Modern Love: XX
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).
2Who sniff at vice and, daring not to snap,
3Do therefore hope for heaven. I take the hap
4Of all my deeds. The wind that fills my sails
5Propels; but I am helmsman. Am I wrecked,
6I know the devil has sufficient weight
7To bear: I lay it not on him, or fate.
8Besides, he's damned. That man I do suspect
9A coward, who would burden the poor deuce
10With what ensues from his own slipperiness.
11I have just found a wanton-scented tress
12In an old desk, dusty for lack of use.
13Of days and nights it is demonstrative,
14That, like some aged star, gleam luridly.
15If for those times I must ask charity,
16Have I not any charity to give?
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. Back to Line
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