Guest poem sent in by Deepa Balakrishnan Jan 2nd 's poem 'No Second Troy' reminded me of Dryden's 'Alexander's Feast' and I decided to check out the minstrels site to read it when I realised with shock that not a single poem of John Dryden's is featured there... hence, the ardent need to set aright the situation:
(Poem #721) Marriage a la mode
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. If I have pleasures for a friend, And farther love in store, What wrong has he whose joys did end, And who could give no more? 'Tis a madness that he should be jealous of me, Or that I should bar him of another: For all we can gain is to give our selves pain, When neither can hinder the other.
I didn't know this poem existed till a few days ago... but when I read it, it was quite surprising... not only for the unconventionality of thought (usually, love poems gush on and on about the eternity of love) but what is also refreshing is the timing, as in, when the poem was written... 16th century, and just before the Romantics... and the poem's all practicality... perhaps that's why the Age of Dryden and Pope is also called the 'Age of Reason'... even modern/ contemporary poems don't seem to adopt this pragmatic an approach. -Deepa [This *was* a rather glaring omission in our list of poets - thanks to Deepa for rectifying it - m.] Dryden biography: http://www.britannica.com/bcom/eb/article/8/0,5716,,00.html?kw=dryden%20john