poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

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: XVI

In our old shipwrecked days there was an hour,
When in the firelight steadily aglow,
Joined in slackly, we beheld the red chasm grow
Among the clicking coals. Our library-bower
That eve was left to us: and hushed we sat
As lovers to whom Time is whispering.
From sudden-opened doors we heard them sing:
The nodding elders mixed good wine with chat.
Well knew we that Life’s greatest treasure lay
With us, and of it was our talk. ‘Ah yes!
Love dies!’ I said: I never thought it less.
She yearned to me that sentence to unsay.
Then when the fire domed blackening, I found
Her cheek was salt against my kiss, and swift
Up the sharp scale of sobs her breast did lift:—
Now am I haunted by that taste! that sound!
 

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
All other joys of life he strove to warm,
And magnify, and catch them to his lip:
But they had suffered shipwreck with the ship,
And gazed upon him sallow from the storm.
Or if Delusion came, ’t was but to show
The coming minute mock the one that went.
poem
Yet it was plain she struggled, and that salt
Of righteous feeling made her pitiful.
Poor twisting worm, so queenly beautiful!
Where came the cleft between us? whose the fault?
My tears are on thee, that have rarely dropped
As balm for any bitter wound of mine:
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