‘Thee, Mary, with this ring I wed,’
So, fourteen years ago, I said,
Behold another ring! ‘For what?’
To wed thee o’er again – why not?

With that first ring I married youth,
Grace, beauty, innocence, and truth;
Taste long admired, sense long revered.
And all my Molly then appeared.

If she, by merit since disclosed,
Prove twice the woman I supposed,
I plead that double merit now,
To justify a double vow.
Here then, today – with faith as sure,
With ardour as intense and pure,
As when amidst the rites divine
I took thy troth, and plighted mine -
To thee, sweet girl, my second ring,
A token, and a pledge, I bring;

With this I wed, till death us part.
Thy riper virtues to my heart;
Those virtues which, before untried,
The wife has added to the bride -
Those virtues, whose progressive claim,
Endearing wedlock’s very name,
My soul enjoys, my song approves,
For conscience’ sake as well as love’s.

For why? – They show me every hour
Honour’s high thought, affection’s power,
Discretion’s deed, sound judgment’s sentence,
And teach me all things – but repentance.

Previous selection Previous selection | Next selection Next
Next Title: A Slice of Wedding Cake By Robert Graves