Victorian Poetry: Poetry, Poetics, and Politics

By Isobel Armstrong | Go to book overview
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12

‘A MUSIC OF THINE OWN’

Women’s poetry - an expressive tradition?

PRECURSORS


The altar, ’tis of death! for there are laid
The sacrifice of all youth’s sweetest hopes.
It is a dreadful thing for woman’s lip
To swear the heart away; yet know that heart
Annuls the vow while speaking, and shrinks back
From the dark future which it dares not face.
The service read above the open grave
Is far less terrible than that which seals
The vow that binds the victim, not the will:
For in the grave is rest.

(Letitia Landon [L.E.L.]) 1


Swept into limbo is the host
Of heavenly angels, row on row;
The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
Pale and defeated, rise and go.
The great Jehovah is laid low,
Vanished his burning bush and rod -
Say, are we doomed to deeper woe?
Shall marriage go the way of God?


Monogamous, still at our post,
Reluctantly we undergo
Domestic round of boiled and roast,
Yet deem the whole proceeding slow.
Daily the secret murmurs grow;
We are no more content to plod
Along the beaten paths - and so
Marriage must go the way of God.


Soon, before all men, each shall toast
The seven strings unto his bow,

-318-

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