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Short poem

George Meredith (1828-1909)

Modern Love: XLVI

              1At last we parley: we so strangely dumb
              2In such a close communion! It befell
              3About the sounding of the Matin-bell,
              4And lo! her place was vacant, and the hum
              5Of loneliness was round me. Then I rose,
              6And my disordered brain did guide my foot
              7To that old wood where our first love-salute
              8Was interchanged: the source of many throes!
              9There did I see her, not alone. I moved
            10Toward her, and made proffer of my arm.
            11She took it simply, with no rude alarm;
            12And that disturbing shadow passed reproved.
            13I felt the pained speech coming, and declared
            14My firm belief in her, ere she could speak.
            15A ghastly morning came into her cheek,
            16While with a widening soul on me she stared.


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 3.296.
Recent editing: 2:2002/1/30

Rhyme: abbacddceffeghhg

Other poems by George Meredith