Emily Hardcastle, Spinster

By John Crowe Ransom 1888–1974
We shall come tomorrow morning, who were not to have her love,   
We shall bring no face of envy but a gift of praise and lilies   
To the stately ceremonial we are not the heroes of.

Let the sisters now attend her, who are red-eyed, who are wroth;   
They were younger, she was finer, for they wearied of the waiting   
And they married them to merchants, being unbelievers both.

I was dapper when I dangled in my pepper-and-salt;   
We were only local beauties, and we beautifully trusted
If the proud one had to tarry, one would have her by default.

But right across the threshold has her grizzled Baron come;
Let them robe her, Bride and Princess, who’ll go down a leafy archway   
And seal her to the Stranger for his castle in the gloom.

John Crowe Ransom, “Emily Hardcastle, Spinster” from Selected Poems, Revised and Enlarged Edition. Copyright 1924, 1927, 1934, 1939, 1945, © 1962, 1963 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.

Source: Selected Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1969)

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Poet John Crowe Ransom 1888–1974

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

SCHOOL / PERIOD Fugitive

Subjects Sorrow & Grieving, Gender & Sexuality, Marriage & Companionship, Social Commentaries, Living, Death

Poetic Terms Elegy, Persona

 John Crowe Ransom

Biography

John Crowe Ransom was one of the leading poets of his generation. A highly respected teacher and critic, Ransom was intimately connected to the early twentieth-century literary movement known as the Fugitives,  later the Southern Agrarians. Around the year 1915, a group of fifteen or so Vanderbilt University teachers and students began meeting informally to discuss trends in American life and literature. Led by John Crowe . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Sorrow & Grieving, Gender & Sexuality, Marriage & Companionship, Social Commentaries, Living, Death

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

SCHOOL / PERIOD Fugitive

Poetic Terms Elegy, Persona

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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