Brighter than fireflies upon the Uji River
Are your words in the dark, Beloved.

by Amy Lowell.

On Flaxman's Penelope

The suitors sinned, but with a fair excuse,
Whom all this elegance might well seduce;
Nor can our censure on the husband fall,
Who, for a wife so lovely, slew them all.

by William Cowper.

So Live, So Love, So Use That Fragile Hour

SO live, so love, so use that fragile hour,
That when the dark hand of the shining power
Shall one from other, wife or husband, take,
The poor survivor may not weep and wake.

by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Wee Wee Husband

Wee wee husband,
Give me some money,
I have no comfits,
And I have no honey.
Wee wee wifie,
I have no money,
Milk, nor meat, nor bread to eat,
Comfits, nor honey.

by Christina Georgina Rossetti.

I Have A Little Husband

I have a little husband
And he is gone to sea,
The winds that whistle round his ship
Fly home to me.
The winds that sigh about me
Return again to him;
So I would fly, if only I
Were light of limb.

by Christina Georgina Rossetti.

Epitaph On Mr. Chester Of Chicheley

Tears flow, and cease not, where the good man lies,
Till all who know him follow to the skies.
Tears therefore fall where Chester's ashes sleep;
Him wife, friends, brothers, children, servants, weep;
And justly -- few shall ever him transcend
As husband, parent, brother, master, friend.

by William Cowper.

Remember Thee! Remember Thee!

Remember thee! remember thee!
Till Lethe quench life's burning stream
Remorse and shame shall cling to thee,
And haunt thee like a feverish dream!

Remember thee! Aye, doubt it not.
Thy husband too shall think of thee:
By neither shalt thou be forgot,
Thou false to him, thou fiend to me!

by George Gordon Byron.

Another On The Said Occasion

ONE Queen Artemisia, as old stories tell,
When deprived of her husband she loved so well,
In respect for the love and affection he show'd her,
She reduc'd him to dust and she drank up the powder.
But Queen Netherplace, of a diff'rent complexion,
When called on to order the fun'ral direction,
Would have eat her dead lord, on a slender pretence,
Not to show her respect, but—to save the expense!

by Robert Burns.

The Charity Ball

What matter the pangs of a husband and father,
If his sorrows in exile be great or be small,
So the Pharisee's glories around her she gather,
And the saint patronizes her 'charity ball!'

What matters--a heart which, though faulty, was feeling,
Be driven to excesses which once could appal--
That the sinner should suffer is only fair dealing,
As the saint keeps her charity back for 'the ball'!

by George Gordon Byron.

Among The Multitude


AMONG the men and women, the multitude,
I perceive one picking me out by secret and divine signs,
Acknowledging none else--not parent, wife, husband, brother, child,
any nearer than I am;
Some are baffled--But that one is not--that one knows me.

Ah, lover and perfect equal!
I meant that you should discover me so, by my faint indirections;
And I, when I meet you, mean to discover you by the like in you.

by Walt Whitman.

Marching (As Seen From The Left File)

My eyes catch ruddy necks
Sturdily pressed back -
All a red brick moving glint.
Like flaming pendulums, hands
Swing across the khaki -
Mustard-coloured khaki -
To the automatic feet.
We husband the ancient glory
In these bared necks and hands.
Not broke is the forge of Mars;
But a subtler brain beats iron
To shoe the hoofs of death,
(Who paws dynamic air now).
Blind fingers loose an iron cloud
To rain immortal darkness
On strong eyes.

by Isaac Rosenberg.

The Debtor Abroad

Grief for an absent lover, husband, friend,
Is barely felt before it comes to end:
A score of early consolations serve
To modify its mouth's dejected curve.
But woes of creditors when debtors flee
Forever swell the separating sea.
When standing on an alien shore you mark
The steady course of some intrepid bark,
How sweet to think a tear for you abides,
Not all unuseful, in the wave she rides!
That sighs for you commingle in the gale
Beneficently bellying her sail!

by Ambrose Bierce.

The Henpecked Husband

Chorus.—Robin shure in hairst,
I shure wi' him.
Fient a heuk had I,
Yet I stack by him.


I GAED up to Dunse,
To warp a wab o' plaiden,
At his daddie's yett,
Wha met me but Robin:
Robin shure, &c.


Was na Robin bauld,
Tho' I was a cotter,
Play'd me sic a trick,
An' me the El'er's dochter!
Robin shure, &c.


Robin promis'd me
A' my winter vittle;
Fient haet he had but three
Guse-feathers and a whittle!
Robin shure, &c.

by Robert Burns.

A Petition To Time

TOUCH us gently, Time!
Let us glide adown thy stream
Gently,—as we sometimes glide
Through a quiet dream.
Humble voyagers are We,
Husband, wife, and children three—
(One is lost,—an angel, fled
To the azure overhead.)

Touch us gently, Time!
We ’ve not proud nor soaring wings:
Our ambition, our content,
Lies in simple things.
Humble voyagers are We,
O’er Life’s dim, unsounded sea,
Seeking only some calm clime;—
Touch us gently, gentle Time!

by Barry Cornwall.

The Road To Kerity

Do you remember the two old people we passed
on the road to Kerity,
Resting their sack on the stones, by the drenched wayside,
Looking at us with their lightless eyes
through the driving rain, and then out again
To the rocks, and the long white line of the tide:
Frozen ghosts that were children once,
husband and wife, father, and mother,
Looking at us with those frozen eyes;
have you ever seen anything quite so chilled
or so old?
But we - with our arms about each other,
We did not feel the cold!

by Charlotte Mary Mew.

An Ode For Ben Jonson

Ah Ben!
Say how or when
Shall we, thy guests,
Meet at those lyric feasts,
Made at the Sun,
The Dog, the Triple Tun;
Where we such clusters had,
As made us nobly wild, not mad?
And yet each verse of thine
Out-did the meat, out-did the frolic wine.

My Ben!
Or come again,
Or send to us
Thy wit's great overplus;
But teach us yet
Wisely to husband it,
Lest we that talent spend;
And having once brought to an end
That precious stock,--the store
Of such a wit the world should have no more.

by Robert Herrick.

An Epitaph Upon Husband And Wife

TO these whom death again did wed
This grave 's the second marriage-bed.
For though the hand of Fate could force
'Twixt soul and body a divorce,
It could not sever man and wife,
Because they both lived but one life.
Peace, good reader, do not weep;
Peace, the lovers are asleep.
They, sweet turtles, folded lie
In the last knot that love could tie.
Let them sleep, let them sleep on,
Till the stormy night be gone,
And the eternal morrow dawn;
Then the curtains will be drawn,
And they wake into a light
Whose day shall never die in night.

by Richard Crashaw.

To My Dear And Loving Husband

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were lov'd by wife, then thee.
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole Mines of gold
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that Rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompetence.
Thy love is such I can no way repay.
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let's so persever
That when we live no more, we may live ever.

by Anne Bradstreet.

Lines On Seeing My Wife And Two Children Sleeping In The Same Chamber

And has the earth lost its so spacious round,
The sky its blue circumference above,
That in this little chamber there is found
Both earth and heaven—my universe of love!
All that my God can give me, or remove,
Here sleeping, save myself, in mimic death.
Sweet that in this small compass I behove
To live their living and to breathe their breath!
Almost I wish that, with one common sigh,
We might resign all mundane care and strife,
And seek together that transcendent sky,
Where Father, Mother, Children, Husband, Wife,
Together pant in everlasting life!

by Thomas Hood.

May we not love as others do,
Dearest, because we love,
A mistress I, a husband you?
Nay, our delights must prove
Either the double or the part
Of those who love with single heart.

Sweet friend, I find not any wrong
In your divided soul;
Nor you, that mine should not belong
Entire to one control.
Let simple lovers if they will
Contemn us, we outwit them still.

For small and poor and cold indeed
Is any heart that can
Hold but the measure of the need,
The joy, of any man.
Both spare and prodigal were we,
To love but you, to love but me.

by Arthur Symons.

The Soldier's Wife

Weary way-wanderer languid and sick at heart
Travelling painfully over the rugged road,
Wild-visag'd Wanderer! ah for thy heavy chance!

Sorely thy little one drags by thee bare-footed,
Cold is the baby that hangs at thy bending back
Meagre and livid and screaming its wretchedness.

Woe-begone mother, half anger, half agony,
As over thy shoulder thou lookest to hush the babe,
Bleakly the blinding snow beats in thy hagged face.

Thy husband will never return from the war again,
Cold is thy hopeless heart even as Charity--
Cold are thy famish'd babes--God help thee, widow'd One!

by Robert Southey.

Sonnet Xciv: They That Have Power To Hurt And Will Do None

They that have power to hurt and will do none,
That do not do the thing they most do show,
Who, moving others, are themselves as stone,
Unmoved, cold, and to temptation slow:
They rightly do inherit heaven's graces
And husband nature's riches from expense;
They are the lords and owners of their faces,
Others but stewards of their excellence.
The summer's flower is to the summer sweet
Though to itself it only live and die,
But if that flower with base infection meet,
The basest weed outbraves his dignity:
For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;
Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.

by William Shakespeare.

A DOLL in the doll-maker's house
Looks at the cradle and bawls:
'That is an insult to us.'
But the oldest of all the dolls,
Who had seen, being kept for show,
Generations of his sort,
Out-screams the whole shelf: 'Although
There's not a man can report
Evil of this place,
The man and the woman bring
Hither, to our disgrace,
A noisy and filthy thing.'
Hearing him groan and stretch
The doll-maker's wife is aware
Her husband has heard the wretch,
And crouched by the arm of his chair,
She murmurs into his ear,
Head upon shoulder leant:
'My dear, my dear, O dear.
It was an accident.'

by William Butler Yeats.

She's tall and gaunt, and in her hard, sad face
With flashes of the old fun's animation
There lowers the fixed and peevish resignation
Bred of a past where troubles came apace.
She tells me that her husband, ere he died,
Saw seven of their children pass away,
And never knew the little lass at play
Out on the green, in whom he's deified.
Her kin dispersed, her friends forgot and gone,
All simple faith her honest Irish mind,
Scolding her spoiled young saint, she labours on:
Telling her dreams, taking her patients' part,
Trailing her coat sometimes: and you shall find
No rougher, quainter speech, nor kinder heart.

by William Ernest Henley.

True Christian, tender husband, gentle Sire,
A stricken household mourns thee, but its loss
Is Heaven's gain and thine; upon the cross
God hangs the crown, the pinion, and the lyre:
And thou hast won them all. Could we desire
To quench that diadem's celestial light,
To hush thy song and stay thy heavenward flight,
Because we miss thee by this autumn fire?
Ah, no! ah, no! -- chant on! -- soar on! -- Reign on!
For we are better -- thou art happier thus;
And haply from the splendor of thy throne,
Or haply from the echoes of thy psalm,
Something may fall upon us, like the calm
To which thou shalt hereafter welcome us!

by Henry Timrod.

Sonnet 94: They That Have Power To Hurt And Will Do None

They that have power to hurt and will do none,
That do not do the thing, they most do show,
Who, moving others, are themselves as stone,
Unmovèd, cold, and to temptation slow,
They rightly do inherit heaven's graces,
And husband nature's riches from expense;
They are the lords and owners of their faces,
Others, but stewards of their excellence.
The summer's flower is to the summer sweet,
Though to itself, it only live and die,
But if that flower with base infection meet,
The basest weed outbraves his dignity.
For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;
Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.

by William Shakespeare.

Sonnet 93: So Shall I Live, Supposing Thou Art True

So shall I live, supposing thou art true,
Like a deceived husband; so love's face
May still seem love to me, though altered new;
Thy looks with me, thy heart in other place:
For there can live no hatred in thine eye,
Therefore in that I cannot know thy change.
In many's looks, the false heart's history
Is writ in moods, and frowns, and wrinkles strange.
But heaven in thy creation did decree
That in thy face sweet love should ever dwell;
Whate'er thy thoughts, or thy heart's workings be,
Thy looks should nothing thence, but sweetness tell.
How like Eve's apple doth thy beauty grow,
If thy sweet virtue answer not thy show!

by William Shakespeare.

Methought I Saw My Late Espoused Saint

Methought I saw my late espoused Saint
Brought to me like Alcestis from the grave,
Who Jove's great Son to her glad Husband gave,
Rescu'd from death by force though pale and faint.
Mine as whom washt from spot of child-bed taint
Purification in the old Law did save,
And such as yet once more I trust to have
Full sight of her in Heav'n without restraint,
Came vested all in white, pure as her mind:
Her face was veil'd, yet to my fancied sight
Love, sweetness, goodness in her person shin'd
So clear, as in no face with more delight.
But O as to embrace me she enclin'd
I wak'd, she fled, and day brought back my night.

by John Milton.

Say, did his sisters wonder what could Joseph see
In a mild, silent little Maid like thee?
And was it awful, in that narrow house,
With God for Babe and Spouse?
Nay, like thy simple, female sort, each one
Apt to find Him in Husband and in Son,
Nothing to thee came strange in this.
Thy wonder was but wondrous bliss:
Wondrous, for, though
True Virgin lives not but does know,
(Howbeit none ever yet confess'd,)
That God lies really in her breast,
Of thine He made His special nest!
And so
All mothers worship little feet,
And kiss the very ground they've trod;
But, ah, thy little Baby sweet
Who was indeed thy God!

by Coventry Patmore.

Sonnet 93: So Shall I Live, Supposing Thou Art True

So shall I live, supposing thou art true,
Like a deceivèd husband; so love's face
May still seem love to me, though altered new,
Thy looks with me, thy heart in other place.
For there can live no hatred in thine eye,
Therefore in that I cannot know thy change.
In many's looks, the false heart's history
Is writ in moods and frowns and wrinkles strange,
But heaven in thy creation did decree
That in thy face sweet love should ever dwell;
Whate'er thy thoughts, or thy heart's workings be,
Thy looks should nothing thence but sweetness tell.
How like Eve's apple doth thy beauty grow,
If thy sweet virtue answer not thy show!

by William Shakespeare.

Holy Sonnet Xviii: Show Me, Dear Christ

Show me, dear Christ, thy Spouse, so bright and clear.
What! is it She, which on the other shore
Goes richly painted? or which, robbed and tore,
Laments and mourns in Germany and here?
Sleeps she a thousand, then peeps up one year?
Is she self-truth and errs? now new, now outwore?
Doth she, and did she, and shall she evermore
On one, on seven, or on no hill appear?
Dwells she with us, or like adventuring knights
First travail we to seek and then make love?
Betray, kind husband, thy spouse to our sights,
And let mine amorous soul court thy mild dove,
Who is most true and pleasing to thee then
When she's embraced and open to most men.

by John Donne.

Holy Sonnet Xviii: Show Me, Dear Christ, Thy Spouse, So Bright And Clear

Show me, dear Christ, thy Spouse, so bright and clear.
What! is it She, which on the other shore
Goes richly painted? or which, robbed and tore,
Laments and mourns in Germany and here?
Sleeps she a thousand, then peeps up one year?
Is she self-truth and errs? now new, now outwore?
Doth she, and did she, and shall she evermore
On one, on seven, or on no hill appear?
Dwells she with us, or like adventuring knights
First travail we to seek and then make love?
Betray, kind husband, thy spouse to our sights,
And let mine amorous soul court thy mild dove,
Who is most true and pleasing to thee then
When she's embraced and open to most men.

by John Donne.

XXIII

Methought I saw my late espoused saint
Brought to me, like Alcestis, from the grave,
Whom Jove's great son to her glad husband gave,
Rescued from death by force, though pale and faint.
Mine, as whom washed from spot of child-bed taint
Purification in the Old Law did save,
And such, as yet once more I trust to have
Full sight of her in Heav'n without restraint,
Came vested all in white, pure as her mind:
Her face was veiled, yet to my fancied sight
Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shined
So clear, as in no face with more delight.
But O, as to embrace me she inclined,
I waked, she fled, and day brought back my night.

by John Milton.

Here is a tale for proper men and virgins:
There was a woman once who had a daughter,
A fair-faced wench, as stable as is water,
And frailer than the first spring flower that burgeons.
She did not need to work, but then her mother
Thought it more suitable, and circumspectly
Put her with gentlefolks, where, indirectly,
She rose in service as has many another.
The house she served in soon became divided:
The wife and husband parted, with some scandal:
But she remained and, in the end, was married.
What happened then? You'll say, 'The girl decided
She loved another. 'Nay; not so. The vandal
Wrecked no more homes but lived a life unvaried.

by Madison Julius Cawein.

For The Restoration Of My Dear Husband From A Burning Ague, June, 1661.

When feares and sorrowes me besett,
Then did'st thou rid me out;
When heart did faint and spirits quail,
Thou comforts me about.
Thou rais'st him vp I feard to loose,
Regau'st me him again:
Distempers thou didst chase away;
With strenght didst him sustain.
My thankfull heart, with Pen record
The Goodnes of thy God;
Let thy obedience testefye
He taught thee by his rod.
And with his staffe did thee support,
That thou by both may'st learn;
And 'twixt the good and evill way,
At last, thou mig'st discern.
Praises to him who hath not left
My Soul as destitute;
Nor turnd his ear away from me,
But graunted hath my Suit.

by Anne Bradstreet.

Once, when my husband was a child, there came
To his father's table, one who called him kin,
In sunbleached corduroys paler than his skin.
His look was grave and kind; he bore the name
Of the dead singer of Senlac, and his smile.
Shyly and courteously he smiled and spoke;
"I've been in the laurel since the winter broke;
Four months, I reckon; yes, sir, quite a while."

He'd killed a score of foemen in the past,
In some blood feud, a dark and monstrous thing;
To him it seemed his duty. At the last
His enemies found him by a forest spring,
Which, as he died, lay bright beneath his head,
A silver shield that slowly turned to red.

by Elinor Morton Wylie.

Sonnets Xciv: They That Have Power To Hurt And Will Do None

They that have power to hurt and will do none,
That do not do the thing they most do show,
Who, moving others, are themselves as stone,
Unmoved, cold, and to temptation slow:
They rightly do inherit heaven's graces
And husband nature's riches from expense;
They are the lords and owners of their faces,
Others but stewards of their excellence.
The summer's flower is to the summer sweet
Though to itself it only live and die,
But if that flower with base infection meet,
The basest weed outbraves his dignity:
For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;
Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.

by William Shakespeare.

THEY that have power to hurt and will do none,
That do not do the thing they most do show,
Who, moving others, are themselves as stone,
Unmoved, cold, and to temptation slow--
They rightly do inherit heaven's graces,
And husband nature's riches from expense;
They are the Lords and owners of their faces,
Others, but stewards of their excellence.
The summer's flower is to the summer sweet,
Though to itself it only live and die;
But if that flower with base infection meet,
The basest weed outbraves his dignity:
   For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;
   Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.

by William Shakespeare.

Sonnet Xv: Since To Obtain Thee

His Remedy for Love

Since to obtain thee nothing will be stead,
I have a med'cine that shall cure my love,
The powder of her heart dried, when she is dead,
That gold nor honor ne'er had power to move,
Mixt with her tears, that ne'er her true-love crost
Nor at fifteen ne'er long'd to be a bride,
Boil'd with her sighs in giving up the ghost,
That for her late deceased husband died;
Into the same then let a woman breathe,
That, being chid, did never word reply,
With one thrice-married's prayers, that did bequeath
A legacy to stale virginity.
If this receipt have not the power to win me,
Little I'll say, but think the Devil's in me.

by Michael Drayton.

Anonymous Plays: Xviii

MORE yet and more, and yet we mark not all:
The Warning fain to bid fair women heed
Its hard brief note of deadly doom and deed;
The verse that strewed too thick with flowers the hall
Whence Nero watched his fiery festival;
That iron page wherein men’s eyes who read
See, bruised and marred between two babes that bleed,
A mad red-handed husband’s martyr fall;
The scene which crossed and streaked with mirth the strife
Of Henry with his sons and witchlike wife;
And that sweet pageant of the kindly fiend,
Who, seeing three friends in spirit and heart made one,
Crowned with good hap the true-love wiles he screened
In the pleached lanes of pleasant Edmonton.

by Algernon Charles Swinburne.

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