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;
But at sums, or at themes, or at verses, oh! ain't Charlie Collingwood bad!

Six days out of seven, or five at the least, he's sent up to be stripped;
But it's nuts for the lower boys always to see Charlie Collingwood whipped;

For the marks of the birch on his bottom are more than the leaves on a tree,
And a bum that has worn so much birch out as Charlie's is jolly to see.

When his shirt is turned up and his breeches, unbuttoned, hang down to his heels,
From the small of his back to the thick of his thighs is one mass of red weals.

Ted Beauchamp, last year, began keeping a list of his floggings and he
Says they come in a year-and-a-half to a hundred and sixty and three.

And you see how this morning in front of the flogging block silent he stands,
And hitches his waistband up slightly, and feels his backside with his hands.

Then he lifts his blue eyes to the face of the Master, nor shrinks at his frown,
Nor at the sight of the birch, nor at sound of the sentence of judgement, 'Go down.'

Not a word Charlie Collingwood says, not a syllable, piteous or pert;
But goes down with his breeches unbuttoned, and Errington takes up his shirt.

And again we can see his great naked red bottom, round, fleshy, and plump,
And the bystanders look from the Master's red rod to the schoolboy's red rump:

There are weals over weals, there are stripes upon stripes, there are cuts after cuts,
All across Charlie Collingwood's bottom, and isn't the sight of it nuts?

There, that cut on the fleshiest part of the buttocks, high up on the right,
He got that before supper last evening, oh! isn't his bottom a sight?

And that scar that's just healed, don't you see where the birch cut the flesh?
That's a token of Charlie's last flogging, the rod will soon stamp it afresh.

And this morning you saw he could hardly sit down, or [be] quiet in church,
It's a pleasure to see Charlie's bottom, it looks just cut out for the birch.

Now, look out, Master Charlie, it's coming; you won't get off this time, by God!
For your master's in, oh, such a wax! and he's picked you out, oh, such a rod!

Such a jolly good rod, with the buds on, so stout, and so supple and lithe,
You've been flogged till you're hardened to flogging, but won't the first cut make you writhe!

You've been birched till you say you don't care as you used for a birching! Indeed?
Wait a bit, Master Charlie, I'll bet the third cut or the fourth makes you bleed.

Though they say a boy's bottom grows harder with whipping, and time makes it tough,
Yet the sturdiest boy's bottom will wince if the Schoolmaster whips it enough.

Aye, the stoutest posteriors will redden, and flinch from the cuts as they come,
If they're flogged half as hard as the Master will flog Charlie Collingwood's bum.

We shall see a real, jolly good swishing, as good as a fellow could wish;
Here's a stunning good rod, and a jolly big bottom just under it - Swish!

Oh, by Jove, he's drawn blood at the very first cut! in two places by God!
Aye, and Charlie's red bottom grows redder all over with marks of the rod.

And the pain of the cut makes his burning posteriors quiver and heave,
And he's hiding his face - yes, by Jove, and he's wiping his eyes on his sleeve!

Now, give it him well, Sir, lay into him well, till the pain makes him roar!
Flog him, then, till he stops, and then flog his again till he bellows once more!

Ah, Charlie, my boy, you don't mind it, eh, do you? it's nothing to bear;
Though a small boy may cry for a flogging, that's natural, but Charlie don't care.

That's right, Sir, don't spare him! that cut was a stinger, but Charlie don't mind;
All the rods in the kingdom would only be wasted on Charlie's behind.

At each cut, how the red flesh rises, the red weals tingle and swell!
How he blushes! I told you the Master would flog Charlie Collingwood well.

There are long, red ridges and furrows across his great, broad nether cheeks,
And on both his plump, rosy, round buttocks the blood stands in drops and in streaks.

Well hit, Sir! Well caught! how he drew in his bottom, and flinched from the cut!
At each touch of the birch on his bum, how the smart makes it open and shut!

Well stuck, Sir, again, how it made the blood spin! there's a drop on the floor;
Each long, fleshy furrow grows ruddy, and Charlie can bear it no more.

Blood runs from each weal on his bottom, and all Charlie's bottom is wealed,
'Twill be many a day ere the scars of this flogging are thoroughly healed.
Now just under the hollow of Charlie's bare back, where the flanks are aslope,
The rod catches and stings him, and now at the point where the downward ways ope;

Round his flanks, now like serpents, the birchen twigs twining bend round as they bite,
And you see on his naked, white belly, red ridges where all was so white.

Where between his white thighs something hairy the body's division reveals
Falls the next cut, and now Charlie Collingwood's bottom is all over weals.

Now a twig on the rod but has raised a red ridge on his flesh, not a bud
But has drawn from his naked and writhing posteriors a fresh drop of blood.

And the Schoolmaster warms to his work now, as harder and harder he hits,
And picks out the most sensitive places, as though he'd cut Charlie to bits.

'So you'll fidget and whisper in school-time, and make a disturbance in church?
'Can't sit still, Master Charlie, eh, can't you? Well, what do you think of the birch?

'Oh it hurts you so, does it, my boy, to sit down, since I flogged you last night?
'It was that made you fidget all church time? Indeed, you can't help it, please God

'By the help of the birch, Master Charlie, I'll teach you to help it, please God
'If you don't mend your manners in future, it shan't be for want of a rod.

'You're a big boy, no doubt, to be flogged; the more shame for you, at your age
'But as long as you're here, I shall flog you; 'he lays on the cuts in a rage.

'Aye, and if you were older and bigger, you'd come to the flogging block still
'Boys are never too big to be beaten! 'he lays on the birch with a will.

'If a boy's not too old to go wrong, Sir, he can't be too old to be whipped,
'So take that!' and he lays on the rod till the twigs all with crimson are tipped.

There are drops of the boy's blood visible now on each tender young bud
Blood has dropped on his trousers, and Charlie's bare bottom is covered with blood.

But I'd rather be shut up for days, in a hole you would scarce put a dog in,
And brought out once a day to be birched, than have missed Charlie Collingwood's flogging.

How each cut brings the blood to his forehead, and makes him bite half through his lips!
How the birch cuts his bottom right over, and makes the blood spin from his hips!

How his brawny bare haunches, all bloody and wealed with red furrows like ruts!
Shrink quivering with pain at each stroke, that revives all the smart of past cuts!

How the schoolmaster seems to hit harder, the birch to sting more at each blow!
Till at last Charlie Collingwood, writhing with agony, bellows out 'Oh!'
That was all: not a word of petition, a single short cry and no more;
And the younger boys laugh, that the birch should have made such a big fellow roar.

For a moment the Master too pauses, but not for a truce or a parley,
Then the birch falls afresh, on the bloody wealed flesh, with 'Take that, Master Charlie.'

All the small boys are breathless and hushed; but they hear not a syllable come,
They hear only the swish of the birch as it meets Charlie Collingwood's bum.

And the Master's face flushes with anger; he signs to Fred Fane with a nod;
And Freddy reluctantly hands him another stout, supple birch rod.

And again as he flogs Charlie Collingwood's bottom his face seems aflame;
At each cut he reminds him of this thing or that, and rebukes him by name.

Each cut makes the boy's haunches quiver, and scores them all over afresh;
You can trace where each separate birch twig has marked Charlie Collingwood's flesh.

Till the master, tired out with hard work, and quite satiate with flogging for once,
With one last cut, that stings to the quick, bids him rise for an Obstinate Dunce.

From the block Charlie Collingwood rises, red faced, and with tumbled red hair,
And with crimson-hued bottom, and tearful blue eyes, and a look of 'Don't Care'.

And he draws up his breeches, and walks out of school with a crowd of boys dogging
The heels of their hero, all proud to have seen Charlie Collingwood's flogging.

  — Etoniensis