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Ernest Christopher Dowson

(2 August 1867 – 23 February 1900 / London / England)

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April Love


We have walked in Love's land a little way,
We have learnt his lesson a little while,
And shall we not part at the end of day,
With a sigh, a smile?

A little while in the shine of the sun,
We were twined together, joined lips forgot
How the shadows fall when day is done,
And when Love is not.

We have made no vows - there will none be broke,
Our love was free as the wind on the hill,
There was no word said we need wish unspoke,
We have wrought no ill.

So shall we not part at the end of day,
Who have loved and lingered a little while,
Join lips for the last time, go our way,
With a sigh, a smile.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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Comments about this poem (April Love by Ernest Christopher Dowson )

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  • V P Mahur (5/11/2014 10:42:00 AM)

    Poem is OK but I don't like this kind of relationship. Sorry it is my personal view. I can't impose it on any of you. (Report) Reply

  • Paul Sebastian (5/11/2014 9:21:00 AM)

    A daring non-committed casual relationship with a woman, which could have been abhorred at his time, being a Catholic, perhaps. The need to love and be loved is evident from the loss of the woman (girl) he loved, and the tragic loss of his parents. Nonetheless, a great write. He could have written the poem while he was in love with the teenage girl. (Report) Reply

  • Terence George Craddock (5/11/2010 10:20:00 PM)

    An April Love by Ernest Christopher Dowson is a beautifully written poem about a casual sexual encounter with no strings attached, ‘We have made no vows - there will none be broke, ’ and there is no expectation of a future meeting as ‘Join lips for the last time, go our way, ’ in the fourth last stanza clearly proves. This theme of a brief sexual fling was introduced in the first stanza with the question ‘And shall we not part at the end of day, / With a sigh, a smile? ’.
    Dowson defends this short walk in ‘Love's land’ with the last line of the first and fourth stanzas ‘With a sigh, a smile’ of satisfaction and happiness. Dowson’s entire third stanza is a defence of this love that breaks no vows or laws, ‘Our love was free... There was no word said we need wish unspoke, / We have wrought no ill.’ This love was ‘A little while in the shine of the sun, ’ an April Love of brief duration, which Dowson seems to imply, is a beautiful natural yet important experience. (Report) Reply

  • William Eke (5/11/2010 6:11:00 AM)

    Good read.simple and flowing.The Classical fling: 'We have made no vows, and there shall none be broke' (Report) Reply

  • Michael Pruchnicki (5/11/2009 2:57:00 PM)

    It's really incredible the blarney that's written about the past! As though people in earlier times were unaware of the power of sexual feeling! Dowson and his contemporaries wrote 'like the underground literarure of the time'? Just the opposite was doubtless true, given Poewhit's theory - and Straw's witless comment about this poem 'being a surprising poem from the Victorian era' takes the cake! Their mutual smugness about sexual intercourse in the late 20th century somehow representing the enlightened view of sexual relations as being the standard of civilization for modern men and women is the common view today!

    Fellows, you ever heard tell of decadent Rome? Or read about British royalty in the 17th century? And Shakespeare's sonnets and his plays dealt with all kinds of affairs between the sexes! Victorian writers included the likes of Wilde and others who wrote vividly of sex in the raw. American writers have always scribbled about life in the darker realms of sex! (Report) Reply

  • Joseph Poewhit (5/11/2009 11:52:00 AM)

    The poem is very liberal for the time era. People were still church conscious and conscious of the writings.Reading was the past time, To touch a hand in a novel was very bold and considered a true act of love. Kissing is unheard of in writings less any further advances in that era or earlier. This in perspective, would have been like underground literature of the time. (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (5/11/2009 7:52:00 AM)

    This is one-day as opposed to a one-night stand (I interpret 'We were twined together...' as sexual intercourse) .
    Dowson speaks of an hour or two's sex in the sunshine as being genuinely an act of Love, from which something was learnt.
    It is a surprising poem from the Victorian era. Not that they weren't capable of these things, but to speak of them publicly was unusual I think. It is a poem about 'free' love. (Report) Reply

  • Michael Harmon (5/11/2009 1:09:00 AM)

    This may or may not be considered one of Dowson's best. However, he was one of the 19th Century masters of the unrequited love poem. His 'Cynara' is one of the masterpieces of the era. (Report) Reply

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