The poem was composed to order by WBY during his American lecture tour of 1903, between 8 and 20 Dec.; it seems that he had been putting off the task of its composition for some time. The poem first appeared in the charity anthology, Wayfarer's Love: Contributions from Living Poets, and was then collected in P99–05, for which the galley proofs survive. Thereafter, the poem was included in all of WBY's collected and editions, and in the German Tauchnitz selection of 1913. Yet the main thrust of the poem is to absolve love itself from its consequences, with the possible implication that MG herself – like love, or the wind that bloweth where it listeth – is not to be held fully responsibile for the damage that has been wrought.