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Last Amended: 27th October 2009

Algernon Charles Swinburne - 1837-1909

A. C. Swinburne

"... at twenty-seven he commanded attention by his "Atalanta in Calydon" and at twenty-eight he produced in "Chastelard" one of the finest and boldest poems published in this generation.

The next year his "Poems and Ballads" recognised and glorified so daringly and so powerfully that sexual passion which we are all agreed has been suppressed by Religion, Civilisation, and Parliamentary Government, that they were pronounced disgraceful and indecent and that the publisher withdrew them from circulation, thereby adding enormously to their sale and popularity...

For imagination, for variety and force of fleshly images, and for agility and ingenuity in the ordering of the bits of coloured glass of the poetic kaleidoscope, Mr. Swinburne has no equal. Himself by nature erotic, if not erotomaniac, he is the only modern poet of the flesh, as which he has appropriately reminded his contemporaries that there are still men and women in the world as well as church-goers and tax-payers...

Admirable in many great things he is lamentable in many small, sometimes merely a poet, he is often a seer and a revealer of deep-lying truths; and, taking him for all in all, is a figure of a man interesting, wonderful and admirable because he is quite unlike all other men."

Jehu Junior & APE

Take hands and part with laughter;
Touch lips and part with tears;
Once more and no more after,
Whatever comes with years.
We twain shall not remeasure
The ways that left us twain;
Nor crush the lees of pleasure
From sanguine grapes of pain.

We twain once well in sunder,
What will the mad gods do
For hate with me, I wonder,
Or what for love with you?
Forget them till November,
And dream there's April yet;
Forget that I remember,
And dream that I forget.

Time found our tired love sleeping,
And kissed away his breath;
But what should we do weeping,
Though light love sleep to death?
We have drained his lips at leisure,
Till there's not left to drain
A single sob of pleasure,
A single pulse of pain.

Dream that the lips once breathless
Might quicken if they would;
Say that the soul is deathless;
Dream that the gods are good;
Say March may wed September,
And time divorce regret;
But not that you remember,
And not that I forget.

We have heard from hidden places
What love scarce lives and hears:
We have seen on fervent faces
The pallor of strange tears:
We have trod the wine-vat's treasure,
Whence, ripe to steam and stain,
Foams round the feet of pleasure
The blood-red must of pain.

Remembrance may recover
And time bring back to time
The name of your first lover,
The ring of my first rhyme;
But rose-leaves of December
The frosts of June shall fret,
The day that you remember,
The day that I forget.

The snake that hides and hisses
In heaven we twain have known;
The grief of cruel kisses,
The joy whose mouth makes moan;
The pulse's pause and measure,
Where in one furtive vein
Throbs through the heart of pleasure
The purpler blood of pain.

We have done with tears and treasons
And love for treason's sake;
Room for the swift new seasons,
The years that burn and break,
Dismantle and dismember
Men's days and dreams, Juliette;
For love may not remember,
But time will not forget.

Life treads down love in flying,
Time withers him at root;
Bring all dead things and dying,
Reaped sheaf and ruined fruit,
Where, crushed by three days' pressure,
Our three days' love lies slain;
And earlier leaf of pleasure,
And latter flower of pain.

Breathe close upon the ashes,
It may be flame will leap;
Unclose the soft close lashes,
Lift up the lids, and weep.
Light love's extinguished ember,
Let one tear leave it wet
For one that you remember
And ten that you forget.

I don't claim to be artistic in the slightest - and I don't really read a lot of poetry - I neither understand or enjoy a lot of it - "I knows what I like, and I likes what I know". But I do have some favourites and "Rococo" has always been one of them. Thus, despite it's availability in so many other parts of the Web, I present it here.

Of course, there has to be a techie bit somewhere... this is really just a test page where I can test out font handling capabilities on any browsers that I think deserve it. In particular, if the browser's rendering engine can correctly handle the font-face property, then I can use pretty much any font I like, copyright issues notwithstanding. So I have written a trivial fragment of PHP to detemine if the browser is (probably) font-aware and to adjust the CSS accordingly. If the browser isn't font-aware, then I use True Font Family.

So, at the time of writing, I can natively use any font I like on the latest Safari & Chrome (Webkit), Opera (Presto) and Firefox (Trace Monkey) browsers, although Chrome needs a slight tweak to make it work - for some reason, font-face handling is turned off by default.

Unfortunately, Internet Explorer 8 and older don't (no surprises there, really), so I require TFF to render fonts properly. True Font Family is currently on version 1.4 and works easily, fast and well. Version 2, re-named to WebFontz has been in the pipeline for some time now but I fear Remon, the developer, may need to hurry it up a bit if he is not to be beaten to the post. It's only possible use, as far as I am concerned, is for handling IE browsers

In fact, Explorer can handle font-face so long as the declaration points to a font pprepared on MS's Embedded Open Type format - but the tool MS provide, WEFT, is very much long in the tooth and quite simple does not work on my WinXP machine. But I can use ttf2eot to achieve the same result and as soon as I have played with it a bit, I shall be enhancing this page to use .eot instead of True Font Family (or WebFontz) to see how I get on.

One possible use for True Font Family and WebFontz is their ability to "pretty" up the text with fancy effects such as shadows, background images and so on - so I might yet still find a use for this product even after IE becomes truly &font-face aware.

I have considered using sIFR for my font handling needs - regrettably, I found it to be rather difficult to install and use so I was well pleased to discover TFF.

For those who feel they have to know, the font I have used is Bitstream's Cataneo (I've no idea where it came from – it was on my computer, looked good to me and hence I used it.)


 Bill Parker 
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  Amended:- 27th October 2009
Review:- (whenever)
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