Modern Love: XXXIV

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).
2The Deluge or else Fire! She's well, she thanks
3My husbandship. Our chain on silence clanks.
4Time leers between, above his twiddling thumbs.
5Am I quite well? Most excellent in health!
6The journals, too, I diligently peruse.
7Vesuvius is expected to give news:
8Niagara is no noisier. By stealth
9Our eyes dart scrutinizing snakes. She's glad
10I'm happy, says her quivering under-lip.
11"And are not you?" "How can I be?" "Take ship!
12For happiness is somewhere to be had."
13"Nowhere for me!" Her voice is barely heard.
14I am not melted, and make no pretence.
15With commonplace I freeze her, tongue and sense.
16Niagara or Vesuvius is deferred.


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
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
H. Kerpneck
RPO Edition: 
3RP 3.296.