First World War Poetry Digital Archive

‘Sweet is your antique body . . .’

Sweet is your antique body, not yet young. Beauty withheld from youth that looks for youth. Fair only for your father. Dear among Masters in art. To all men else uncouth Save me; who know your smile comes very old, Learnt of the happy dead that laughed with gods; For earlier suns than ours have lent you gold, Sly fauns and trees have given you jigs and nods. But soon your heart, hot-beating like a bird's, Shall slow down. Youth shall lop your hair, And you must learn wry meanings in our words. Your smile shall dull, because too keen aware; And when for hopes your hand shall be uncurled, Your eyes shall close, being opened to the world.


“‘Sweet is your antique body . . .’,” by Owen, Wilfred (1893-1918). The Estate of Wilfred Owen. The Complete Poems and Fragments of Wilfred Owen edited by Jon Stallworthy first published by Chatto & Windus, 1983. Preliminaries, introductory, editorial matter, manuscripts and fragments omitted. via First World War Poetry Digital Archive, accessed April 21, 2024,

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