Swinburne 7776

This is an octain form patterned on Algernon Charles Swinburne’s “Before Dawn.”

I simply named this form after it’s syllable pattern since Swinburne created several distinct octave forms.

It is:

Stanzaic: consisting of any number of octains.

Metered: Iambic Trimeter.

Rhyme pattern: aaabcccb, where only the b-rhymes are masculine.

Before Dawn by Algernon Charles Swinburne

SWEET LIFE, if life were stronger,

Earth clear of years that wrong her,

Then two things might live longer,

Two sweeter things than they;

Delight, the rootless flower,

And love, the bloomless bower;

Delight that lives an hour,

And love that lives a day.

From evensong to daytime,

When April melts in Maytime,

Love lengthens out his playtime,

Love lessens breath by breath,

And kiss by kiss grows older

On listless throat or shoulder

Turned sideways now, turned colder

Than life that dreams of death.

This one thing once worth giving

Life gave, and seemed worth living;

Sin sweet beyond forgiving

And brief beyond regret:

To laugh and love together

And weave with foam and feather

And wind and words the tether

Our memories play with yet.

Ah, one thing worth beginning,

One thread in life worth spinning,

Ah sweet, one sin worth sinning

With all the whole soul’s will;

To lull you till one stilled you,

To kiss you till one killed you,

To feed you till one filled you,

Sweet lips, if love could fill;

To hunt sweet Love and lose him

Between white arms and bosom,

Between the bud and blossom,

Between your throat and chin;

To say of shame—what is it?

Of virtue—we can miss it;

Of sin—we can but kiss it,

And it’s no longer sin:

To feel the strong soul, stricken

Through fleshly pulses, quicken

Beneath swift sighs that thicken,

Soft hands and lips that smite;

Lips that no love can tire,

With hands that sting like fire,

Weaving the web Desire

To snare the bird Delight.

But love so lightly plighted,

Our love with torch unlighted,

Paused near us unaffrighted,

Who found and left him free;

None, seeing us cloven in sunder,

Will weep or laugh or wonder;

Light love stands clear of thunder,

And safe from winds at sea.

As, when late larks give warning

Of dying lights and dawning,

Night murmurs to the morning,

“Lie still, O love, lie still;”

And half her dark limbs cover

The white limbs of her lover,

With amorous plumes that hover

And fervent lips that chill;

As scornful day represses

Night’s void and vain caresses,

And from her cloudier tresses

Unwinds the gold of his,

With limbs from limbs dividing

And breath by breath subsiding;

For love has no abiding,

But dies before the kiss;

So hath it been, so be it;

For who shall live and flee it?

But look that no man see it

Or hear it unaware;

Lest all who love and choose him

See Love, and so refuse him;

For all who find him lose him,

But all have found him fair.

Pasted from <http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/before-dawn-7/>

My example poem

Putting Decorum Before ‘Em (Swinburne 7776)

I turned and saw you staring
and knew you were comparing
my dress with girls more daring
than shyness lets me be.
Some say my clothes are fusty,
well it’s because I’m busty
and seem to make men lusty
when there’s too much to see.

While I’m too shy for posing
and chesty flesh exposing
I find myself supposing
that I could test the guys.
I’ll lean across the table
like Greta did with Gable
and see if you are able
to look me in the eyes.

© Lawrencealot – July 31, 2014

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Swinburne 7776

 

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