Atalanta In Calydon (Chorus)

by Algernon Charles Swinburne

Before the beginning of years, There came to the making of man Time, with a gift of tears; Grief, with a glas that ran; Pleasure, with pain for leaven; Summer, with flowers that fell; Remembrance fallen from heaven, And madness risen from hell; Strength without hands to smite; Love that endures for a breath; Night, the shadow of light, And life, the shadow of death. And the high gods took in hand Fire, and the falling of tears, And a measure of sliding sand From under the feet of the years; And froth and drift of the sea; And dust of the laboring earth; And bodies of things to be In the houses of death and birth; And wrought with weeping and laughter, And fashioned with loathing and love, With life before and after, And death below and above, For a day and a night and a morrow, That his strength might endure for a span, With travail and heavy sorrow, The holy spirit of man. From the winds of the north and the south, They gathered as unto strife; They breathed upon his mouth, They filled his body with life; Eyesight and speech they wrought For the veils of the soul therein, A time for labor and thought, A time to serve and to sin; They gave him light in his ways, And love, and a space for delight, And beauty and length of days, And night, and sleep in the night. His speech is a burning fire; With his lips he travaileth; In his heart is a blind desire, In his eyes foreknowledge of death; He weaves, and is clothed with derision; Sows, and he shall not reap; His life is a watch or a vision Between a sleep and a sleep.
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