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

Algernon Charles Swinburne 1837–1909

Étude Réaliste


A BABY’S feet, like sea-shells pink,

Might tempt, should Heaven see meet,

An angel’s lips to kiss, we think,

A baby’s feet.

Like rose-hued sea-flowers toward the heat

They stretch and spread and wink

Their ten soft buds that part and meet.

No flower-bells that expand and shrink

Gleam half so heavenly sweet

As shine on life’s untrodden brink

A baby’s feet.

A baby’s hands, like rosebuds furl’d,

Whence yet no leaf expands,

Ope if you touch, though close upcurl’d,

A baby’s hands.

Then, even as warriors grip their brands

When battle’s bolt is hurl’d,

They close, clench’d hard like tightening bands.

No rosebuds yet by dawn impearl’d

Match, even in loveliest lands,

The sweetest flowers in all the world—

A baby’s hands.

A baby’s eyes, ere speech begin,

Ere lips learn words or sighs,

Bless all things bright enough to win

A baby’s eyes.

Love, while the sweet thing laughs and lies,

And sleep flows out and in,

Lies perfect in them Paradise.

Their glance might cast out pain and sin,

Their speech make dumb the wise,

By mute glad godhead felt within

A baby’s eyes.