the grave’s gate barred and the portal steeled
The sound of the wail of it travelleth.

Wailing aloud from a heart unhealed,
It woke response of melodious breath
From lips now too by thy kiss congealed,
Death

II.

Ages ago, from the lips of a sad glad poet
Whose soul was a wild dove lost in the whirling snow,
The soft keen plaint of his pain took voice to show it
Ages ago.

So clear, so deep, the divine drear accents flow,
No soul that listens may choose but thrill to know it,
Pierced and wrung by the passionate music’s throe.

For us there murmurs a nearer voice below it,
Known once of ears that never again shall know,
Now mute as the mouth which felt death’s wave o’erflow it
Ages ago.

Extra Info:
From “A Century of Roundels”

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