“Epithalamium II”

Behold the groom, patient in his splendor;
See the bride, coming down arrayed in glory
To the husband long prepared for her
Whom she shall thenceforth honor and support
As he shall ever love and cherish her.
But whether our first parents long ago,
The marriage toward which history always moves,
Or these two here now gathered to be joined—
Hail the groom! Hail the bride! Alleluia!
O God our Father, grant to them, we pray
As they now stand at last to enter it,
That they may ever worthily fulfil
The various sacred, sovereign purposes
For which you, in the Garden ere Man’s fall,
Ordained this holy, blest estate. Lord Christ,
Who shall one day take us your Church as bride,
Provide, we pray, that they may imitate
That archetype more perfectly each day.
And Holy Spirit, Teacher of all truth,
Stir up in them your love’s consuming fire
And, in the life they now will share, produce
Abundantly, those fruits your Word commends.
God, give them joy! and shelter them beneath
The canopy of your almighty wings
Until their flesh shall fail, or Christ return.
And, if you tarry, grant them, Sovereign Lord,
A wealth of twice-born children—theirs and yours—
Who will, within the Holy City’s gate
When all that you have said has come to pass,
Both magnify your holy, glorious name
And rise to bless these two you now have joined.

This is my second epithalamium. I wrote my first to mark the wedding of two dear friends several years ago, and gave it to them as a wedding present (so I won’t reprint it, here or elsewhere, without their approval). When I began this last month, I intended it to similarly be for a beloved friend who was then soon to be married, but I didn’t finish the poem until weeks too late, so it’s more generally dedicated to my several friends who have become married recently or are to be married soon—at least five so far this year, including one whose wedding is today.

As always, I earnestly welcome your comments, suggestions, questions, critique, or other feedback about this or any other part of my work. (In other words, if you liked this poem, or you didn’t like it, or it made you think of something, or … please leave a comment to let me know.) If you liked this, you can follow this blog, which includes one of my poems every Friday, or read other poems I’ve written here on my blog (starting with those linked from one of the “archive ” installments, since the full archive is by now, at well over a hundred poems, somewhat daunting); I’d especially like to know, as part of my preparations for a collection, which poems you think are my best. You may also share it with others, subject to my sharing policy.

This poem is also archived on my wiki.


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