The Wedding Sermon

Coventry Patmore 1823 (Woodford, London) – 1896 (Lymington)

'Now, while she's changing,' said the Dean,
'Her bridal for her traveling dress,
I'll preach allegiance to your queen!
Preaching's the thing which I profess;
And one more minute's mine! You know
I've paid my girl a father's debt,
And this last charge is all I owe.
She's yours; but I love more than yet
You can; such fondness only wakes
When time has raised the heart above
The prejudice of youth, which makes
Beauty conditional to love.
Prepare to meet the weak alarms
Of novel nearness; recollect
The eye which magnifies her charms
Is microscopic for defect.
Fear comes at first; but soon, rejoiced,
You'll find your strong and tender loves,
Like holy rocks by Druids poised,
The least force shakes, but none removes.
Her strength is your esteem; beware
Of finding fault; her will's unnerved
By blame; from you 'twould be despair;
But praise that is not quite deserved
Will all her noble nature move
To make your utmost wishes true.
Yet think, while mending thus your Love,
Of matching her ideal too!
The death of nuptial joy is sloth;
To keep your mistress in your wife,
Keep to the very height your oath,
And honor her with arduous life.
Lastly, no personal reverence doff.
Life's all externals unto those
Who pluck the blushing petals off,
To find the secret of the rose. -
How long she's tarrying! Green's Hotel
I'm sure you'll like. The charge is fair,
The wines good. I remember well
I stayed once, with her mother, there.
A tender conscience of her vow
That mother had! She's so like her!'
But Mrs. Fife, much flurried, now
Whispered, 'Miss Honor's ready, sir.'

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Coventry Patmore

Coventry Kersey Dighton Patmore was an English poet and critic best known for The Angel in the House, his narrative poem about an ideal happy marriage. more…

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