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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Love at Sea
By Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837–1909)
 
Imitated from Théophile Gautier

WE are in Love’s hand 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 land wind is the breath
Of sorrows kissed 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 hand 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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