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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Algernon Charles Swinburne 1837–1909

Love at Sea


WE are in love’s land to-day;

Where shall we go?

Love, shall we start or stay,

Or sail or row?

There ’s many a wind and way,

And never a May but May;

We are in love’s hand to-day;

Where shall we go?

Our landwind is the breath

Of sorrows kiss’d to death

And joys that were;

Our ballast is a rose;

Our way lies where God knows

And love knows where.

We are in love’s hand to-day—

Our seamen are fledged Loves,

Our masts are bills of doves,

Our decks fine gold;

Our ropes are dead maids’ hair,

Our stores are love-shafts fair

And manifold.

We are in love’s land to-day—

Where shall we land you, sweet?

On fields of strange men’s feet,

Or fields near home?

Or where the fire-flowers blow,

Or where the flowers of snow

Or flowers of foam?

We are in love’s hand to-day—

Land me, she says, where love

Shows but one shaft, one dove,

One heart, one hand,—

A shore like that, my dear,

Lies where no man will steer,

No maiden land.