Category Archives: music

Song, scandal, and a princess: We are not Sure of Sorrow (1898)

When I started this project, I would not have imagined Swinburne’s languid ‘The Garden of Proserpine’ from Poems and Ballads, First Series (1866) ever inspiring popular music, and certainly not the tone of this piece by Charles Paston-Cooper (1867-1941). Weary … Continue reading

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‘East to West’ by Charles Villiers Stanford (1893)

By far the most complex recreation I’ve attempted, this is a section of a setting by Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924) of Swinburne’s ‘East to West’. The lyrics were commissioned by Stanford for the ‘Chicago World’s Fair’ or the ‘Chicago Columbian … Continue reading

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‘The Hounds of Spring’

Muriel Elliot’s setting of Swinburne’s ‘When the Hounds of Spring’ from his Greek tragedy Atalanta in Calydon (1865), must have been hugely dramatic in performance, and not least at its premiere in the extraordinary venue of the Crystal Palace in 1906. The … Continue reading

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My Love, Mine Own, 1880

While I appear to have broken my rule about only including music set to Swinburne lyrics, this really is a special case. The lyrics were clearly inspired by Swinburne, and – as I can find no clue as to where they have … Continue reading

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Felise, 1878

This strange and slightly drunk waltz by Theophilus Marzials feels apt for the Swinburne poem from which he took the words – ‘Felise’, from Poems and Ballads, First Series (1866). It’s a poem about the ending of an affair, though … Continue reading

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Rondel – Kissing her Hair

This was the first piece of music to be inspired by one of Swinburne’s poems. From 1867, Walter Maynard’s Kissing Her Hair takes its name from the first line of Swinburne’s ‘Rondel‘, from Poems and Ballads (1866). Maynard was the pseudonym of Thomas W. Beale (1828-1894), a … Continue reading

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Ask Nothing More

Ask Nothing More, by the unconventional Theophilus Marzials (1850-1920), was a hugely successful song of the 1880s. The lyrics were taken from Swinburne’s ‘The Oblation‘ (Songs Before Sunrise, 1871). Marzials was also a poet, and wrote what has often been claimed as the … Continue reading

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