Note 8, Chapter 6, of the author's Swinburne's Medievalism: A Study in Victorian Love Poetry which Louisiana State University Press published in 1979. It has been included in the Victorian web with the kind permission of the author, who of course retains copyright.
For one of Swinburne's most explicit statements on religious matters, see his letter to D. G. Rossetti in 1869 (Letters, II, 43). This letter, of course, reflects the frame of mind Swinburne was in when he was writing Tristram's "Prelude". The later parts of the poem do not contradict but, rather, sanction and explicate his conception of an "absolute mystery," emphasizing its ultimate beneficence.
Last updated: June 2000