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.
 
Étude Réaliste
 
Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837–1909)
 
 
I
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        5
  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        10
    A baby’s feet.
 
II
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.        15
 
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,        20
The sweetest flowers in all the world—
    A baby’s hands.
 
III
A baby’s eyes, ere speech begin,
  Ere lips learn words or sighs,
Bless all things bright enough to win        25
    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,        30
  Their speech make dumb the wise,
By mute glad godhead felt within
    A baby’s eyes.
 

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