From the triumph of time
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FROM THE TRIUMPH OF TIME. A.C SWINBURNE. Form and structure. 6 stanzas of a 49 stanza poem The form of his stanzas is an adaptation of the ottava rima Swinburne has placed the couplet in lines 5 & 6, with the pattern: ababccab . Iambic pentameter Poem was published in 1886

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FROM THE TRIUMPH OF TIME

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From the triumph of time

FROM THE TRIUMPH OF TIME

A.C SWINBURNE


Form and structure

Form and structure

  • 6 stanzas of a 49 stanza poem

  • The form of his stanzas is an adaptation of the ottavarima

  • Swinburne has placed the couplet in lines 5 & 6, with the pattern: ababccab.

  • Iambic pentameter

  • Poem was published in 1886

  • Whose voice is speaking through this poem?

  • Who is being spoken to?


First impressions

First impressions

  • “The Triumph of Time”: a vindictive triumph, having taken away a loved one? Or a triumph of healing grief and wounds?

  • Narrator: someone who has lost a loved one.

  • Audience: a loved one


Analysis stanza 1

Analysis (Stanza 1)

  • Before our lives divide for ever, While time is with us and hands are free, (Time, swift to fasten and swift to severHand from hand, as we stand by the sea)I will say no word that a man might sayWhose whole life's love goes down in a day; For this could never have been; and never,Though the gods and the years relent, shall be. To become less strict/ harsh


Analysis stanza 2

Analysis (Stanza 2 )

  • Is it worth a tear, is it worth an hour,To think of things that are well outworn? Of fruitless husk and fugitive flower, dry external covering of fruits/seeds, esp. corn.The dream foregone and the deed forborne?Though joy be done with and grief be vain,Time shall not sever us wholly in twain; Earth is not spoilt for a single shower;But the rain has ruined the ungrown corn.


Analysis stanza 3

Analysis (Stanza 3)

  • It will grow not again, this fruit of my heart,Smitten with sunbeams, ruined with rain.The singing seasons divide and depart,Winter and summer depart in twain.It will grow not again, it is ruined at root,The bloodlike blossom, the dull red fruit;Though the heart yet sickens, the lips yet smart,With sullen savour of poisonous pain.


Analysis stanza 4

Analysis (Stanza 4)

  • I have given no man of my fruit to eat;I trod the grapes, I have drunken the wine.Had you eaten and drunken and found it sweet,This wild new growth of the corn and vine,This wine and bread without lees or leaven, We had grown as gods, as the gods in heaven,Souls fair to look upon, goodly to greet,One splendid spirit, your soul and mine.


Analysis stanza 5

Analysis (Stanza 5)

  • In the change of years, in the coil of things, In the clamour and rumour of life to be,We, drinking love at the furthest springs,Covered with love as a covering tree,We had grown as gods, as the gods above,Filled from the heart to the lips with love,Held fast in his hands, clothed warm with his wings,O love, my love, had you loved but me!


Analysis stanza 6

Analysis (Stanza 6)

  • We had stood as the sure stars stand, and movedAs the moon moves, loving the world; and seenGrief collapse as a thing disproved,Death consume as a thing unclean.Twain halves of a perfect heart, made fastSoul to soul while the years fell past;Had you loved me once, as you have not loved;Had the chance been with us that has not been.


Themes

Themes

  • Themes: time; eternal soul/love; nature; Religion; Unrequited love; a lament for what might have (and should have) been; the separation of two souls perfect for each other; Time making life go on...


Use of imagery

Use of imagery

  • Winter and Summer: possibly symbolising the two lovers who “depart in twain.”

  • Personification of love: “held fast in his hands, clothed warm in his wings” portrayed as a protector, providing comfort and safety to the two lovers.

  • We see that the poet is just picturing ideals in the last line that stanza: “O love, my love, had you loved but me!” - an exclamation of desire and grief.

  • Similies: “stood as the sure stars stand” but also “moved as the moon moves”. Stars are fixed, but the moon shifts position. Stars and Moon symbolises trust: “sure stars stand”, and benevolence: “loving the world”, and also the two are the most prevalent elements of the night, eternal and beautiful, and again, Swinburne portrays his love as otherworldly. And also, while they had “stood” and “moved”, the stars and moon “stand” and “moves” – they are eternal.


Poet s background

Poet’s background

  • Algernon Charles Swinburne was born in Grosvenor Place, London, 1837.

  • He was part of the British aristocracy

  • Educated at Oxford University.

  • Died in 1909 from influenza.


Essay question

ESSAY QUESTION

  • With close reference to this poem, discuss how Swinburne presents his attitude to the loss of love.

  • DEADLINE: TUESDAY, 29TH MAY 2012


References

References

  • www.victorianweb.com


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