Modern Love XXX

By George Meredith 1828–1909 George Meredith
What are we first? First, animals; and next   
Intelligences at a leap; on whom   
Pale lies the distant shadow of the tomb,   
And all that draweth on the tomb for text.   
Into which state comes Love, the crowning sun:   
Beneath whose light the shadow loses form.   
We are the lords of life, and life is warm.   
Intelligence and instinct now are one.   
But nature says: "My children most they seem   
When they least know me: therefore I decree   
That they shall suffer." Swift doth young Love flee,   
And we stand wakened, shivering from our dream.   
Then if we study Nature we are wise.   
Thus do the few who live but with the day:   
The scientific animals are they—
Lady, this is my sonnet to your eyes.

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet George Meredith 1828–1909

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Relationships, Love, Arts & Sciences, Philosophy

Poetic Terms Blank Verse, Sonnet

 George  Meredith

Biography

George Meredith was a major Victorian novelist whose career developed in conjunction with an era of great change in English literature during the second half of the nineteenth century. While his early novels largely conformed to Victorian literary conventions, his later novels demonstrated a concern with character psychology, modern social problems, and the development of the novel form that has led to his being considered an . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Love, Arts & Sciences, Philosophy

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Poetic Terms Blank Verse, Sonnet

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.