Quaeritur

(SWINBURNE)





Dawn that disheartens the desolate dunes,
Dulness of day as it bursts on the beach,
Sea-wind that shrillest the thinnest of tunes,
What is the wisdom thy wailings would teach?
Far, far away, down the foam-frescoed reach,
Where ravening rocks cleave the crest of the seas,
Sigheth the sound of thy sonorous speech,
As grey gull and guillemot gather their fees;
Taking toll of the beasts that are bred in the seas.

Foam-flakes fly farther than faint eyes can follow—
Drop down the desolate dunes and are done;
Fleeter than foam-flowers flitteth the Swallow,
Sheer for the sweets of the South and the Sun.
What is thy tale, 0 thou treacherous Swallow?
Sing me thy secret, Beloved of the Skies,
That I may gather my garments and follow—
Flee on the path of thy pinions and rise
Where strong storms cease and the weary wind dies.

Lo! I am bound with the chains of my sorrow;
Swallow, swift Swallow, ah, wait for a while!
Stay but a moment-it may be to-morrow
Chains shall be severed and sad souls shall sinile!
Only a moment—a mere minute's measure—
How shall it hurt such a swift one as thou?
Pitiless Swallow, full flushed for thy pleasure,
Canst thou not even one instant allow
To weaker-winged wanderers? Wait for me now!