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The Garden of Proserpine

Yet another contest at dA, based on this poem. See it larger, and read the stock breakdown here


So I tried to include many of the details in the poem, like the dead man drinking the wine she presses from green grapes, and all of the dying poppy buds and the dead fields and dead lovers. I also researched the myth, and it seems that when she went into the underworld with Pluto, she ate nothing but 6 pomegranite seeds the whole time, so he agreed to let her out for 6 months at a time, hence the pomegranite I placed in her hand. She is holding the fruit in the famous painting by Rossetti.

Making this was alot of fun! Sorry about the watermark, though. I've been ripped to My Space a few times, and I'm just not going through that anymore.


The Garden of Proserpine by

Algernon Charles Swinburne


HERE, where the world is quiet,

Here, where all trouble seems

Dead windsand spent waves riot

In doubtful dreams of dreams;

I watch the green field growing

For reaping folk and sowing,

For harvest time and mowing,

A sleepy world of streams.


I am tired of tears and laughter,

And men that laugh and weep

Of what may come hereafter

For men that sow to reap:

I am weary of days and hours,

Blown buds of barren flowers,

Desires and dreams and powers

And everything but sleep.


Here life has death for neighbor,

And far from eye or ear

Wan waves and wet winds labor,

Weak ships and spirits steer;

They drive adrift, and whither

They wot not who make thither;

But no such winds blow hither,

And no such things grow here.


No growth of moor or coppice,

No heather-flower or vine,

But bloomless buds of poppies,

Green grapes of Proserpine,

Pale beds of blowing rushes

Where no leaf blooms or blushes,

Save this whereout she crushes

For dead men deadly wine.


Pale, without name or number,

In fruitless fields of corn,

They bow themselves and slumber

All night till light is born;

And like a soul belated,

In hell and heaven unmated,

By cloud and mist abated

Comes out of darkness morn.


Though one were strong as seven,

He too with death shall dwell,

Nor wake with wings in heaven,

Nor weep for pains in hell;

Though one were fair as roses,

His beauty clouds and closes;

And well though love reposes,

In the end it is not well.


Pale, beyond porch and portal,

Crowned with calm leaves, she stands

Who gathers all things mortal

With cold immortal hands;

Her languid lips are sweeter

Than love’s who fears to greet her

To men that mix and meet her

From many times and lands.


She waits for each and other,

She waits for all men born;

Forgets the earth her mother,

The life of fruits and corn;

And spring and seed and swallow

Take wing for her and follow

Where summer song rings hollow

And flowers are put to scorn.


There go the loves that wither,

The old loves with wearier wings;

And all dead years draw thither,

And all disastrous things;

Dead dreams of days forsaken

Blind buds that snows have shaken,

Wild leaves that winds have taken,

Red strays of ruined springs.


We are not sure of sorrow,

And joy was never sure;

To-day will die to-morrow

Time stoops to no man’s lure;

And love, grown faint and fretful

With lips but half regretful

Sighs, and with eyes forgetful

Weeps that no loves endure.


From too much love of living,

From hope and fear set free,

We thank with brief thanksgiving

Whatever gods may be

That no life lives for ever;

That dead men rise up never;

That even the weariest river

Winds somewhere safe to sea.


Then star nor sun shall waken,

Nor any change of light:

Nor sound of waters shaken,

Nor any sound or sight:

Nor wintry leaves nor vernal,

Nor days nor things diurnal;

Only the sleep eternal

In an eternal night.

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Taken on November 13, 2007