A Leave Taking by Algernon Charles Swinburne

“A Leave-Taking” is a poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne, published in his collection “Poems and Ballads” in 1866. The poem is a lament about a love affair that has come to an end and explores themes of loss, pain, and the passing of time.

The poem is written in the first person, and the speaker is addressing their lover, who has left them. The speaker reflects on the time they spent together and laments the passing of those happy days. They describe the world as a darker and colder place now that their lover is gone and express their longing to be reunited.

Throughout the poem, Swinburne uses rich and vivid imagery to convey the speaker’s emotions. He describes the leaves falling from the trees, the fading light of the sun, and the bitter winds blowing. These images create a sense of desolation and despair, and highlight the sense of loss that the speaker is experiencing.

Despite the sadness and pain expressed in the poem, there is also a sense of acceptance and resignation. The speaker recognizes that their lover is gone and that they must move on. They acknowledge that time will heal their wounds and that they will eventually find happiness again.

In the final stanza of the poem, the speaker reflects on the fleeting nature of love and the inevitability of change. They recognize that all things must come to an end and that the happy days they shared with their lover are now nothing more than memories. Despite this, the speaker expresses their hope that they will someday be reunited with their lover and that their love will be rekindled.

Overall, “A Leave-Taking” is a poignant and powerful poem that explores the themes of loss, pain, and the passing of time. Swinburne’s use of rich imagery and emotive language creates a vivid and evocative picture of the speaker’s emotions, and his reflections on the fleeting nature of love and the inevitability of change resonate with readers to this day.