Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  From “Modern Love.” I. “All Other Joys”

Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

George Meredith 1828–1909

From “Modern Love.” I. “All Other Joys”


ALL other joys of life he strove to warm,

And magnify, and catch them to his lip;

But they had suffer’d shipwreck with the ship,

And gaz’ upon him sallow from the storm.

Or if Delusion came, ’t was but to show

The coming minute mock the one that went.

Cold as a mountain in its star-pitch’d tent

Stood high Philosophy, less friend than foe;

Whom self-caged Passion, from its prison-bars,

Is always watching with a wondering hate.

Not till the fire is dying the grate,

Look we for any kinship with the stars.

Oh, wisdom never comes when it is gold,

And the great price we pay for it full worth!

We have it only when we are half earth:

Little avails that coinage to the old!