The Angel in the House

- By Coventry Patmore
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Coventry Kersey Dighton Patmore (23 July 1823 – 26 November 1896) was an English poet[1] and critic best known for The Angel in the House, his narrative poem about the Victorian ideal of a happy marriage. As a young man, Patmore found employment in the British Museum. Upon the publication of his first book of poems in 1844, he became acquainted with members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. After the death of his first wife, the grief of loss became in great measure his later theme. Patmore is today one of the least-known but best-regarded Victorian poets.
1 'Mine is no horse with wings, to gain The region of the spheral chime; He does but drag a rumbling wain, Cheer'd by the coupled bells of rhyme; And if at Fame's bewitching note My homely Pegasus pricks an ear, The world's cart-collar hugs his throat, And he's too wise to prance or rear.'
2 Thus ever answer'd Vaughan his Wife, Who, more than he, desired his fame; But, in his heart, his thoughts were rife How for her sake to earn a name. p. 14With bays poetic three times crown'd, And other college honours won, He, if he chose, might be renown'd, He had but little doubt, she none; And in a loftier phrase he talk'd With her, upon their Wedding-Day, (The eighth), while through the fields they walk'd, Their children shouting by the way.
3 'Not careless of the gift of song, Nor out of love with noble fame, I, meditating much and long What I should sing, how win a name, Considering well what theme unsung, What reason worth the cost of rhyme, Remains to loose the poet's tongue In these last days, the dregs of time, Learn that to me, though born so late, There does, beyond desert, befall (May my great fortune make me great!) The first of themes, sung last of all. In green and undiscover'd ground, Yet near where many others sing, I have the very well-head found Whence gushes the Pierian Spring.'
p. 154 Then she: 'What is it, Dear? The Life Of Arthur, or Jerusalem's Fall?' 'Neither: your gentle self, my Wife, And love, that grows from one to all. And if I faithfully proclaim Of these the exceeding worthiness, Surely the sweetest wreath of Fame Shall, to your hope, my brows caress; And if, by virtue of my choice Of this, the most heart-touching theme That ever tuned a poet's voice, I live, as I am bold to dream, To be delight to many days, And into silence only cease When those are still, who shared their bays With Laura and with Beatrice, Imagine, Love, how learned men Will deep-conceiv'd devices find, Beyond my purpose and my ken, An ancient bard of simple mind. You, Sweet, his Mistress, Wife, and Muse, Were you for mortal woman meant? Your praises give a hundred clues To mythological intent!
p. 16And, severing thus the truth from trope, In you the Commentators see Outlines occult of abstract scope, A future for philosophy! Your arm's on mine! these are the meads In which we pass our living days; There Avon runs, now hid with reeds, Now brightly brimming pebbly bays; Those are our children's songs that come With bells and bleatings of the sheep; And there, in yonder English home, We thrive on mortal food and sleep!' She laugh'd. How proud she always was To feel how proud he was of her! But he had grown distraught, because The Muse's mood began to stir.
5 His purpose with performance crown'd, He to his well-pleased Wife rehears'd, When next their Wedding-Day came round, His leisure's labour, 'Book the First.'

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Word Lists:

Prance : (of a horse) move with high springy steps

Occult : supernatural, mystical, or magical beliefs, practices, or phenomena

Theme : the subject of a talk, a piece of writing, a person's thoughts, or an exhibition; a topic


Additional Information:

Rating: C

Words: 540

Unique Words : 306

Sentences : 26

Reading Time : 2:24

Noun : 213

Conjunction : 43

Adverb : 30

Interjection : 1

Adjective : 38

Pronoun : 61

Verb : 64

Preposition : 65

Letter Count : 2,189

Sentiment : Positive

Tone : Neutral (Slightly Conversational)

Difficult Words : 137

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