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Short poem

George Meredith (1828-1909)

Modern Love: XIV

              1What soul would bargain for a cure that brings
              2Contempt the nobler agony to kill?
              3Rather let me bear on the bitter ill,
              4And strike this rusty bosom with new stings!
              5It seems there is another veering fit
              6Since on a gold-haired lady's eyeballs pure,
              7I looked with little prospect of a cure,
              8The while her mouth's red bow loosed shafts of wit.
              9Just heaven! can it be true that jealousy
            10Has decked the woman thus? and does her head
            11Swim somewhat for possessions forfeited?
            12Madam, you teach me many things that be.
            13I open an old book, and there I find
            14That "Women still may love whom they deceive."
            15Such love I prize not, madam: by your leave,
            16The game you play at is not to my mind.


1] This narrative sequence of fifty sixteen-line "sonnets" probably has its roots in the unhappy history of Meredith's unsuccessful marriage to his first wife, Mary Ellen Nicolls, Peacock's widowed daughter, who had been the inspiration for Love in the Valley. The great novel, The Ordeal of Richard Feverel (1859), tells the same story.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: George Meredith, Modern Love, and Poems of the English Roadside, with poems and ballads (London: Chapman and Hall, 1862). end M474 M63 1862 Fisher Rare Book Library (Toronto).
First publication date: 1862
RPO poem editor: H. Kerpneck
RP edition: 3RP 3.293.
Recent editing: 2:2002/1/30

Rhyme: abbacddceffeghhg

Other poems by George Meredith