by Algernon Charles Swinburne

Some nine years gone, as we dwelt together
In the sweet hushed heat of the south French weather
      Ere autumn fell on the vine-tressed hills
Or the season had shed one rose-red feather,

Friend, whose fame is a flame that fills
All eyes it lightens and hearts it thrills
      With joy to be born of the blood which bred
From a land that the grey sea girds and chills

The heart and spirit and hand and head
Whose might is as light on a dark day shed,
      On a day now dark as a land's decline
Where all the peers of your praise are dead,

In a land and season of corn and vine
I pledged you a health from a beaker of mine
      But halfway filled to the lip's edge yet
With hope for honey and song for wine.

Nine years have risen and eight years set
Since there by the wellspring our hands on it met:
      And the pledge of my songs that were then to be,
I could wonder not, friend, though a friend should forget.

For life's helm rocks to the windward and lee,
And time is as wind, and as waves are we;
      And song is as foam that the sea-winds fret,
Though the thought at its heart should be deep as the sea.

Monadnock Valley Press > Swinburne