the green Rhineland where thy spirit wrought

Thou art the eye of this blind body of man,
The tongue of this dumb people; shalt thou not
See, shalt thou speak not for them? Time is wan
And hope is weak with waiting, and swift thought
Hath lost the wings at heel wherewith he ran,
And on the red pit’s edge sits down distraught
To talk with death of days republican
And dreams and fights long since dreamt out and fought;

OF the last hope that drew
To that red edge anew
The firewhite faith of Poland without spot;
Of the blind Russian might,
And fire that is not light;
Of the green Rhineland where thy spirit wrought;
But though time, hope, and memory tire,
Canst thou wax dark as they do, thou whose light is fire?

(Algernon Charles Swinburne, Songs before sunrise : The Eve of revolution, 12)


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