Charlie Collingwood's Flogging
Charlie Collingwood's Flogging is one of the great flogging poems by Algernon Charles Swinburne, inspired by his experiences at Eton during the mid-nineteenth century. It was written under the pen name of "Etoniensis" as were all of Swinburne's birching poems. The theme of the poem is the public birching of a 17 year old senior boy, as seen from the perspective of a group of much younger Junior, or "Lower School" boys who are watching the proceedings.
In the Victorian era, erotic flagellation stories and poems were published in underground books and periodicals such as The Pearl. Poetry ascribed to Swinburne appeared in The Whippingham Papers (ca. 1888), edited by St. George H. Stock.
Charlie Collingwood's FloggingEdit
|“|| Seventeen years of age, with round limbs, and broad shoulders, tall, rosy and fair,
And all over his forehead and temples, a forest of curly red hair;
Good in the playing fields, good on the water, or in it, this lad;
Six days out of seven, or five at the least, he's sent up to be stripped;
For the marks of the birch on his bottom are more than the leaves on a tree,
When his shirt is turned up and his breeches, unbuttoned, hang down to his heels,
Ted Beauchamp, last year, began keeping a list of his floggings and he
And you see how this morning in front of the flogging block silent he stands,
Then he lifts his blue eyes to the face of the Master, nor shrinks at his frown,
Not a word Charlie Collingwood says, not a syllable, piteous or pert;
And again we can see his great naked red bottom, round, fleshy, and plump,
There are weals over weals, there are stripes upon stripes, there are cuts after cuts,
There, that cut on the fleshiest part of the buttocks, high up on the right,
And that scar that's just healed, don't you see where the birch cut the flesh?
And this morning you saw he could hardly sit down, or [be] quiet in church,
Now, look out, Master Charlie, it's coming; you won't get off this time, by God!
Such a jolly good rod, with the buds on, so stout, and so supple and lithe,
You've been birched till you say you don't care as you used for a birching! Indeed?
Though they say a boy's bottom grows harder with whipping, and time makes it tough,
Aye, the stoutest posteriors will redden, and flinch from the cuts as they come,
We shall see a real, jolly good swishing, as good as a fellow could wish;
Oh, by Jove, he's drawn blood at the very first cut! in two places by God!
And the pain of the cut makes his burning posteriors quiver and heave,
Now, give it him well, Sir, lay into him well, till the pain makes him roar!
Ah, Charlie, my boy, you don't mind it, eh, do you? it's nothing to bear;
That's right, Sir, don't spare him! that cut was a stinger, but Charlie don't mind;
At each cut, how the red flesh rises, the red weals tingle and swell!
There are long, red ridges and furrows across his great, broad nether cheeks,
Well hit, Sir! Well caught! how he drew in his bottom, and flinched from the cut!
Well stuck, Sir, again, how it made the blood spin! there's a drop on the floor;
Blood runs from each weal on his bottom, and all Charlie's bottom is wealed,
Round his flanks, now like serpents, the birchen twigs twining bend round as they bite,
Where between his white thighs something hairy the body's division reveals
Now a twig on the rod but has raised a red ridge on his flesh, not a bud
And the Schoolmaster warms to his work now, as harder and harder he hits,
'So you'll fidget and whisper in school-time, and make a disturbance in church?
'Oh it hurts you so, does it, my boy, to sit down, since I flogged you last night?
'By the help of the birch, Master Charlie, I'll teach you to help it, please God
'You're a big boy, no doubt, to be flogged; the more shame for you, at your age
'Aye, and if you were older and bigger, you'd come to the flogging block still
'If a boy's not too old to go wrong, Sir, he can't be too old to be whipped,
There are drops of the boy's blood visible now on each tender young bud
But I'd rather be shut up for days, in a hole you would scarce put a dog in,
How each cut brings the blood to his forehead, and makes him bite half through his lips!
How his brawny bare haunches, all bloody and wealed with red furrows like ruts!
How the schoolmaster seems to hit harder, the birch to sting more at each blow!
For a moment the Master too pauses, but not for a truce or a parley,
All the small boys are breathless and hushed; but they hear not a syllable come,
And the Master's face flushes with anger; he signs to Fred Fane with a nod;
And again as he flogs Charlie Collingwood's bottom his face seems aflame;
Each cut makes the boy's haunches quiver, and scores them all over afresh;
Till the master, tired out with hard work, and quite satiate with flogging for once,
From the block Charlie Collingwood rises, red faced, and with tumbled red hair,
And he draws up his breeches, and walks out of school with a crowd of boys dogging