Home  »  Every Day in the Year A Poetical Epitome of the World’s History  »  In Memory of Walter Savage Landor

James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

September 17

In Memory of Walter Savage Landor

By Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837–1909)

  • A noted English poet and prose writer, who died Sept. 17, 1864.

  • BACK to the flower-town, side by side,

    The bright months bring,

    New-born, the bridegroom and the bride,

    Freedom and spring.

    The sweet land laughs from sea to sea,

    Filled full of sun;

    All things come back to her, being free;

    All things but one.

    In many a tender wheaten plot

    Flowers that were dead

    Live, and old suns revive; but not

    That holier head.

    By this white wandering waste of sea,

    Far north I hear

    One face shall never turn to me

    As once this year:

    Shall never smile and turn and rest

    On mine as there,

    Nor one most sacred hand be prest

    Upon my hair.

    I came as one whose thoughts half linger,

    Half run before;

    The youngest to the oldest singer

    That England bore.

    I found him whom I shall not find

    Till all grief end,

    In holiest age our mightiest mind,

    Father and friend.

    But thou, if anything endure,

    If hope there be,

    O spirit that man’s life left pure,

    Man’s death set free,

    Not with disdain of days that were

    Look earthward now;

    Let dreams revive the reverend hair,

    The imperial brow;

    Come back in sleep, for in the life

    Where thou art not

    We find none like thee. Time and strife

    And the world’s lot

    Move thee no more; but love at least

    And reverent heart

    May move thee, royal and releast,

    Soul, as thou art.

    And thou, his Florence, to thy trust

    Receive and keep,

    Keep safe his dedicated dust,

    His sacred sleep.

    So shall thy lovers, come from far,

    Mix with thy name

    As morning-star with evening-star

    His faultless fame.