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Marriage a la mode -- John Dryden

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.
-- John Dryden
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

17 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Ofer Israeli said...

Could Katharine Mansfield's "Marriage a la Mode" be based on this poem? it seems very much connected, though i haven't found anything about this?
Eden

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Beautiful poem, my parents are close to celebrate their 40 anniversary, and this one I think will be my dedication to them.

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It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall. 23jj

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