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Poem by Coventry Patmore
The Wedding Sermon
'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.'
Coventry Patmore's other poems:
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