Marriage

M
Affirmation by Donald Hall
Donald Hall
To grow old is to lose everything.
Aging, everybody knows it.
Even when we are young,
we glimpse it sometimes, and nod our heads
when a grandfather dies.
Then we row for years on the midsummer
pond, ignorant and content. But a marriage,
that began without harm, scatters
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On Marriage by Kahlil Gibran
Kahlil Gibran
Then Almitra spoke again and said, And
what of Marriage, master?
And he answered saying:
You were born together, and together you
shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white
wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the
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from Aurora Leigh, Second Book by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

'There it is!–
You play beside a death-bed like a child,
Yet measure to yourself a prophet's place
To teach the living. None of all these things,
Can women understand. You generalise,
Oh, nothing!–not even grief! Your quick-breathed hearts,
So sympathetic to the personal pang,
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The Uncreating Chaos by Stephen Spender
Stephen Spender
(Double Portrait in a Mirror) I
To the meeting despair of eyes in the street, offer
Your eyes on plates and your liver on skewers of pity.
When the Jericho sky is heaped with clouds which the sun
Trumpets above, respond to Apocalypse
With a headache. In spirit follow
The young men to the war, up Everest. Be shot.
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Orfeo by Frank Lima
Frank Lima
To my friends Each hair is a poem I gave my son
Each hair is my allowance from the universe
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Six Further Studies by Keith Waldrop
Keith Waldrop
I

In heaven there is no more sea, and houses no longer need a widow’s
walk. And no more widows, there being neither marriage nor giving
in marriage. How the air hangs lower and lower on this—I hope
—hottest day of summer. A faintly rotten scent the ground gives off
brings to mind lilacs that have budded and blossomed. There are no
more blossoms, perfume and purple gone for a year, as if forever. In
heaven there are no tears, salt water wiped away entirely. One moment
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The Fourth Hour of the Night by Frank Bidart
Frank Bidart
I

Out of scarcity,—
...being.

Because, when you were nine, your father

was murdered,
betrayed.

Because the traveler was betrayed by those with

whom he had the right to seek
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Joan Miró by Shuzo Takiguchi
Shuzo Takiguchi
The wind’s tongue.
The always clear cobalt sky
bit at
your painting.
In a prehistoric poster
words doze like pebbles.

A gallop of  feathers
kidnaps
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Epitaphs of the War by Rudyard Kipling
Rudyard Kipling
1914-18 “equality of sacrifice”

A. “I was a Have.” B. “I was a ‘have-not.’”
(Together).“What hast thou given which I gave not?”
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Paradise Lost: Book  5 (1674 version) by John Milton
John Milton

NOw Morn her rosie steps in th' Eastern Clime
Advancing, sow'd the earth with Orient Pearle,
When Adam wak't, so customd, for his sleep
Was Aerie light from pure digestion bred,
And temperat vapors bland, which th' only sound
Of leaves and fuming rills, Aurora's fan,
Lightly dispers'd, and the shrill Matin Song
Of Birds on every bough; so much the more
His wonder was to find unwak'nd Eve
With Tresses discompos'd, and glowing Cheek,
As through unquiet rest: he on his side
Leaning half-rais'd, with looks of cordial Love
Hung over her enamour'd, and beheld
Beautie, which whether waking or asleep,
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Paradise Lost: Book  8 (1674 version) by John Milton
John Milton
THE Angel ended, and in Adams Eare
So Charming left his voice, that he a while
Thought him still speaking, still stood fixt to hear;
Then as new wak't thus gratefully repli'd.
What thanks sufficient, or what recompence
Equal have I to render thee, Divine
Hystorian, who thus largely hast allayd
The thirst I had of knowledge, and voutsaf't
This friendly condescention to relate
Things else by me unsearchable, now heard
With wonder, but delight, and, as is due,
With glorie attributed to the high
Creator; something yet of doubt remaines,
Which onely thy solution can resolve.
When I behold this goodly Frame, this World
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That Bright Grey Eye by Hilda Morley
Hilda Morley
The grey sky, lighter & darker
greys,
lights between & delicate
lavenders also
blue-greys in smaller strokes,
& swashes
of mauve-grey on the Hudson—
openings
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That Evening At Dinner by David Ferry
David Ferry
By the last few times we saw her it was clear
That things were different. When you tried to help her
Get out of the car or get from the car to the door
Or across the apartment house hall to the elevator
There was a new sense of heaviness
Or of inertia in the body. It wasn’t
That she was less willing to be helped to walk
But that the walking itself had become less willing.
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Afternoon Happiness by Carolyn Kizer
Carolyn Kizer
for John At a party I spy a handsome psychiatrist,
And wish, as we all do, to get her advice for free.
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In the Jewish Synagogue at Newport by Emma Lazarus
Emma Lazarus

Here, where the noises of the busy town,
The ocean's plunge and roar can enter not,
We stand and gaze around with tearful awe,
And muse upon the consecrated spot.

No signs of life are here: the very prayers
Inscribed around are in a language dead;
The light of the "perpetual lamp" is spent
That an undying radiance was to shed.

What prayers were in this temple offered up,
Wrung from sad hearts that knew no joy on earth,
By these lone exiles of a thousand years,
From the fair sunrise land that gave them birth!
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Kaddish by Allen Ginsberg
Allen Ginsberg
For Naomi Ginsberg, 1894—1956 I
Strange now to think of you, gone without corsets & eyes, while I walk on the sunny pavement of Greenwich Village.
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Wedding-Ring by Denise Levertov
Denise Levertov
My wedding-ring lies in a basket
as if at the bottom of a well.
Nothing will come to fish it back up
and onto my finger again.
It lies
among keys to abandoned houses,
nails waiting to be needed and hammered
into some wall,
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The Wife Speaks by Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard
Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard
Husband, today could you and I behold
The sun that brought us to our bridal morn
Rising so splendid in the winter sky
(We though fair spring returned), when we were wed;
Could the shades vanish from these fifteen years,
Which stand like columns guarding the approach
To that great temple of the double soul
That is as one – would you turn back, my dear,
And, for the sake of Love’s mysterious dream,
As old as Adam and as sweet as Eve,
Take me, as I took you, and once more go
Towards that goal which none of us have reached?
Contesting battles which but prove a loss,
The victor vanquished by the wounded one;
Teaching each other sacrifice of self,
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from The Changeling by Thomas Middleton
Thomas Middleton
Deflores. What makes your lip so strange? This must not be betwixt us.
Beatrice. The man talks wildly.
Deflores. Come kisse me with a zeal now.
Beatrice. Heaven I doubt him.
Deflores. I will not stand so long to beg 'em shortly.
Beatrice. Take heed Deflores of forgetfulness, 'twill soon betray us.
Deflores. Take you heed first;
Faith y'are grown much forgetfull, y'are to blame in't.
Beatrice. He's bold, and I am blam'd for't.
Deflores. I have eas'd you of your trouble, think on't, I'me in pain,
And must be as'd of ou; 'tis a charity,
Justice invites your blood to understand me.
Beatrice. I dare not.
Deflores. Quickly.
Beatrice. Oh I never shall, speak if yet further of that I may lose
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Paradise Lost: Book 11 (1674 version) by John Milton
John Milton
Thus they in lowliest plight repentant stood
Praying, for from the Mercie-seat above
Prevenient Grace descending had remov'd
The stonie from thir hearts, & made new flesh
Regenerate grow instead, that sighs now breath'd
Unutterable, which the Spirit of prayer
Inspir'd, and wing'd for Heav'n with speedier flight
Then loudest Oratorie: yet thir port
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Spain: Anno 1492 by Charles Reznikoff
Charles Reznikoff
Torquemada. Now that Castile and Aragon in holy wedlock
are Spain,
and the last city of the Moors in Spain is Spanish
except for Moor and Jew—
about every crucifix in every market-place
and in the court itself the Jews!—
as seven centuries of Christian valor, Christian piety
triumph
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Thomas Jefferson by Lorine Niedecker
Lorine Niedecker
I
My wife is ill!
And I sit
waiting
for a quorum


II
Fast ride
his horse collapsed
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Advice to Her Son on Marriage by Mary Barber
Mary Barber
from The Conclusion of a Letter to the Rev. Mr C— When you gain her Affection, take care to preserve it;
Lest others persuade her, you do not deserve it.
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The Bachelor’s Soliloquy by Edgar Albert Guest
Edgar Albert Guest
To wed, or not to wed; that is the question;
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The bills and house rent of a wedded fortune,
Or to say “nit” when she proposes,
And by declining cut her. To wed; to smoke
No more; And have a wife at home to mend
The holes in socks and shirts
And underwear and so forth. ’Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To wed for life;
To wed; perchance to fight; ay, there’s the rub;
For in that married life what fights may come,
When we have honeymooning ceased
Must give us pause; there’s the respect
That makes the joy of single life.
For who would bear her mother’s scornful tongue,
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Bungee Jumping by William H. Dickey
William H. Dickey
Aunt Mildred tied up her petticoats with binder’s
twine, and my great-uncle Ezekiel waxed and waxed
his moustaches into flexibility. It was the whole
family off then into the dangerous continent of air

and while the salesman with the one gold eyetooth told us
the cords at our ankles were guaranteed to stretch
to their utmost and then bring us safely back
to the fried chicken and scalloped potatoes of Sunday dinner
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... by an Earthquake by John Ashbery
John Ashbery
A hears by chance a familiar name, and the name involves a riddle of the past.
B, in love with A, receives an unsigned letter in which the writer states that she is the mistress of A and begs B not to take him away from her.
B, compelled by circumstances to be a companion of A in an isolated place, alters her rosy views of love and marriage when she discovers, through A, the selfishness of men.
A, an intruder in a strange house, is discovered; he flees through the nearest door into a windowless closet and is trapped by a spring lock.
A is so content with what he has that any impulse toward enterprise is throttled.
A solves an important mystery when falling plaster reveals the place where some old love letters are concealed.
A-4, missing food from his larder, half believes it was taken by a “ghost.”
A, a crook, seeks unlawful gain by selling A-8 an object, X, which A-8 already owns.
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December 30 by Richard Brautigan
Richard Brautigan
At 1:03 in the morning a fart
smells like a marriage between
an avocado and a fish head.

I have to get out of bed
to write this down without
my glasses on.
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Dreamwork Three by Jerome Rothenberg
Jerome Rothenberg
a trembling old man dreams of a chinese garden
a comical old man dreams of newspapers under his rabbi's hat



a simple tavernkeeper dreams of icicles & fisheyes
a sinister tavernkeeper dreams of puddles with an angel of the law in every drop



the furrier's plump daughter is dreaming of a patch of old vanilla
the furrier's foreign daughter is dreaming of a hat from which a marten hangs



the proud accountant dreams of a trolleycar over the frozen river
the reluctant accountant dreams of his feet sleep in a fresh pair of red socks
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Epitaph by Katherine Philips
Katherine Philips
On her Son H.P. at St. Syth’s Church where her body also lies interred What on Earth deserves our trust?
Youth and Beauty both are dust.
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Failing and Flying by Jack Gilbert
Jack Gilbert
Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.
It's the same when love comes to an end,
or the marriage fails and people say
they knew it was a mistake, that everybody
said it would never work. That she was
old enough to know better. But anything
worth doing is worth doing badly.
Like being there by that summer ocean
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The Flea by John Donne
John Donne
Mark but this flea, and mark in this,
How little that which thou deniest me is;
It sucked me first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be;
Thou know’st that this cannot be said
A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead,
Yet this enjoys before it woo,
And pampered swells with one blood made of two,
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I Only Am Escaped Alone to Tell Thee by Howard Nemerov
Howard Nemerov
I tell you that I see her still
At the dark entrance of the hall.
One gas lamp burning near her shoulder
Shone also from her other side
Where hung the long inaccurate glass
Whose pictures were as troubled water.
An immense shadow had its hand
Between us on the floor, and seemed
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In the House of Wax by John Haines
John Haines
I

Far-sighted into yesterday
they stand, gripping
their charters and speeches,
the presidents and kings,
masters of unconscious evil.

Their deputies are here —
judges, robed executioners,
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My mother’s body by Marge Piercy
Marge Piercy
1.

The dark socket of the year
the pit, the cave where the sun lies down
and threatens never to rise,
when despair descends softly as the snow
covering all paths and choking roads:

then hawkfaced pain seized you
threw you so you fell with a sharp
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A Passage to India by Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman
Highlight Actions Enable or disable annotations
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The Real and True and Sure by Robert Browning
Robert Browning
Marriage on earth seems such a counterfeit,
Mere imitation of the inimitable:
In heaven we have the real and true and sure.
’Tis there they neither marry nor are given
In marriage but are as the angels: right,
Oh how right that is, how like Jesus Christ
To say that! Marriage-making for the earth,
With gold so much,— birth, power, repute so much,
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Song: “Why should a foolish marriage vow” by John Dryden
John Dryden
I

Why should a foolish marriage vow,
Which long ago was made,
Oblige us to each other now,
When passion is decayed?
We loved, and we loved, as long as we could,
Till our love was loved out in us both;
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Tenebrae by Geoffrey Hill
Geoffrey Hill
He was so tired that he was scarcely able to hear a note of the songs: he felt imprisoned in a cold region where his brain was numb and his spirit was isolated. 1

Requite this angel whose
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A Time Past by Denise Levertov
Denise Levertov
The old wooden steps to the front door
where I was sitting that fall morning
when you came downstairs, just awake,
and my joy at sight of you (emerging
into golden day—
the dew almost frost)
pulled me to my feet to tell you
how much I loved you:
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To Anthea by Robert Herrick
Robert Herrick
Let’s call for Hymen if agreed thou art –
Delays in love but crucify the heart.
Love’s thorny tapers yet neglected lie;
Speak thou the word, they’ll kindle by and by.
The nimble hours woo us on to wed,
And Genius waits to have us both to bed.
Behold, for us the naked Graces stay
With maunds of roses for us to strew the way.
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To Elsie by William Carlos Williams
William Carlos Williams
The pure products of America
go crazy—
mountain folk from Kentucky

or the ribbed north end of
Jersey
with its isolate lakes and

valleys, its deaf-mutes, thieves
old names
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The Ache of Marriage by Denise Levertov
Denise Levertov
The ache of marriage:

thigh and tongue, beloved,
are heavy with it,
it throbs in the teeth

We look for communion
and are turned away, beloved,
each and each

It is leviathan and we
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All My Pretty Ones by Anne Sexton
Anne Sexton
Father, this year’s jinx rides us apart
where you followed our mother to her cold slumber;
a second shock boiling its stone to your heart,
leaving me here to shuffle and disencumber
you from the residence you could not afford:
a gold key, your half of a woolen mill,
twenty suits from Dunne’s, an English Ford,
the love and legal verbiage of another will,
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An Anatomy of the World by John Donne
John Donne
(excerpt)

AN ANATOMY OF THE WORLD
Wherein,
by occasion of the untimely death of Mistress
Elizabeth Drury, the frailty and the decay
of this whole world is represented
THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY When that rich soul which to her heaven is gone,
Whom all do celebrate, who know they have one
(For who is sure he hath a soul, unless
It see, and judge, and follow worthiness,
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Boleros 14 by Jay Wright
Jay Wright
(CALLIOPE ↔ SAHU) Night enters the Plaza, step by step, in the singular
flaring of lamps on churro carts, taco stands,
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The Building of the Ship by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
"Build me straight, O worthy Master!
Stanch and strong, a goodly vessel,
That shall laugh at all disaster,
And with wave and whirlwind wrestle!"

The merchant's word
Delighted the Master heard;
For his heart was in his work, and the heart
Giveth grace unto every Art.
A quiet smile played round his lips,
As the eddies and dimples of the tide
Play round the bows of ships,
That steadily at anchor ride.
And with a voice that was full of glee,
He answered, "Erelong we will launch
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Cadmus and Harmonia by Matthew Arnold
Matthew Arnold
Far, far from here,
The Adriatic breaks in a warm bay
Among the green Illyrian hills; and there
The sunshine in the happy glens is fair,
And by the sea, and in the brakes.
The grass is cool, the sea-side air
Buoyant and fresh, the mountain flowers
More virginal and sweet than ours.

And there, they say, two bright and aged snakes,
Who once were Cadmus and Harmonia,
Bask in the glens or on the warm sea-shore,
In breathless quiet, after all their ills;
Nor do they see their country, nor the place
Where the Sphinx lived among the frowning hills,
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Checklist by Stephen Dunn
Stephen Dunn
The housework, the factory work, the work
that takes from the body
and does not put back.
The white-collar work and the dirt
of its profits, the terrible politeness
of the office worker, the work that robs
the viscera to pay the cool
surfaces of the brain. All the work
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Cruelty and Love  by D. H. Lawrence
D. H. Lawrence
What large, dark hands are those at the window
Lifted, grasping the golden light
Which weaves its way through the creeper leaves
To my heart's delight?

Ah, only the leaves! But in the west,
In the west I see a redness come
Over the evening's burning breast —
— 'Tis the wound of love goes home!
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Dedication for a Plot of Ground by William Carlos Williams
William Carlos Williams
This plot of ground
facing the waters of this inlet
is dedicated to the living presence of
Emily Dickinson Wellcome
who was born in England; married;
lost her husband and with
her five year old son
sailed for New York in a two-master;
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Dolores (Notre-Dame des Sept Douleurs) by Algernon Charles Swinburne
Algernon Charles Swinburne
Cold eyelids that hide like a jewel
Hard eyes that grow soft for an hour;
The heavy white limbs, and the cruel
Red mouth like a venomous flower;
When these are gone by with their glories,
What shall rest of thee then, what remain,
O mystic and sombre Dolores,
Our Lady of Pain?

Seven sorrows the priests give their Virgin;
But thy sins, which are seventy times seven,
Seven ages would fail thee to purge in,
And then they would haunt thee in heaven:
Fierce midnights and famishing morrows,
And the loves that complete and control
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Don Juan: Canto 11 by Lord Byron (George Gordon)
Lord Byron (George Gordon)
I
When Bishop Berkeley said "there was no matter,"
And proved it—'twas no matter what he said:
They say his system 'tis in vain to batter,
Too subtle for the airiest human head;
And yet who can believe it! I would shatter
Gladly all matters down to stone or lead,
Or adamant, to find the World a spirit,
And wear my head, denying that I wear it.

II
What a sublime discovery 'twas to make the
Universe universal egotism,
That all's ideal—all ourselves: I'll stake the
World (be it what you will) that that's no schism.
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Eloisa to Abelard by Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope
In these deep solitudes and awful cells,
Where heav'nly-pensive contemplation dwells,
And ever-musing melancholy reigns;
What means this tumult in a vestal's veins?
Why rove my thoughts beyond this last retreat?
Why feels my heart its long-forgotten heat?
Yet, yet I love!—From Abelard it came,
And Eloisa yet must kiss the name.
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Fox Sleep by W. S. Merwin
W. S. Merwin
On a road through the mountains with a friend many years ago
I came to a curve on a slope where a clear stream
flowed down flashing across dark rocks through its own
echoes that could neither be caught nor forgotten
it was the turning of autumn and already
the mornings were cold with ragged clouds in the hollows
long after sunrise but the pasture sagging like a roof
the glassy water and flickering yellow leaves
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from Idylls of the King: The Last Tournament by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Dagonet, the fool, whom Gawain in his mood
Had made mock-knight of Arthur's Table Round,
At Camelot, high above the yellowing woods,
Danced like a wither'd leaf before the hall.
And toward him from the hall, with harp in hand,
And from the crown thereof a carcanet
Of ruby swaying to and fro, the prize
Of Tristram in the jousts of yesterday,
Came Tristram, saying, "Why skip ye so, Sir Fool?"

For Arthur and Sir Lancelot riding once
Far down beneath a winding wall of rock
Heard a child wail. A stump of oak half-dead.
From roots like some black coil of carven snakes,
Clutch'd at the crag, and started thro' mid air
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Last May a Braw Wooer by Robert Burns
Robert Burns
Last May a braw wooer cam down the lang glen,
And sair wi' his love he did deave me;
I said there was naething I hated like men:
The deuce gae wi 'm to believe me, believe me,
The deuce gae wi 'm to believe me.

He spak o' the darts in my bonie black een,
And vow'd for my love he was diein;
I said he might die when he liked for Jean:
The Lord forgie me for liein, for liein,
The Lord forgie me for liein!

A weel-stocked mailen, himsel for the laird,
And marriage aff-hand, were his proffers:
I never loot on that I ken'd it, or car'd,
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London by William Blake
William Blake
I wander thro' each charter'd street,
Near where the charter'd Thames does flow.
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The mind-forg'd manacles I hear
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Marriage a-la-Mode by John Dryden
John Dryden
Why should a foolish marriage vow,
Which long ago was made,
Oblige us to each other now
When passion is decay'd?
We lov'd, and we lov'd, as long as we could,
Till our love was lov'd out in us both:
But our marriage is dead, when the pleasure is fled:
'Twas pleasure first made it an oath.
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Sarah Brown by Edgar Lee Masters
Edgar Lee Masters
Maurice, weep not, I am not here under this pine tree.
The balmy air of spring whispers through the sweet grass,
The stars sparkle, the whippoorwill calls,
But thou grievest, while my soul lies rapturous
In the blest Nirvana of eternal light!
Go to the good heart that is my husband,
Who broods upon what he calls our guilty love: i
Tell him that my love for you, no less than my love for him
Wrought out my destiny i that through the flesh
I won spirit, and through spirit, peace.
There is no marriage in heaven,
But there is love.

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Sonnet 116: Let me not to the marriage of true minds by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov'd,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov'd.
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Summer Images by John Clare
John Clare
Now swarthy Summer, by rude health embrowned,
Precedence takes of rosy fingered Spring;
And laughing Joy, with wild flowers prank'd, and crown'd,
A wild and giddy thing,
And Health robust, from every care unbound,
Come on the zephyr's wing,
And cheer the toiling clown.
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That Evening at Dinner by David Ferry
David Ferry
By the last few times we saw her it was clear
That things were different. When you tried to help her
Get out of the car or get from the car to the door
Or across the apartment house hall to the elevator
There was a new sense of heaviness
Or of inertia in the body. It wasn’t
That she was less willing to be helped to walk
But that the walking itself had become less willing.
Maybe the stupid demogorgon blind
Recalcitrance of body, resentful of the laws
Of mind and spirit, was getting its own back now,
Or maybe a new and subtle, alien,
Intelligence of body was obedient now
To other laws: “Weight is the measure of
The force with which a body is drawn downward
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I Am the Woman by William Vaughn Moody
William Vaughn Moody
I am the Woman, ark of the law and its breaker,
Who chastened her steps and taught her knees to be meek,
Bridled and bitted her heart and humbled her cheek,
Parcelled her will, and cried "Take more!" to the taker,
Shunned what they told her to shun, sought what they bade her seek,
Locked up her mouth from scornful speaking: now it is open to speak.

I am she that is terribly fashioned, the creature
Wrought in God's perilous mood, in His unsafe hour.
The morning star was mute, beholding my feature,
Seeing the rapture I was, the shame, and the power,
Scared at my manifold meaning; he heard me call
"O fairest among ten thousand, acceptable brother!"
And he answered not, for doubt; till he saw me crawl
And whisper down to the secret worm, "O mother,
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The Piper by Joseph Campbell
Joseph Campbell
George Borrow in his Lavengro
Tells us of a Welshman, who
By some excess of mother-wit
Framed a harp and played on it,
Built a ship and sailed to sea,
And steered it home to melody
Of his own making. I, indeed,
Might write for Everyman to read
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