Tristram of Lyonesse and Other Poems

The Salt of the Earth

Algernon Charles Swinburne

IF childhood were not in the world,
    But only men and women grown;
No baby-locks in tendrils curled,
    No baby-blossoms blown;

Though men were stronger, women fairer,
    And nearer all delights in reach,
And verse and music uttered rarer
    Tones of more godlike speech;

Though the utmost life of life’s best hours
    Found, as it cannot now find, words;
Though desert sands were sweet as flowers
    And flowers could sing like birds,

But children never heard them, never
    They felt a child’s foot leap and run:
This were a drearier star than ever
    Yet looked upon the sun.

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