Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
 
Love at Sea
 
Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837–1909)
 
 
Imitated from Théophile Gautier
 
 
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,        5
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        10
    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—        15
 
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        20
    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?        25
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        30
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.        35
 

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