Mulligan looks at the sea and proclaims, "Our mighty mother!" This phrase, so similar to the Swinburne phrase he has just used, comes from a different writer, the Irishman George Russell, known by the pen (and brush) name "A.E." Thornton cites many appearances of the phrase in Russell's writings, and notes that it refers to "the physical world, or, more specifically, the Earth." Gifford defines the Mighty Mother as “nature in its spiritual aspect.”

JH 2011

Bathers, an oil painting by AE. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

George Russell ("A.E."). Source: Wikimedia Commons.