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Romantic Poems Part III
The Wedding Directory’s collection of romantic poems continued…
To My Dear and Loving Husband
If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were lov’d by wife, then thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me ye women if you can.
I prize thy love more then whole Mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that Rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee, give recompence.
Thy love is such I can no way repay,
The heavens reward thee manifold I pray.
Then while we live, in love let’s so persever,
That when we live no more, we may live ever.
Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672), the first female poet to be published in English in either America or England. My Dear and Loving Husband is a simple, direct address from the poet to her husband, voicing the strong emotions she feels for him.
A Dedication to My Wife
That quickens my senses in our wakingtime
And the rhythm that governs the repose of our sleepingtime,
The breathing in unison
Of lovers whose bodies smell of each other
Who think the same thoughts without need of speech
And babble the same speech without need of meaning.
No peevish winter wind shall chill
No sullen tropic sun shall wither
The roses in the rose-garden which is ours and ours only
But this dedication is for others to read:
These are private words addressed to you in public.
T.S. Eliot (1888-1865), American poet, dramatist and literary critic, considered by many to be the most important English language poet of the 20th Century. This poem was first published as an introduction to Eliot’s play, The Elder Statesman.
And in Life’s noisiest hour,
There whispers still the ceaseless Love of Thee,
The heart’s Self-solace and soliloquy.
You mould my Hopes, you fashion me within ;
And to the leading Love-throb in the Heart
Thro’ all my Being, thro’ my pulse’s beat ;
You lie in all my many Thoughts, like Light,
Like the fair light of Dawn, or summer Eve
On rippling Stream, or cloud-reflecting Lake.
And looking to the Heaven, that bends above you,
How oft! I bless the Lot that made me love
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), English poet and philosopher. This poem is a firm favourite as a reading at weddings.
Is She Found?
Yesterday we walked apart
Separate and cold and mortal.
Now the sacred kiss has joined us,
Now we stand inside the portal
That permits of no returning
And my heart is burning, burning.
I know not what the word may be,
Or what the charm, or what the token
That has filled us with this glory,
But never let the spell be broken;
Let it stay a mystery
For all times to be.
Yesterday, with lighter joys
We wantoned at the outer portal.
Now, with love’s old alchemy
We have made ourselves immortal.
Elsa Gidlow (1898-1986), English-born poet and philosopher. Gidlow was a leading figure in America’s Women’s Spirituality Movement in the 1970s and embraced an alternative bohemian-type lifestyle, which is reflected in this poem.
She Walks In Beauty
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.
And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
Lord Byron (1788-1824), English poet. Described by Lady Caroline Lamb as ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’, Byron was embroiled in numerous affairs and scandals. She Walks in Beauty is one of his most famous poems, and the first of several to be set to Jewish tunes.