The Roundel

Original Text: 
Swinburne's Collected Poetical Works, 2 vols. (London: William Heinemann, 1924): II, 575.
2    With craft of delight and with cunning of sound unsought,
3That the heart of the hearer may smile if to pleasure his ear
4    A roundel is wrought.
5Its jewel of music is carven of all or of aught--
6    Love, laughter, or mourning--remembrance of rapture or fear--
7That fancy may fashion to hang in the ear of thought.
8As a bird's quick song runs round, and the hearts in us hear
9    Pause answer to pause, and again the same strain caught,
10So moves the device whence, round as a pearl or tear,
11    A roundel is wrought.


1] Swinburne writes Edward Byrne Jones on April 4, 1883: "I have got a tiny new book of songs or songlets, in one form and all manner of metres -- from 4-syllable to 18-syllable lines -- just coming out, of which Miss Rossetti has accepted the dedication. I hope you and Georgie will find something to like among a hundred poems of nine lines each, twenty-four of which are about babies or small children" (The Complete Works of Algernon Charles Swinburne, ed. Sir Edmund Gosse and Thomas James Wise [London: William Heinemann, 1926]: V, 13). Swinburne wrote A. H. Japp on June 22 of that year that he started "by writing on the spur of a moment those roundels on the death of a friend's infant child" (V, 27). Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
Publication Notes: 
Algernon Charles Swinburne, A Century of Roundels (London: Chatto and Windus, June 4, 1883): 63. end S956 C45 1883 Fisher Rare Book Library (Toronto).
RPO poem Editors: 
J. D. Robins
RPO Edition: 
2RP 2.638.