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About this poet

George Meredith was born in Portsmouth, England, on February 12, 1828. A poet, essayist, and novelist, his collection of fifty sixteen-line poems about the failure of a marriage, Modern Love (1862), is sometimes referred to as a "Meredithian sonnet cycle." Among his many other collections of poetry and prose, he is known for his witty and popular work, The Egoist: A Comedy in Narrative (1879), which was published in three volumes. He died on May 18, 1909, in Box Hill Surrey, England. 

Modern Love: XV

I think she sleeps: it must be sleep, when low
Hangs that abandoned arm toward the floor;
The face turned with it. Now make fast the door.
Sleep on it: it is your husband, not your foe.
The Poet’s black stage-lion of wronged love,
Frights not our modern dames:—well if he did!
Now will I pour new light upon that lid,
Full-sloping like the breasts beneath. ‘Sweet dove,
Your sleep is pure. Nay, pardon: I disturb. 
I do not? good!’ Her waking infant-stare
Grows woman to the burden my hands bear:
Her own handwriting to me when no curb
Was left on Passion’s tongue. She trembles through;
A woman’s tremble—the whole instrument:—
I show another letter lately sent.
The words are very like: the name is new.
 

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

George Meredith

George Meredith

George Meredith was born in Portsmouth, England, on February 12, 1828.

by this poet

poem
She issues radiant from her dressing-room,
Like one prepared to scale an upper sphere:
—By stirring up a lower, much I fear!
How deftly that oiled barber lays his bloom!
That long-shanked dapper Cupid with frisked curls
Can make known woman torturingly fair;
poem
It is no vulgar nature I have wived.
Secretive, sensitive, she takes a wound
Deep to her soul, as if the sense had swooned,
And not a thought of vengeance had survived.
No confidences has she: but relief
Must come to one whose suffering is acute.
O have a care of natures that are mute!
They punish you in acts:
poem
This golden head has wit in it. I live
Again, and a far higher life, near her.
Some women like a young philosopher;
Perchance because he is diminutive.
For woman’s manly god must not exceed
Proportions of the natural nursing size.
Great poets and great sages draw no prize
With women: but the little lap-dog breed