Great sweet mother

"Algy" is Algernon Charles Swinburne, the ostentatiously decadent late Victorian poet from Northumberland. When Mulligan calls the sea “a great sweet mother” in Telemachus he is quoting a phrase from Swinburne’s early poem The Triumph of Time, published in 1866, which treated death at sea as a consummation devoutly to be wished.

JH 2017

Photograph of a young Algernon Swinburne. Source:

2010 cut paper image by Vanessa Stone, illustrating the "great sweet mother" lines. Source: