Note the p1c compliance :) [in the next, actually - result of renumbering --sitaram] [Lines split into two to fit the display. [not any more --sitaram]]
(Poem #99) Nephelidia
From the depth of the dreamy decline of the dawn through a notable nimbus of nebulous noonshine, Pallid and pink as the palm of the flag-flower that flickers with fear of the flies as they float, Are they looks of our lovers that lustrously lean from a marvel of mystic miraculous moonshine, These that we feel in the blood of our blushes that thicken and threaten with throbs through the throat? Thicken and thrill as a theatre thronged at appeal of an actor's appalled agitation, Fainter with fear of the fires of the future than pale with the promise of pride in the past; Flushed with the famishing fullness of fever that reddens with radiance of rathe recreation, Gaunt as the ghastliest of glimpses that gleam through the gloom of the gloaming when ghosts go aghast? Nay, for the nick of the tick of the time is a tremulous touch on the temples of terror, Strained as the sinews yet strenuous with strife of the dead who is dumb as the dust-heaps of death: Surely no soul is it, sweet as the spasm of erotic emotional exquisite error, Bathed in the balms of beatified bliss, beatific itself by beatitude's breath. Surely no spirit or sense of a soul that was soft to the spirit and soul of our senses Sweetens the stress of suspiring suspicion that sobs in the semblance and sound of a sigh; Only this oracle opens Olympian, in mystical moods and triangular tenses-- "Life is the lust of a lamp for the light that is dark till the dawn of the day when we die. Mild is the mirk and monotonous music of memory, melodiously mute as it may be, While the hope in the heart of a hero is bruised by the breach of men's rapiers, resigned to the rod; Made meek as a mother whose bosom-beats bound with the bliss-bringing bulk of a balm-breathing baby, As they grope through the grave-yard of creeds, under skies growing green at a groan for the grimness of God. Blank is the book of his bounty beholden of old, and its binding is blacker than bluer: Out of blue into black is the scheme of the skies, and their dews are the wine of the bloodshed of things; Till the darkling desire of delight shall be free as a fawn that is freed from the fangs that pursue her, Till the heart-beats of hell shall be hushed by a hymn from the hunt that has harried the kennel of kings.
This marvellous piece of amphigouri was a deliberate self-parody by Swinburne, capturing his style, with its complex metres and abundant alliteration, perfectly. While meaning precisely nothing, it nonetheless manages to be an altogether delightful trip through the intricate interplay of sounds and patterns. It also manages to have some wonderfully quotable bits that hover tantalisingly on the edge of meaning.  Amphigouri: A verse composition which, while apparently coherent, contains no sense or meaning. 'Nephelidia' is usually cited as an example. m. Biography and Assessment: Swinburne, Algernon Charles b. April 5, 1837, London d. April 10, 1909, Putney, London English poet and critic, outstanding for prosodic innovations and noteworthy as the symbol of mid-Victorian poetic revolt. The characteristic qualities of his verse are insistent alliteration, unflagging rhythmic energy, sheer melodiousness, great variation of pace and stress, effortless expansion of a given theme, and evocative if rather imprecise use of imagery. His poetic style is highly individual and his command of word-colour and word-music striking. Swinburne's technical gifts and capacity for prosodic invention were extraordinary, but too often his poems' remorseless rhythms have a narcotic effect, and he has been accused of paying more attention to the melody of words than to their meaning. Swinburne was pagan in his sympathies and passionately antitheist. -- EB