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Journal Article

Swinburne's Poems and Ballads (1866)

Kerry McSweeney
Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900
Vol. 11, No. 4, Nineteenth Century (Autumn, 1971), pp. 671-685
Published by: Rice University
DOI: 10.2307/449830
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/449830
Page Count: 15
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Swinburne's Poems and Ballads (1866)
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Abstract

Present in a number of the 1866 Poems and Ballads are Swinburne's first non-dramatic statements of the themes and concerns that were to be developed more fully and somewhat more positively in his later poetry: natural process and its relation to man; death; and poetry's value in a world of change and mortality. Some poems show isolated instances of these concerns; "The Sundew" and "Itylus" present them more fully. In "Hymn to Proserpine," "Anactoria," and "Laus Veneris" these themes are more completely articulated. The first is Swinburne's most pessimistic statement on human life and poetry's value. But the other two poems, despite great obstacles, conclude by affirming poetry's value and nature's healing qualities, and both show a stoical determination to accept the circumstances of one's life as tolerable, whatever they may happen to be.

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