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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Algernon Charles Swinburne 1837–1909

Hope and Fear


BENEATH the shadow of dawn’s aerial cope,

With eyes enkindled as the sun’s own sphere,

Hope from the front of youth in godlike cheer

Looks Godward, past the shades where blind men grope

Round the dark door that prayers nor dreams can ope,

And makes for joy the very darkness dear

That gives her wide wings play; nor dreams that fear

At noon may rise and pierce the heart of hope.

Then, when the soul leaves off to dream and yearn,

May truth first purge her eyesight to discern

What once being known leaves time no power to appal;

Till youth at last, ere yet youth be not, learn

The kind wise word that falls from years that fall—

“Hope thou not much, and fear thou not at all.”