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Arthur Hugh Clough was born in Liverpool, England, in 1819, where his father was in the cotton trade. Some of his childhood was spent in the USA, and he later traveled to France and Italy, then back to America, then back to England and also visited Greece and Turkey. He apparently derived inspiration for Where Lies the Land to Which the Ship Would Go? (published in 1862) from his sea voyages and from an 1806 poem by William Wordsworth, the first line of which is 'Where lies the Land to which yon Ship must go?'
Clough died in Italy in 1861 after contracting malaria. The poem presents the ideas that travelling can be an end in itself, and that we should live for the moment - live life to the fullest while it lasts.
The music is in a strong rhythmic ballad style, most in unison with a simple canon for the last verse.
Written for Auckland Boys' Choir and conductor Stuart Weightman
Text from Where Lies the Land to Which the Ship Would Go? by Arthur Hugh Clough