Marriage a-la-Mode

By John Dryden 1631–1700 John Dryden
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.
 John  Dryden


After John Donne and John Milton, John Dryden was the greatest English poet of the seventeenth century. After William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson, he was the greatest playwright. And he has no peer as a writer of prose, especially literary criticism, and as a translator. Other figures, such as George Herbert or Andrew Marvell or William Wycherley or William Congreve, may figure more prominently in anthologies and literary . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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