03 August 2009

Mellifluous Mondays: A man will ne'er quite understand

"Woman" by Coventry Patmore

A woman is a foreign land,
Of which, though there he settle young,
A man will ne'er quite understand
The customs, politics and tongue;
The foolish hie them post-haste thro',
See fashions odd and prospects fair,
Learn of the language How d'ye do?
And go and brag they have been there.
The most for leave to trade apply
For once at Empire's seat, her heart,
Then get what knowledge ear and eye
Glean chancewise in the life-long mart.
And certain others, few and fit,
Attach them to the Court and see
The Country's best, its accent hit,
And partly sound its Polity.


A clever fellow, that Patmore. He was another of the Victorian litterati and a friend of Tennyson. One wonders which category he fit into: the foolish braggarts, the chancing traders, or the sincerely attached?

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