John Dryden

(9 August 1631 – 1 May 1700 / Northamptonshire, England)

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Marriage A-La-Mode

Why should a foolish marriage vow,
Which long ago was made,
Oblige us to each other now
When passion is decay'd?
We lov'd, and we lov'd, as long as we could,
Till our love was lov'd out in us both:
But our marriage is dead, when the pleasure is fled:
'Twas pleasure first made it an oath.

If I have pleasures for a friend,
And farther love in store,
What wrong has he whose joys did end,
And who could give no more?
'Tis a madness that he should be jealous of me,
Or that I should bar him of another:
For all we can gain is to give our selves pain,
When neither can hinder the other.

Submitted: Thursday, May 17, 2001
Edited: Thursday, May 17, 2001

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  • A L (8/6/2014 10:17:00 PM)

    Is it just me or the lady who is reciting all these poems is just terrible and should stop? ? ? ? (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 565 Points Francis Lynch (8/6/2014 7:29:00 AM)

    So, this is the poet speaking for first person wife. Very modern. Very unusual for the time. Very honest. Shows women to be the sexual beings they were, and are. Took me a while. I thought Dryden was doing the Bumbury a la Wilde. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 119 Points Skywee Gh (8/6/2014 5:41:00 AM)

    a la mode, marriage names two to be a naming ceremony to a baby is one, it grows to understand the one unique given to him/her.but marriage, two as one to call love'd is neccessary to understand eachother as one.grow as and love'd as one..thanks for the poem (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 543 Points Babatunde Aremu (8/6/2013 10:05:00 AM)

    Love is to be endured. There is no perfect straight road without a bend. All we need is understanding. Nice poem, I like it. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 46 Points Barb Mcavaney (8/6/2012 3:56:00 PM)

    Oh how true this poem is. I have lived it and now happy as can be. A marriage that has died is so toxic to live by. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 46 Points Dj Consuelo (8/6/2012 2:44:00 PM)

    A la mode a marriage is a toad. One day it's beautiful the next it gives you warts. Don't be a poet about it, it's all for show. Such that Edgar Allan Poe doesn't even know! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 3 Points Dr Hitesh Sheth (8/6/2012 1:02:00 AM)

    Love dies before the lover in our breast-
    Sri Aurobindo...............
    So True.......................... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 3 Points Joseph Poewhit (8/6/2010 4:50:00 AM)

    [ More like each take your corner and come out fighting ]. Though marriage is for stability of family and the kids. It is the backbone of society. The Bible takes of a life long perspective and frowns on remarriage (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 147 Points Michael Harmon (8/6/2009 3:05:00 PM)

    One last point, if I may.

    I believe that poets become good (let alone great) poets not simply by What they say, but How they say it. I am always trying to improve not only on What I say, but How I say it. We may not agree with Dryden, but, then, Dryden is in the Norton Anthology, and we are not. Why? (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 147 Points Michael Harmon (8/6/2009 2:38:00 PM)

    trite, adj. worn out by constant use, no longer having freshness, originality, or novelty; hackneyed; stale. [Webster's New World Dictionary]

    This only sounds 'trite' today because sentiments like this have been repeated for three hundred years. I don't know if Dryden was the first to write about it. But he did write about it three hundred years ago! Way before Hallmark used trite poetry for its business. There are several distorted perspectives prevalent on this site, not putting old poetry-fresh when it was first written-into its proper context, is one of them. In law, ignorance of the law is not an excuse (try doing it) . In poetry, ignorance of the poetry of the past may have an excuse, but it is easily remedied: read more of it, don't write more of it. Which leads me into another issue I have with this site.

    I wish the administrators of PH would put more contemporary poems as 'Poem of the Day'. This would give all of us here much better models for our own stuff. They select too many things from previous centuries, which may be great things in their day and worthy of reading and appreciating, but not examples of how poets of today should model their own work. I have yet to see a Richard Wilbur, or Thom Gunn, or David Ferry, or Loise Bogan, or Sylvia Plath, and on and on and on... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 10 Points Ravi A (8/6/2009 1:51:00 PM)

    Love and marriage - both have different footing. Marriage is not the expression of love alone. It forms part of family build up. Family has got its own meaning. I share the same view of Shornjoe Crockpotter. Just to have the fun of sex and love alone, why should one get married? He can easily spend a night in a red street. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 10 Points Kevin Straw (8/6/2009 5:42:00 AM)

    Well done, Claudia - keep with it, girl! I too am sick of the totally uncritical comments on this site. The poem: A wonderfully expression of pure cynicism. Throughly immoral - yet modern society seems to accept it as Gospel. (Report) Reply

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