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Some Remarks on Baudelaire's Influence
upon Modern Poetry and Thought, Page 5

by Guy Thorne (1915).

Now let us come to Swinburne. If the following verses of "Laus Verneris" in "Ballads and Poems" are not directly derived from Baudelaire, I ask who indeed influenced the young Oxford poet in 1886?

"Me, most forsaken of all souls that fell ;
Me, satiated with things insatiable ;
Me, for whose sake the extreme hell makes mirth,
Yea, laughter kindles at the heart of hell.

"Alas thy beauty ! for thy mouth's sweet sake
My soul is bitter to me, my limbs quake
As water, as the flesh of men that weep,
As their heart's vein whose heart goes nigh to break.

"Ah God, that sleep with flower-sweet finger-tips
Would crush the fruit of death upon my lips ;
Ah God, that death would tread the grapes of sleep
And wring their juice upon me as it drips.

"There is no change of cheer for many days,
But change of chimes high up in the air, that sways
Rung by the running fingers of the wind ;
And singing sorrows heard on hidden ways."

"I dare not always touch her, lest the kiss
Leave my lips charred. Yea, Lord, a little bliss,
Brief, bitter bliss, one hath for a great sin ;
Natheless thou knowest how sweet a thing it is."


The verse of Swinburne is more musical, and has a wider range of imagery. But the passion is the same, the method is the same, and, for those who understand French as a Frenchman understands it, the "atmosophere" fails in the magic intensity that Baudelaire achieves.

This is one single instance. Those who are interested can pursue these comparisons between the two poets for themselves. They will be richly rewarded.

I have mentioned Walter Pater, that great artist in English who may be said to have succeeded Ruskin as the exponent of the most critical and refined thought of our time. When I say that he succeeded Ruskin I do not mean to imply that he has the slightest æsthetic affinity with the author of "Modern Painters." I only speak of him as having had as strong an influence upon later thought as Ruskin had upon his.


PAGE 5 OF 13.

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