Jackie Wilson said it was reet petite

I have a special favor to ask of you all literary cats. My fiancee and I have settled on our wedding song, “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher”, a brilliant choice in my view, you can’t go wrong with Jackie Wilson. And we’ve replaced one wedding reading with a song — “One Hand, One Heart” — but I think we need to have one actual reading.

Any suggestions?

235 replies
  1. 1
    piratedan says:

    yeah tho I walk through the valley of shadow….oops, wrong occasion….

  2. 2
    The Fat Kate Middleton says:

    Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116:

    Let me not to the marriage of true minds
    Admit impediments. Love is not love
    Which alters when it alteration finds,
    Or bends with the remover to remove:
    O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
    That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
    It is the star to every wandering bark,
    Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
    Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
    Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
    Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
    But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
    If this be error and upon me proved,
    I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

  3. 3
    Jewish Steel says:

    [i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

    i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
    my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
    i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
    by only me is your doing,my darling)
    i fear
    no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
    no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
    and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
    and whatever a sun will always sing is you

    here is the deepest secret nobody knows
    (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
    and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
    higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
    and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

    i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

  4. 4
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    Let it all hang out- Molly Bloom’s soliloquy from Ulysses.

  5. 5
    Trollhattan says:

    From the Book of Mix-a-Lot, Chapter the First:
    “I like big butts and I can not lie.
    You other brothers can’t deny.”

    Has more impact spoken than sung, generally.

    Also, too, congratulations!

  6. 6
    DougJ says:

    @Jewish Steel:

    My fiancee likes that one.

  7. 7
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Jewish Steel:

    Although, I had a hard time keeping it together during that reading. And I am not the weepy type.

  8. 8
    longtimelurker says:

    John Galt’s speech from Atlas Shrugged!

  9. 9
    BGinCHI says:

    Here is what we read at our wedding. We are probably the only couple in recorded history to do so, but that’s what you get when English Profs marry each other.


    Philip Larkin, “An Arundel Tomb”

  10. 10
    Francisco The Man says:

    Das Kapital. In German.

  11. 11
    Nicole says:

    My husband and I chose Harry’s monologue at the climax of When Harry Met Sally for the second reading at our wedding. Highly recommend.

  12. 12
    Culture of Truth says:

    For a wedding, you can’t top a reading from Game of Thrones.

  13. 13
    Mnemosyne says:

    @The Fat Kate Middleton:

    That poem always reminds me of the movie version of Sense & Sensibility, and not in a good way (Marianne recites it in the rain and then nearly dies of pneumonia and grief).

    I wish I could remember what our reading was, but damned if I know.

  14. 14
    raven says:

    We used this

    When You Say Nothing At All”

    It’s amazing how you can speak right to my heart
    Without saying a word you can light up the dark
    Try as I may I could never explain
    What I hear when you don’t say a thing

    The smile on your face lets me know that you need me
    There’s a truth in your eyes sayin’ you’ll never leave me
    The touch of your hand says you’ll catch me if ever I fall
    You say it best when you say nothing at all

    All day long I can hear people talking out loud
    But when you hold me near, you drown out the crowd
    Old Mr. Webster could never define
    What’s being said between your heart and mine

    The smile on your face lets me know that you need me
    There’s a truth in your eyes sayin’ you’ll never leave me
    The touch of your hand says you’ll catch me if ever I fall
    You say it best when you say nothing at all

    The smile on your face lets me know that you need me
    There’s a truth in your eyes sayin’ you’ll never leave me
    The touch of your hand says you’ll catch me if ever I fall
    You say it best when you say nothing at all

  15. 15
    Belafon says:

    @Francisco The Man: they could go contemporary and read Wealth of Nations. If you didn’t say who it was by, most people would think it was a socialist manifesto.

  16. 16
    otmar says:

    We played http://lyrics.wikia.com/Oysterband:Blood_Wedding later in the evening at our wedding reception.

  17. 17
    BGinCHI says:

    @Mnemosyne: S&S would be a great novel if all the characters died on the first page.

  18. 18
    Jewish Steel says:

    @BGinCHI: That’s a great one! Did you also do This Be The Verse?

  19. 19
    Mnemosyne says:

    I think I read from the Song of Solomon at my friend’s wedding (Catholic Mass, very little choice in readings since it was Bible Only). On the video, you can see my eyes roll back in my head when I get to the part where I have to say “my love is like a gazelle.”

  20. 20
    J.Ty says:

    Perhaps a selection of Leonard Cohen. Dance Me to the End of Love? You can read his stuff out loud, doesn’t have to be in song form.

  21. 21
    danimal says:

    1 Corinthians 13 is a novel and untested reading in wedding ceremonies. You may want to give it a try, there’s a first time for everything.

  22. 22
    Mnemosyne says:


    I like Jane Austen, and S&S is one of my all-time favorite movies, which is why it colors my view of that sonnet so much.

  23. 23
    Amir Khalid says:

    Better, at any rate, than Harry’s speech at Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby’s wedding.

  24. 24
    BGinCHI says:

    @Jewish Steel: I wanted to do “Neurotics,” but my bent penny of a wife would not let me.

    Given the subject of “This be…” it would have been appropriate given the parenting we both got.

    You can’t beat Larkin for brutal, brutal honesty.

  25. 25
    J.Ty says:

    Or maybe some Vonnegut. Timequake has some gorgeous passages.

    Oops, my depression is showing.

  26. 26
    flukebucket says:

    So, we’ll go no more a-roving

    Lord Byron (1788-1824)

    So, we’ll go no more a-roving
    So late into the night,
    Though the heart be still as loving,
    And the moon be still as bright.

    For the sword outweighs it sheath,
    And the soul wears out the breast,
    And the heart must pause to breathe,
    And love itself have rest.

    Though the night was made for loving,
    And the day returns too soon,
    Yet we’ll go no more a-roving,
    By the light of the moon

  27. 27
    Percysowner says:

    I’m showing my age and DFH sensibilities but I always liked this

    On Marriage

    Kahlil Gibran

    You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
    You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
    Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
    But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
    And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

    Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
    Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
    Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
    Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
    Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
    Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

    Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
    For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
    And stand together yet not too near together:
    For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
    And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

  28. 28
    BGinCHI says:

    @Mnemosyne: Let’s agree to disagree then, without being disagreeable.

  29. 29
    BGinCHI says:

    @Amir Khalid: Great, now I want to go out and buy a wagon wheel coffee table.

  30. 30
    some guy says:

    “alone with everybody

    the flesh covers the bone
    and they put a mind
    in there and
    sometimes a soul,
    and the women break
    vases against the walls
    and them men drink too
    and nobody finds the
    but they keep
    crawling in and out
    of beds.
    flesh covers
    the bone and the
    flesh searches
    for more than

    there’s no chance
    at all:
    we are all trapped
    by a singular

    nobody ever finds
    the one.

    the city dumps fill
    the junkyards fill
    the madhouses fill
    the hospitals fill
    the graveyards fill

    nothing else

  31. 31
    David in NY says:

    I’d think you’d want a reading the means something to YOU, not us. Given your choice of songs, I’m darned if I can glean what that might be.

    Here, by the way, is the best poem I know on the subject of marriage — though from the perspective of someone who had been married about 60 years to his first love, and not from the perspective of a bride and groom.

    For C.
    By Richard Wilbur

    After the clash of elevator gates
    And the long sinking, she emerges where,
    A slight thing in the morning’s crosstown glare,
    She looks up toward the window where he waits,
    Then in a fleeting taxi joins the rest
    Of the huge traffic bound forever west.

    On such grand scale do lovers say good-bye—
    Even this other pair whose high romance
    Had only the duration of a dance,
    And who, now taking leave with stricken eye,
    See each in each a whole new life forgone.
    For them, above the darkling clubhouse lawn,

    Bright Perseids flash and crumble; while for these
    Who part now on the dock, weighed down by grief
    And baggage, yet with something like relief,
    It takes three thousand miles of knitting seas
    To cancel out their crossing, and unmake
    The amorous rough and tumble of their wake.

    We are denied, my love, their fine tristesse
    And bittersweet regrets, and cannot share
    The frequent vistas of their large despair,
    Where love and all are swept to nothingness;
    Still, there’s a certain scope in that long love
    Which constant spirits are the keepers of,

    And which, though taken to be tame and staid,
    Is a wild sostenuto of the heart,
    A passion joined to courtesy and art
    Which has the quality of something made,
    Like a good fiddle, like the rose’s scent,
    Like a rose window or the firmament.

    It’s those last two stanzas that do it.

  32. 32
    aimai says:

    Here is what we read at our Wedding–it has been read at many weddings. It is a poem of my mother’s:


    Where are we going, love,
    in a little yellow cart called marriage,
    a dog, loyal, running after,
    rings on our fingers?

    Broad old road
    taking us to market,
    the fields on either side
    flatten out to the sky.

    Beyond the towns
    is there an ocean
    we might in the end

    –Celia Gilbert from her book Bonfire

  33. 33
    Jewish Steel says:


    Your long defence against the non-existent.

    I don’t think I’ve ever read that one before. Brilliant!

  34. 34
    SatanicPanic says:

    Rimbaud. Definitely Rimbaud.

    ETA- or if you want something more classical, Catullus

  35. 35
    LanceThruster says:

    I will now read these special vows which Homer has prepared for this occasion. “Do you, Marge, take Homer, in richness and in poorness” — poorness is underlined — “in impotence and in potence, in quiet solitude or blasting across the alkali flats in a jet-powered, monkey- navigated”… [consults the notecards] … and it goes on like this.

    — Rev. Lovejoy officiates the Simpson’s wedding, “A Milhouse Divided”

  36. 36
    cleek says:

    @Jewish Steel:
    i heard that one read at a wedding not too long ago. people lit right up when the speaker said she was going to read something from e.e.. a lot of people assumed it was going to be something wacky or too clever for the situation. but he’s an old softy, underneath the typography.

  37. 37
    aimai says:

    @Jewish Steel: I love that poem, I have used it in a book for my husband for one of our anniversaries.

  38. 38
    Amir Khalid says:

    Come to think of it, Harry’s wagon-wheel coffee table rant would also make an interesting choice.

  39. 39
    LanceThruster says:


    “Many people need desperately to receive this message: ‘I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.”

    ― Kurt Vonnegut, Timequake

  40. 40
    hrumpole says:

    I personally love this:

    Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful, it’s that they’re unconscious. They are default settings.

    They’re the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that’s what you’re doing.

    And the so-called real world will not discourage you from operating on your default settings, because the so-called real world of men and money and power hums merrily along in a pool of fear and anger and frustration and craving and worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom all to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the centre of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about much in the great outside world of wanting and achieving…. The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.

    That is real freedom.

    (David Foster Wallace, Kenyon College). Anyone who’s been happily married knows the importance of that penultimate sentence.

    Or just have your wife read ezekiel 25:17.

  41. 41
    J.Ty says:

    @LanceThruster: Sure but that’s not really a wedding reading, right?

    My first thought was the conversation with his ex-wife when she had terminal cancer, ha.

  42. 42
    BGinCHI says:

    @Jewish Steel: Those last two lines. Oh my. Oh.

  43. 43
    Origuy says:

    Well, you could go with Robert Burns’ English Song:

    Husband, husband, cease your strife,
    Nor longer idly rave, Sir:
    Tho’ I am your wedded wife,
    Yet I am not your slave, Sir.

    ‘One of two must still obey,
    ‘Nancy, Nancy;
    ‘Is it Man or Woman, say,
    ‘My Spouse Nancy.’

    If ’tis still the lordly word,
    Service and obedience;
    I’ll desert my Sov’reign lord,
    And so, good b’ye, Allegiance!

    ‘Sad will I be, so bereft,
    ‘Nancy, Nancy;
    ‘Yet I’ll try to make a shift,
    ‘My Spouse Nancy.’

    My poor heart then break it must,
    My last hour I am near it:
    When you lay men in the dust,
    Think how you will bear it.

    ‘I will hope and trust in Heaven,
    ‘Nancy, Nancy;
    ‘Strength to bear it will be given,
    ‘My Spouse Nancy.’

    Well, Sir, from the silent dead,
    Still I’ll try to daunt you;
    Ever round your midnight bed
    Horrid sprites shall haunt you.

    ‘I’ll wed another, like my Dear,
    ‘Nancy, Nancy;
    ‘Then all hell will fly for fear,
    ‘My Spouse, Nancy.’

  44. 44
    Mnemosyne says:


    You might not hate the movie version — Emma Thompson wrote it as well as starred in it and worked quite a bit of wry humor into it, especially with Elinor’s exasperation at having to deal with Marianne.

  45. 45
    srv says:

    I’m sorry, I’m not familiar with Scandinavian Troll religious rights. Here’s what google says

    Scandinavian superstitions guided couples to not tempt fate when it came to cats.

    * Gifting a black cat to newlyweds would bring them good luck.

    * The bride who fed a cat before going to her wedding would have a happy marriage.

    * Girls who valued and loved cats would receive a marriage proposal.

    * If someone stepped on the tail of a cat, it would be at least a year before that person would wed.

    * A well fed cat would guarantee sunshine on the day of the wedding ceremony.

    * If a cat was seen at a wedding, it was a good omen, and meant the couple’s wedding was blessed with good tidings.

    * When the newlyweds were ready to move into their new home, they put out fresh milk. If the cat drank it right away, it meant a good spirit occupied the house.

    Here’s a book:

  46. 46
    SatanicPanic says:

    But enough jokes, you should read some Shel Silverstein

  47. 47
    Suffern ACE says:

    I gave my woman half my money at the general store,
    I said, “Now buy a little groceries and don’t spend no more.”
    But she paid ten dollars for a ten cent hat,
    And bought some store-bought cat food for that mean-eyed cat.

  48. 48
    JimBucksbury says:

    “Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your roots grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from your branches, you found that you were one tree and not two.”

    ― Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (not an exact quote)

  49. 49
    GrayMatters says:

    This is what we used when we got married.

    A Map of the World, by Ted Kooser

    One of the ancient maps of the world
    is heart-shaped, carefully drawn
    and once washed with bright colors,
    though the colors have faded
    as you might expect feelings to fade
    from a fragile old heart, the brown map
    of a life. But feeling is indelible,
    and longing infinite, a starburst compass
    pointing in all the directions
    two lovers might go, a fresh breeze
    swelling their sails, the future uncharted,
    still far from the edge
    where the sea pours into the stars

    Scaffolding, by Seamus Heaney

    Masons, when they start upon a building,
    Are careful to test out the scaffolding;
    Make sure that planks won’t slip at busy points,
    Secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints.
    And yet all this comes down when the job’s done
    Showing off walls of sure and solid stone.
    So if, my dear, there sometimes seems to be
    Old bridges breaking between you and me
    Never fear. We may let the scaffolds fall
    Confident that we have built our wall.

  50. 50
    BGinCHI says:

    @Mnemosyne: I’m not sure there is a humor wry enough to help my enjoyment. The Austen universe is not my kind of world. I’ll take Dickens any day.

  51. 51
    J.Ty says:

    I always thought “I’m Your Man” would be a great wedding dance song. But it should be evident by now that I don’t know what I’m talking about. It just distills the willingness–not the need, but the willingness–to put relationship over self when necessary. The examples he uses are a little extreme, but hey, it’s poetry.

    I always thought Cohen would’ve won a Nobel by now if his stuff didn’t rhyme.

  52. 52
    BGinCHI says:

    @Suffern ACE: FTW.

    I assume you meant to post this in the previous thread?

  53. 53
    LanceThruster says:


    I don’t know about that. It embodies the concept of “das Reich der Zwei.”

  54. 54
    🌷 Martin says:

    Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists… it is real… it is possible… it’s yours.

  55. 55
    scav says:

    personally, if left uniqely to me (eg not a joint decision) I might grab a definition of marriage lifted from one of the recent same-sex marriage decisions. Bit off as I’ll never have kids, but this one got me: ‘It is the Court’s fervent hope that these children will grow up “to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives.”’ Seems as good a goal as any, to ground the relationship in our lives and the community, but there should be other grand pungent definitions in similar decision. That’s what judges do. But that’s entirely a personal choice, and if there’s a favorite breakfast cereal ad or paragraph of boilerplate that you somehow read and knew you both read the same way, seeing the same joke or meaning, I’d go with that whether it dealt with marriage or not.

  56. 56
    The Ancient Randonneur says:

    My suggestion would be to offer up a selection of your more memorable blog posts from here at BJ with a focus on your Bobo and Tiger Beat on the Potomac criticism. Some of those are real classics.

  57. 57
    Chyron HR says:

    “You’re so beautiful.”

    “That’s only because I’m so in love.”

    “Its because I’m so in love with you.”

    “So love has blinded you?”

  58. 58
    J.Ty says:

    @LanceThruster: Sure, but it’s got some pretty screwed-up priorities on the narrator’s part. I prefer to think of it as a noble thought, rather than an instruction booklet. In other words, you’re right, but that song has different metadata in my meat-SQL.

  59. 59
    uila says:

    married me a wife
    she’s been trouble all my life
    run me out in the cold rain and snow

  60. 60
    aimai says:

    Here is a nice bit from the Movie version of Sense and Sensibility–in the Movie its read by one character to Marianne. I’ve always loved it but didn’t know until now that it was from the Faerie Queen:

    “What though the sea with waves continuall
    Doe eate the earth, it is no more at all ;
    Ne is the earth the lesse, or loseth ought :
    For whatsoever from one place doth fall
    Is with the tyde unto another brought :
    For there is nothing lost, that may be found if sought.”

  61. 61
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    “Rock the Boat” by the Hues Corporation.

    Also, too, “Big Ten Inch Record” by Aerosmith.

    “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” by Meatloaf.

    And of course the ultimate song for a wedding: “Every Breath You Take” by The Police. Sting is said to have remarked to a couple who made that “their song” “good luck with that!”

  62. 62
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    Cosmology Hymn from Rigveda:

    In the beginning Love arose,
    which was primal germ cell of mind.
    The Seers, searching in their hearts with wisdom,
    discovered the connection of Being in Nonbeing.

  63. 63
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Chyron HR: ZOMG, George Lucas’ idea of “romantic dialog”

    “Would you like to see my light saber?”

  64. 64
    Ridnik Chrome says:

    I was once asked to read something at a friend’s wedding, and read “The Owl and the Pussycat” by Edward Lear. It is about a wedding, after all.

  65. 65
    Trollhattan says:


    How shall I hold on to my soul, so that
    it does not touch yours? How shall I lift
    it gently up over you on to other things?
    I would so very much like to tuck it away
    among long lost objects in the dark,
    in some quiet, unknown place, somewhere
    which remains motionless when your depths resound.
    And yet everything which touches us, you and me,
    takes us together like a single bow,
    drawing out from two strings but one voice.
    On which instrument are we strung?
    And which violinist holds us in his hand?
    O sweetest of songs.

  66. 66
    gogol's wife says:


    I only recently realized that “This be the verse” is in turn a quotation from Robert Louis Stevenson. I had to watch They Were Expendable with my husband for the 1000th time, and John Wayne recites it, just to make everybody cry again.

  67. 67
    Baron Elmo says:

    One of the greatest ever lyrics about marriage was performed by the mighty Charlie Rich — and composed by his wife Margaret. It’s called “Life has its Little Ups and Downs,” and though a reading can’t convey the weight it has when sung in Charlie’s elegant voice (strong and smooth as Johnnie Walker Black), it’s still a hell of a lyric that conveys, better than anything I’ve ever seen, what they mean by “Till death do us part.”

    I don’t know how to tell her
    That I didn’t get that raise in pay today.
    And I know how much she wanted the dress In Baker’s window,
    and it breaks my heart to see her have to wait…
    And cancel all her plans we made to celebrate.

    But I can count on her to take it
    With a smile and not a frown.

    She knows that life has its little ups and downs,
    Like ponies on a merry-go-round.
    And no one grabs the brass ring every time,
    But she don’t mind.
    She wears a gold ring on her finger,
    And it’s mine.

    The new house plans we’ve had so long,
    I guess will gather dust another year.
    And the daffodils are blooming
    that she planted way last fall
    Upon the hill, and over by the gate.
    And Lord knows I hate to say again we’ll have to wait.

    But you can bet that she will take it
    With a smile and not a frown.

    She knows that life has its little ups and downs,
    Like ponies on a merry-go-round.
    And no one grabs the brass ring every time,
    But she don’t mind.
    She wears a gold ring on her finger,
    And I’m so glad that it’s mine!

    She wears a gold ring on her finger,
    And I’m so glad that it’s mine!

    Still gets me misty every time I listen.

  68. 68
    gogol's wife says:

    @David in NY:

    That’s a great one.

  69. 69
    scav says:

    @BGinCHI: Dickens subsidiary characters yes, but there would be outright slaughter of nearly each and every hero and heroine if they let me in the canon. Esther Summerson would be eraserheaded back to the textual sea even before the dreaded Little Nell. If you catch me on a charitable day, give me your address and they can be refugees in your quarter. My side’s going to almost nothing but backstory and side incidents.

  70. 70
    gogol's wife says:


    Yes, that’s one case in which the movie of a Jane Austen novel is better than the novel.

  71. 71
    Ridnik Chrome says:

    Oops, looks like the title of Edward Lear’s famous poem about the bird and the feline is enough to send one’s comment to Moderation Land. I think that’s a first for me here at BJ…

  72. 72
    aimai says:

    @flukebucket: Seems kind of like a downer, to me. Its about giving up adventuring, not settling down in love.

  73. 73
    E. says:


    @Mnemosyne: I’m not sure there is a humor wry enough to help my enjoyment. The Austen universe is not my kind of world. I’ll take Dickens any day.

    You aren’t reading Austen carefully enough. Her humor is actually very similar to Dickens’s, although it takes a bit of practice sometimes to catch. I read somewhere once that Emma is a book that “should never be read for the first time.” And I thought, My God, how true. Give Austen another try.

  74. 74
    BGinCHI says:

    @gogol’s wife: Really? What does it take from RLS?

  75. 75
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    @Jewish Steel: That’s gorgeous. I vote for that.

  76. 76
    BGinCHI says:

    @scav: The Aged P!

  77. 77
    Mnemosyne says:

    Totally random trivia I just found out: the first movie that “Baby It’s Cold Outside” appeared in was … Neptune’s Daughter, and was sung by Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalban.

    Not what I expected.

  78. 78
    BGinCHI says:

    @E.: I’m not reading Austen at all. Emma twice and all the others at least once. I didn’t say she couldn’t write or did not have a sense of humor. Only that I don’t care for it.

    The things that mostly trouble characters in her novels do not interest me much. That’s not a dismissal; it’s a matter of taste and preference.

    If I want to read about a young woman in trouble I’ll read Charles Portis’s True Grit for the 20th time. That we can’t all agree on this is one of the things that makes literature great.

  79. 79
    Mnemosyne says:


    See, and I find Dickens to be too sentimental and melodramatic. I prefer the stiff upper lip and dry humor of Austen.

  80. 80
    aimai says:

    To My Dear And Loving Husband (Ann Bradstreet)

    To my Dear and Loving Husband

    If ever two were one, then surely we.
    If ever man were lov’d by wife, then thee.
    If ever wife was happy in a man,
    Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
    I prize thy love more than whole Mines of gold
    Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
    My love is such that Rivers cAnneot quench,
    Nor ought but love from thee give recompetence.
    Thy love is such I can no way repay.
    The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
    Then while we live, in love let’s so persever
    That when we live no more, we may live ever.

  81. 81
    David in NY says:

    @gogol’s wife: Thanks. I’ve been thinking of it in relation to my elder son’s approaching wedding, but I don’t really think that, as a whole, it works for that. Anyway, it’s gonna be a Big Fat New Jersey Hindu wedding, so I don’t think there’s any readings that aren’t in Sanskrit.

    Ed.: Also I like that poem because I can see myself in both the first and the last stanzas.

  82. 82
    David in NY says:

    @Mnemosyne: I have come to think that’s a weird song.

    Even weirder contemplating Ricardo and Esther.

  83. 83
    Roger Moore says:


    But enough jokes, you should read some Shel Silverstein

    How about William McGonagall?

  84. 84
    scav says:

    @BGinCHI: We can arrange trades and visas for everyone else. I’ve a weird fondness for Reginald Wilfer for reasons I’m unable to explain.

  85. 85
    eemom says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    Yes, that’s one case in which the movie of a Jane Austen novel is better than the novel.

    Also too, Colin Firth as Darcy in the BBC P&P was hotter than Darcy in the novel. OMG he was hot.

  86. 86
    Trollhattan says:

    @David in NY:

    Wow, do you have to cut any Bollywood moves during the ceremony?

  87. 87
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Lovers Infiniteness by John Donne

    IF yet I have not all thy love,
    Dear, I shall never have it all ;
    I cannot breathe one other sigh, to move,
    Nor can intreat one other tear to fall ;
    And all my treasure, which should purchase thee,
    Sighs, tears, and oaths, and letters I have spent ;
    Yet no more can be due to me,
    Than at the bargain made was meant.
    If then thy gift of love were partial,
    That some to me, some should to others fall,
    Dear, I shall never have thee all.

    Or if then thou gavest me all,
    All was but all, which thou hadst then ;
    But if in thy heart since there be or shall
    New love created be by other men,
    Which have their stocks entire, and can in tears,
    In sighs, in oaths, and letters, outbid me,
    This new love may beget new fears,
    For this love was not vow’d by thee.
    And yet it was, thy gift being general ;
    The ground, thy heart, is mine ; what ever shall
    Grow there, dear, I should have it all.

    Yet I would not have all yet.
    He that hath all can have no more ;
    And since my love doth every day admit
    New growth, thou shouldst have new rewards in store ;
    Thou canst not every day give me thy heart,
    If thou canst give it, then thou never gavest it ;
    Love’s riddles are, that though thy heart depart,
    It stays at home, and thou with losing savest it ;
    But we will have a way more liberal,
    Than changing hearts, to join them ; so we shall
    Be one, and one another’s all.

  88. 88
    Stephanie says:

    My boyfriend will be reading Billy Collin’s “Litany” at his friend’s wedding this weekend:

    You are the bread and the knife,
    the crystal goblet and the wine.
    You are the dew on the morning grass
    and the burning wheel of the sun.
    You are the white apron of the baker,
    and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

    However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
    the plums on the counter,
    or the house of cards.
    And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
    There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

    It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
    maybe even the pigeon on the general’s head,
    but you are not even close
    to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

    And a quick look in the mirror will show
    that you are neither the boots in the corner
    nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

    It might interest you to know,
    speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
    that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

    I also happen to be the shooting star,
    the evening paper blowing down an alley
    and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

    I am also the moon in the trees
    and the blind woman’s tea cup.
    But don’t worry, I’m not the bread and the knife.
    You are still the bread and the knife.
    You will always be the bread and the knife,
    not to mention the crystal goblet and–somehow–the wine.

  89. 89
    BGinCHI says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Donne has lots of these. Great choice.

  90. 90
    aimai says:

    @Mnemosyne: I agree with this. Austen is so, so, dry. No one can get through the part of Sense and Sensibility where the brother and his wife decide they don’t need to give any money to the sisters without cracking up. Its brutal.

    Mrs. John Dashwood did not at all approve of what her husband intended to do for his sisters. To take three thousand pounds from the fortune of their dear little boy, would be impoverishing him to the most dreadful degree. She begged him to think again on the subject. How could he answer it to himself to rob his child, and his only child too, of so large a sum? And what possible claim could the Miss Dashwoods, who were related to him only by half blood, which she considered as no relationship at all, have on his generosity to so large an amount? It was very well known that no affection was ever supposed to exist between the children of any man by different marriages; and why was he to ruin himself, and their poor little Harry, by giving away all his money to his half sisters?

    “It was my father’s last request to me,” replied her husband, “that I should assist his widow and daughters.”

    “He did not know what he was talking of, I dare say; ten to one but he was light-headed at the time. Had he been in his right senses, he could not have thought of such a thing as begging you to give away half your fortune from your own child.”

    “He did not stipulate for any particular sum, my dear Fanny; he only requested me, in general terms, to assist them, and make their situation more comfortable than it was in his power to do. Perhaps it would have been as well if he had left it wholly to myself. He could hardly suppose I should neglect them. But as he required the promise, I could not do less than give it: at least I thought so at the time. The promise, therefore, was given, and must be performed. Something must be done for them whenever they leave Norland and settle in a new home.”

    “Well, then, let something be done for them; but that something need not be three thousand pounds. Consider,” she added, “that when the money is once parted with, it never can return. Your sisters will marry, and it will be gone for ever. If, indeed, it could ever be restored to our little boy….”

    “Why, to be sure,” said her husband, very gravely, “that would make a great difference. The time may come when Harry will regret that so large a sum was parted with. If he should have a numerous family, for instance, it would be a very convenient addition.”

    “To be sure it would.”

    “Perhaps, then, it would be better for all parties if the sum were diminished one half. Five hundred pounds would be a prodigious increase to their fortunes!”

    “Oh! beyond anything great! What brother on earth would do half so much for his sisters, even if really his sisters! And as it is — only half blood! — But you have such a generous spirit!”

    “I would not wish to do anything mean,” he replied. “One had rather, on such occasions, do too much than too little. No one, at least, can think I have not done enough for them: even themselves, they can hardly expect more.”

    “There is no knowing what they may expect,” said the lady, “but we are not to think of their expectations: the question is, what you can afford to do.”

    “Certainly, and I think I may afford to give them five hundred pounds a-piece. As it is, without any addition of mine, they will each have above three thousand pounds on their mother’s death a very comfortable fortune for any young woman.”

    “To be sure it is: and, indeed, it strikes me that they can want no addition at all. They will have ten thousand pounds divided amongst them. If they marry, they will be sure of doing well; and if they do not, they may all live very comfortably together on the interest of ten thousand pounds.”

    “That is very true, and, therefore, I do not know whether, upon the whole, it would not be more advisable to do something for their mother while she lives rather than for them; something of the annuity kind I mean. My sisters would feel the good effects of it as well as herself. A hundred a year would make them all perfectly comfortable.”

    His wife hesitated a little, however, in giving her consent to this plan.

    “To be sure,” said she, “it is better than parting with fifteen hundred pounds at once. But then if Mrs. Dashwood should live fifteen years, we shall be completely taken in.”

    “Fifteen years! my dear Fanny; her life cannot be worth half that purchase.”

    “Certainly not; but if you observe, people always live for ever when there is any annuity to be paid them; and she is very stout and healthy, and hardly forty. An annuity is a very serious business; it comes over and over every year, and there is no getting rid of it. You are not aware of what you are doing. I have known a great deal of the trouble of annuities; for my mother was clogged with the payment of three to old superannuated servants by my father’s will, and it is amazing how disagreeable she found it. Twice every year, these annuities were to be paid; and then there was the trouble of getting it to them; and then one of them was said to have died, and afterwards it turned out to be no such thing. My mother was quite sick of it. Her income was not her own, she said, with such perpetual claims on it; and it was the more unkind in my father, because, otherwise, the money would have been entirely at my mother’s disposal, without any restriction whatever. It has given me such an abhorrence of annuities, that I am sure I would not pin myself down to the payment of one for all the world.”

    “It is certainly an unpleasant thing,” replied Mr. Dashwood, “to have those kind of yearly drains on one’s income. One’s fortune, as your mother justly says, is not one’s own. To be tied down to the regular payment of such a sum, on every rent day, is by no means desirable: it takes away one’s independence.”

    “Undoubtedly; and, after all, you have no thanks for it. They think themselves secure, you do no more than what is expected, and it raises no gratitude at all. If I were you, whatever I did should be done at my own discretion entirely. I would not bind myself to allow them anything yearly. It may be very inconvenient some years to spare a hundred, or even fifty pounds from our own expences.”

    “I believe you are right, my love; it will be better that there should be no annuity in the case; whatever I may give them occasionally will be of far greater assistance than a yearly allowance, because they would only enlarge their style of living if they felt sure of a larger income, and would not be sixpence the richer for it at the end of the year. It will certainly be much the best way. A present of fifty pounds, now and then, will prevent their ever being distressed for money, and will, I think be amply discharging my promise to my father.”

    “To be sure it will. Indeed, to say the truth, I am convinced within myself that your father had no idea of your giving them any money at all. The assistance he thought of, I dare say, was only such as might be reasonably expected of you; for instance, such as looking out for a comfortable small house for them, helping them to move their things, and sending them presents of fish and game, and so forth, whenever they are in season. I’ll lay my life that he meant nothing farther; indeed, it would be very strange and unreasonable if he did. Do but consider, my dear Mr. Dashwood, how excessively comfortable your mother-in-law and her daughters may live on the interest of seven thousand pounds, besides the thousand pounds belonging to each of the girls, which brings them in fifty pounds a-year a-piece, and, of course, they will pay their mother for their board out of it. Altogether, they will have five hundred a-year amongst them, and what on earth can four women want for more than that? They will live so cheap! Their housekeeping will be nothing at all. They will have no carriage, no horses, and hardly any servants; they will keep no company, and can have no expences of any kind! Only conceive how comfortable they will be! Five hundred a-year! I am sure I cannot imagine how they will spend half of it; and as to your giving them more, it is quite absurd to think of it. They will be much more able to give you something.”

    “Upon my word,” said Mr. Dashwood, “I believe you are perfectly right. My father certainly could mean nothing more by his request to me than what you say. I clearly understand it now, and I will strictly fulfil my engagement by such acts of assistance and kindness to them as you have described. When my mother removes into another house my services shall be readily given to accommodate her as far as I can. Some little present of furniture, too, may be acceptable then.”

    “Certainly,” returned Mrs. John Dashwood. “But, however, one thing must be considered. When your father and mother moved to Norland, though the furniture of Stanhill was sold, all the china, plate, and linen was saved, and is now left to your mother. Her house will therefore be almost completely fitted up as soon as she takes it.”

    “That is a material consideration undoubtedly. A valuable legacy indeed! And yet some of the plate would have been a very pleasant addition to our own stock here.”

    “Yes; and the set of breakfast china is twice as handsome as what belongs to this house. A great deal too handsome, in my opinion, for any place they can ever afford to live in. But, however, so it is. Your father thought only of them . And I must say this: that you owe no particular gratitude to him, nor attention to his wishes, for we very well know that if he could, he would have left almost everything in the world to them .”

    This argument was irresistible. It gave to his intentions whatever of decision was wanting before; and he finally resolved, that it would be absolutely unnecessary, if not highly indecorous, to do more for the widow and children of his father, than such kind of neighbourly acts as his own wife pointed out.

  91. 91
    Lolis says:

    Pablo Neruda love poems are the best

  92. 92
    aimai says:

    @Stephanie: Fantastic! Just fantastic!

  93. 93
    David in NY says:

    @Trollhattan: Not that I’ve been informed. It’s actually not such a “Big Fat” wedding as a “Medium-sized, a Little Chubby” one. Groom is refusing to come in on horse, much less elephant. But we’re not involved in the planning (much) so who knows.

  94. 94
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @BGinCHI: I’ve always liked Donne.

  95. 95
    Emma says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I went to a wedding where they played that. My cousin, whose sense of humor was utterly reprehensible and could find something to say just about anything muttered “so do we start the pool on which one ends up with the boiled cat and the knife in the back?” I think I busted a rib trying to keep from howling like a lunatic!

  96. 96
    David in NY says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: @BGinCHI:

    I’ve always liked Donne.

    Me too, though I didn’t remember that one. Very nice.

  97. 97
    Mnemosyne says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    The movie version of Persuasion is also very good — it came out the same year as S&S.

  98. 98

    Whew. Made it home–had to use some back roads. Police says we are unlikely to be evacuated so I feel fortunate. Saw a few houses on fire. Sad. Police said that probably 30 or so houses have caught fire. Dogs are alright and glad our neighbor took them in his home.
    Gonna go and help some other neighbors pack up their stuff. Don’t blame them for taking off.

  99. 99
    Julie says:

    @Percysowner: I was just about to suggest this. We read a portion of it at our wedding, during a wine ceremony (an updated take on the old unity candle), and it was lovely.

  100. 100
    lethargytartare says:

    Plato’s Symposium is a nice resource – my brother use the “zeus cracked us in half” passage as a reading at his wedding, and in a moment of collusion-free serendipity, I’d selected a different passage for the toast.

  101. 101
    booferama says:

    @The Fat Kate Middleton: Gotta disagree. Not only is it kind of a marital cliche, the poem’s message is much more complex than it appears at first; it’s not really a pro-marriage poem so much as a subtle dig at the faithfulness of the couple.

  102. 102
    David in NY says:

    @lethargytartare: I’ve seen that one done at a wedding. It was great — marriage of a couple of mathematicians, seemed appropriate somehow.

  103. 103
    kbuttle says:

    I carry your heart. I carry it in my heart.


  104. 104
    elmo says:

    @ranchandsyrup: Be careful! Very glad your home appears to be safe, but remember that winds can turn at any time.

    Fire in May!! What is October going to be like, for God’s sake?

    Stay safe!

  105. 105
    FlipYrWhig says:


    That poem always reminds me of the movie version of Sense & Sensibility

    Also works well as a dead giveaway for which of my students actually read Sense & Sensibility, in which Shakespeare’s sonnets never appear.

  106. 106
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I read this one at my brother’s wedding:

    Happy they! the happiest of their Kind!
    Whom gentler Stars unite, and in one Fate
    Their Hearts, their Fortunes, and their Beings blend.
    ‘Tis not the coarser Tie of human Laws,
    Unnatural oft, and foreign to the Mind,
    That binds their Peace, but Harmony itself,
    Attuning all their Passions into Love;
    Where Friendship full-exerts her softest Power,
    Perfect Esteem enliven’d by Desire
    Ineffable, and Sympathy of Soul;
    Thought meeting Thought, and Will preventing Will,
    With boundless Confidence: for nought but Love
    Can answer Love, and render Bliss secure.

    James Thomson, _Spring_, 1729.

  107. 107
    Rex Everything says:

    Dr James Dobson on marriage:

    – Guard your family relationships against erosion as though you were defending your very lives. –Love for a Lifetime, p. 111
    – Don’t permit the possibility of divorce to enter your thinking. Even in moments of great conflict and discouragement, divorce is no easy solution. –Love for a Lifetime, p. 103
    – A husband and wife should have a date every week or two, leaving the children at home and forgetting their problems for an evening. –The New Dare to Discipline, p. 245
    – Both good marriages and bad marriages have moments of conflict, but in healthy relationships, the husband and wife search for answers and areas of agreement because they love each other. –Preparing for Adolescence, p. 100
    – If a husband and wife are deeply committed to Jesus Christ, they enjoy enormous advantages over the family with no spiritual commitment. –Love for a Lifetime, p. 49
    – Marital problems are almost inevitable when couples overcommit themselves during the early years. The bonding that should occur in the first decade requires time together–time that cannot be given if it is absorbed elsewhere. Success will wait, but a happy family will not. –Parenting Isn’t for Cowards, p. 189
    – Married life is a marathon. It is not enough to make a great start toward long-term marriage. You will need the determination to keep plugging. Only then will you make it to the end. –Love for a Lifetime, p. 120
    – A personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of marriage, giving meaning and purpose to every dimension of living. –Love for a Lifetime, p. 52
    – Committed love is expensive, but it yields the highest returns on the investment at maturity. –What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew about Women, p. 176
    – Men typically derive self-esteem by being respected; women feel worthy when they are loved. –What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew about Women, p. 64
    – Every husband should seek to keep the romantic fires aglow in the relationship, by the use of love notes and surprises and candlelight dinners and unexpected weekend trips. –Straight Talk to Men, p. 125
    – Love is not defined by the emotional highs and lows, but is dependent upon a steady and unchanging commitment of the will. –What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew about Women, p. 91

  108. 108
    Roger Moore says:


    Fire in May!! What is October going to be like, for God’s sake?

    There won’t be much left to burn.

  109. 109
    NotMax says:

    I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.
            – Pablo Neruda

  110. 110
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @lethargytartare:Plus it segues neatly into The Origin of Love from Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

  111. 111
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @eemom: Darcy is a dick. Edward Ferrars in S&S is a total zero. Captain Wentworth is probably the best of the Austen men.

  112. 112
    gogol's wife says:



    Under the wide and starry sky,
    Dig the grave and let me lie.
    Glad did I live and gladly die,
    And I laid me down with a will.

    This be the verse you grave for me:
    Here he lies where he longed to be;
    Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
    And the hunter home from the hill.

  113. 113
    David in NY says:

    @Rex Everything: You really know how to spoil a good time, doncha?

  114. 114
    Rex Everything says:

    @David in NY: I try.

  115. 115
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Rex Everything:

    “Mary and I have been married for 50 years and we have never once said the word ‘divorce.’ Murder, yes, but divorce, never!”
    – Jack Benny

  116. 116
    gogol's wife says:


    There is nothing hotter than Colin in P&P. But I think the novel Darcy is pretty hot too.

  117. 117
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Rex Everything:
    I doubt that this happy couple would be receptive to the words of him who founded Focus on The Family, especially at their wedding.

  118. 118
    chopper says:

    And we’ve replaced one wedding reading with a song — “One Hand, One Heart”

    please say it’s the version by schlong.

  119. 119
    p.a. says:

    Without you, Heaven would be too dull to bear

    And Hell would not be Hell if you are there.

    John Sparrow
    (1906 – 1992) English academic, barrister & book-collector

    “Drive My Car”

    Asked a girl what she wanted to be
    She said baby, “Can’t you see
    I wanna be famous, a star on the screen
    But you can do something in between”

    Baby you can drive my car
    Yes I’m gonna be a star
    Baby you can drive my car
    And maybe I love you

    I told a girl that my prospects were good
    And she said baby, “It’s understood
    Working for peanuts is all very fine
    But I can show you a better time”

    Baby you can drive my car
    Yes I’m gonna be a star
    Baby you can drive my car
    And maybe I love you
    Beep beep’m beep beep yeah

    Baby you can drive my car
    Yes I’m gonna be a star
    Baby you can drive my car
    And maybe I love you

    I told that girl I can start right away
    And she said, “Listen baby I got something to say
    I got no car and it’s breaking my heart
    But I’ve found a driver and that’s a start”

    Baby you can drive my car
    Yes I’m gonna be a star
    Baby you can drive my car
    And maybe I love you
    Beep beep’m beep beep yeah
    Beep beep’m beep beep yeah
    Beep beep’m beep beep

  120. 120
    gogol's wife says:


    But not better than the novel! I do love Ciaran Hinds though.

  121. 121
    BGinCHI says:

    @ranchandsyrup: Dude, I had no idea your place was getting threatened! Hope everything is ok.

  122. 122

    I think we did something Biblical at our wedding to appease the Baptist contigent.

    How about Oscar Wilde, “We Are Made One with What We Touch and See”:

    Excerpt, read the whole thing here.

    We shall be notes in that great Symphony
    Whose cadence circles through the rhythmic spheres,
    And all the live World’s throbbing heart shall be
    One with our heart, the stealthy creeping years
    Have lost their terrors now, we shall not die,
    The Universe itself shall be our Immortality!

  123. 123
    MochaDem says:

    What Was Told, That
    Jalal al-Din Rumi, 1207 – 1273

    What was said to the rose that made it open was said
    to me here in my chest.

    What was told the cypress that made it strong
    and straight, what was

    whispered the jasmine so it is what it is, whatever made
    sugarcane sweet, whatever

    was said to the inhabitants of the town of Chigil in
    Turkestan that makes them

    so handsome, whatever lets the pomegranate flower blush
    like a human face, that is

    being said to me now. I blush. Whatever put eloquence in
    language, that’s happening here.

    The great warehouse doors open; I fill with gratitude,
    chewing a piece of sugarcane,

    in love with the one to whom every that belongs!

  124. 124
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @gogol’s wife: Oh, come on. He’s aloof and condescending and she only starts to like him when she sees his giant house, at which point his aggravating and snippy attitude promptly becomes sensitive and mysterious. Ugh.

  125. 125
    qwerty42 says:

    Well, some old time religion might be just the thing:
    “The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you!”
    — or not.

  126. 126
    gogol's wife says:


    I think you need to read it again.

  127. 127
    Omnes Omnibus says:


    He’s aloof and condescending and she only starts to like him when she sees his giant house, at which point he becomes sensitive and mysterious.

    Story of my life.

  128. 128
    Kathleen says:

    I have no suggestions for a reading. I just wanted to give you props for your choice of music. Higher and Higher is one of my top 5 favorite songs of all time. The Jackie Wilson version. Not the Rita Coolidge soft rock favorite version. She committed a sacrilege by uttering one syllable.

  129. 129
    Rich (In Name Only) in Reno says:

    An Interlude
    By Julius Marx

    Did you ever sit and ponder, as you walk along the strand,
    that life’s a bitter battle at the best.
    And if you only knew it you would lend a helping hand,
    then every man could meet the final test.

    The world is but a stage, my friend, and life’s but a game,
    and how you play is all that matters in the end.
    But whether a man is right or wrong, a woman gets the blame,
    and your mother is your dog’s best friend.

    Then up came mighty Casey, and strode up to the bat,
    and Sheridan was fifty miles away.
    For it takes a heap of loving to make a home like that,
    on the road to where the flying fishes play.

    So be a real life Pagliac’
    and laugh, Clown, laugh.

  130. 130
    Mnemosyne says:


    Are you talking about the movie or the book? Because you will never manage to convince any heterosexual woman that Colin Firth is not teh hawt no matter what his character does.

  131. 131
    Hungry Joe says:

    Nowhere near us, but holy shit — this is my brother’s street RIGHT NOW: http://www.cbs8.com/story/2550.....res-burned

  132. 132
    Lyrebird says:

    My friends read this from the Velveteen Rabbit:

    ‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
    ― Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

    and e.e. cummings’ small hands like the rain (?) is amazing and makes me cry.

  133. 133
    paulgottlieb says:

    “These Arms of Mine” by Otis Redding. Loving, soulful, passionate

  134. 134
    aimai says:

    Ah, Rumi!

    Some Kiss We Want

    There is some kiss we want with
    our whole lives, the touch of

    spirit on the body. Seawater
    begs the pearl to break its shell.

    And the lily, how passionately
    it needs some wild darling! At

    night, I open the window and ask
    the moon to come and press its

    face against mine. Breathe into
    me. Close the language- door and

    open the love window. The moon
    won’t use the door, only the window.

    From Soul of Rumi
    by Coleman Barks

  135. 135
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mnemosyne: I don’t like Book Darcy at all. But I’m not much for brooding heroes in general, especially when they’re not brooding outcasts but brooding, um, in-casts.

  136. 136
    BGinCHI says:

    @Hungry Joe: Been joking all winter with my SoCal friends that they were going to burn up starting in May, but I was really hoping to be wrong. Gonna be a loooong summer.

  137. 137
    Betty Cracker says:

    I don’t have any reading suggestions that haven’t already been covered, but I did want to say congratulations!

  138. 138
    Kay says:

    @Rex Everything:

    That’s great.

    You will need the determination to keep plugging. Only then will you make it to the end

    The end of what? One of you has to die. That’s what he means.

  139. 139
    Mnemosyne says:


    I didn’t read Wuthering Heights until I was an adult and discovered that Heathcliff is actually the villain of the book who tries to ruin the lives of everyone around him and is terrified that Cathy’s ghost is going to kill him. Damn you, Hollywood!

  140. 140
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @gogol’s wife: Meh. IMHO the hot Austen bad-boy is definitely Mr. Willoughby.

  141. 141


    Funny, I read that book a million times, and I never saw Heathcliff as the villain. Just tortured and misunderstood and very heartsick.

    Those Brontes. Their expression of “true love” was always a bit warped.

  142. 142
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Hungry Joe: woah that is scary. That Carlsbad fire has apparently burned some homes already

  143. 143
  144. 144
    Rex Everything says:

    @Kay: I like this one:

    Every husband should seek to keep the romantic fires aglow in the relationship, by the use of love notes and surprises and candlelight dinners and unexpected weekend trips.

    This is from something called Straight Talk to Men, but it seems Dr. Dobson draws “inspiration” from the pocket-sized hardcovers available in the B&N checkout area.

  145. 145
    gogol's wife says:


    That’s funny! I love The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

    Darcy turns out to be a deeply moral person — isn’t that what constitutes “hot” for Jane Austen?

  146. 146
    Hungry Joe says:

    @SatanicPanic: @BGinCHI:
    It’s the Poinsettia Fire. Fortunately their house isn’t on the canyon side of the street. Lotta firefighters there, constant drops from helicopters. I’d say the chances are pretty good the neighborhood will survive, but it ain’t a sure thing.

    Hey, S.P. — should I start a band: “Poinsetttia Fire”?

  147. 147
    Randy Khan says:

    Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnets from the Portuguese, number 14:

    If thou must love me, let it be for naught
    Except for love’s sake only. Do not say,
    ‘I love her for her smile—her look—her way
    Of speaking gently,—for a trick of thought
    That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
    A sense of pleasant ease on such a day’—
    For these things in themselves, Belovèd, may
    Be changed, or change for thee—and love, so wrought,
    May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
    Thine own dear pity’s wiping my cheeks dry:
    A creature might forget to weep, who bore
    Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!
    But love me for love’s sake, that evermore
    Thou mayst love on, through love’s eternity.

    Although the Neruda @108 is pretty good, too.

  148. 148
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    O/T but utterly fucking amazing: The NRA has a hip new Web show for hip people about being hip with guns. I am not making that up. See how far you can get into it without cracking the hell up.

  149. 149
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @gogol’s wife: maybe, but not to me!

  150. 150
    scav says:

    Darcy’s pretty much a walking cliché although at least a near progenitor of the breed. Thing is, there’s still that brass tacks monetary spine behind the other stuff. Cash and Class and think things through, hold fast, don’t go overboard in any direction.

    You could not shock her more than she shocks me;
    Beside her Joyce seems innocent as grass.
    It makes me most uncomfortable to see
    An English spinster of middle class
    Describe the amorous effect of “brass”,
    Reveal so frankly and with such sobriety
    The economic basis of society.
    — Auden

  151. 151
    Kay says:

    @Rex Everything:

    I like the grimmer selections:

    Love is not defined by the emotional highs and lows, but is dependent upon a steady and unchanging commitment of the will

    How about that for a wedding! You have to close with “commitment of the will” in the sternest tone possible :)

  152. 152
    PST says:

    @The Fat Kate Middleton: Or Sonnet 115:

    Those lines that I before have writ do lie,
    Even those that said I could not love you dearer;
    Yet then my judgment knew no reason why
    My most full flame should afterwards burn clearer.
    But reckoning Time, whose million’d accidents
    Creep in ‘twixt vows and change decrees of kings,
    Tan sacred beauty, blunt the sharp’st intents,
    Divert strong minds to the course of altering things;
    Alas, why, fearing of Time’s tyranny,
    Might I not then say ‘Now I love you best,’
    When I was certain o’er incertainty,
    Crowning the present, doubting of the rest?
    Love is a babe; then might I not say so,
    To give full growth to that which still doth grow?

  153. 153
    Hungry Joe says:

    @Bubblegum Tate: Less than 90 seconds into the conversation. Not a snicker, either, but a for-real laugh. It was a good break from the fire coverage.

  154. 154
    shelley says:

    my eyes roll back in my head when I get to the part where I have to say “my love is like a gazelle.”

    Always wondered about ‘and the voice of the turtle is heard throughout the land.’

  155. 155
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Hungry Joe: Definitely! If we get someone else to form Witch Creek Fire we could have a nice little theme night

  156. 156
    aimai says:

    @Southern Beale: The system ate this comment once. I agree with you, SB. The villain of the book is the world that drove Heathcliffe and Cathy apart. Their love was natural, almost animalistic, and that which was civilized and comprehensible destroyed it. It also contains my favorite bronte scene–when the unreliable narrator, the sentimental and treacherous character who arrives from the big city and who views the scene, goes to Heathcliffe’s house and mistakes a bunch of dead rabbits for a lady’s pet.

  157. 157
    Cara says:

    @JimBucksbury: -this one was read at a wedding I attended last weekend. It was wonderful!!!

  158. 158
    Hungry Joe says:

    @SatanicPanic: Great! I’ll start learning how to play an instrument.

  159. 159
    Trollhattan says:

    Hilarious. But I wanted to be the bread and knife!

  160. 160
    PsiFighter37 says:

    I have to figure out a wedding song too. Thinking “To Make You Feel My Love” as covered by Adele, since my fiancee absolutely loves her singing (and loves the song).

  161. 161
    JPL says:

    @Bubblegum Tate: My head bands don’t come in fancy boxes and I don’t want my guns to. It’s a joke, right?

  162. 162
    Tommy says:

    I wish I had a song for you. I don’t. But I have a story. My brother and his wife got married in Florida. We have no connection to the state, other then they wanted to get married on a beach. It seems it is easier to do then you might think. We rented a few condos and just spent the week there. I am a hiker/camper. Not a huge fan of beaches. I literally never thought I’d leave the place. I was in heaven. It was amazing. I could be on that beach for the rest of my life.

  163. 163
    shelley says:

    Heathcliff is actually the villain of the book who tries to ruin the lives of everyone around him and is terrified that Cathy’s ghost is going to kill him.

    Really. Hollywood left out all those scenes like Heathcliff digging up Cathy’s corpse.

  164. 164
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Maybe it’s because I read it as an adult and not a teenager, but I was rooting for Cathy’s ghost to kill Heathcliff off. It probably didn’t help that it had always been held up as this Big Romance and I was like, WTH? Cathy runs away from him and marries someone else because she realizes he’s too unstable.

  165. 165
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Chyron HR:

    That reminded me of an anecdote from the time of Grace Kelly’s engagement to Prince Rainier. As the future princess of Monaco, Grace had to learn some basic French, and learn it quickly (among other things, her wedding services were in French). The francophone priest who was coaching her was pretty appalled at her accent, and at one point supposedly burst out, “I’ve always heard that love was blind, but I never knew it was deaf!”

  166. 166
    Rex Everything says:

    @Kay: It should be read by Christopher Lee over Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle.

  167. 167
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Ridnik Chrome:

    What are caterers charging for mince and slices of quince these days?

  168. 168
    WereBear says:

    @Trollhattan: Love that.

    Of course, if you can squeeze in another song, Ry Cooder’s Version of “Girls from Texas” fits right in.

  169. 169
    Tommy says:

    @PsiFighter37: I am not married myself, but I come back to this:


    A few marriages I’ve been to something like this might have happened. Maybe Chris Brown isn’t the best :). But in our 30s we had a little fun with getting married. Made fun of ourselves. I recall the last wedding, we all went from DC to NC. It was a Wicca wedding. Maybe one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

  170. 170
    shelley says:

    No love for Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling In Love With You.’

  171. 171
    dnfree says:

    @Percysowner: We had that at our wedding in 1967. Some people choose “On Love” from Khalil Gibran, but “On Marriage” is more realistic.

  172. 172
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I saw that at the Lake Theatre when it first came out! I think I was about 6 or 7 years old, and I loved Esther Williams (odd, as I have never learned to swim). I’m not sure I’ve seen it since then — certainly not in many decades.

  173. 173
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @PsiFighter37: My ex and I had Leonard Cohen’s 1000 Kisses Deep as our song. Perhaps it wasn’t the greatest choice. Still, it is a cool song.

  174. 174
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    I’ve always been a fan of Rabindranath Tagore:

    Unending Love

    I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times…
    In life after life, in age after age, forever.
    My spellbound heart has made and remade the necklace of songs,
    That you take as a gift, wear round your neck in your many forms,
    In life after life, in age after age, forever.

    Whenever I hear old chronicles of love, its age-old pain,
    Its ancient tale of being apart or together.
    As I stare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge,
    Clad in the light of a pole-star piercing the darkness of time:
    You become an image of what is remembered forever.

    You and I have floated here on the stream that brings from the fount.
    At the heart of time, love of one for another.
    We have played along side millions of lovers, shared in the same
    Shy sweetness of meeting, the same distressful tears of farewell-
    Old love but in shapes that renew and renew forever.

    Today it is heaped at your feet, it has found its end in you
    The love of all man’s days both past and forever:
    Universal joy, universal sorrow, universal life.
    The memories of all loves merging with this one love of ours –
    And the songs of every poet past and forever.

  175. 175
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Roger Moore:

    OMG, another McGonagall fan! He gives me such joy!!

  176. 176
    Kerry Reid says:

    I’ve used this Rilke poem a few times. But then, I have had a weird relationship (no pun intended) with commitment:

    How shall I hold on to my soul, so that
    it does not touch yours? How shall I lift
    it gently up over you on to other things?
    I would so very much like to tuck it away
    among long lost objects in the dark
    in some quiet unknown place, somewhere
    which remains motionless when your depths resound.
    And yet everything which touches us, you and me,
    takes us together like a single bow,
    drawing out from two strings but one voice.
    On which instrument are we strung?
    And which violinist holds us in the hand?
    O sweetest of songs.

    Rainer Maria Rilke – “Love Song”

  177. 177
    Kerry Reid says:

    @Trollhattan: I should’ve read the whole thread before I commented. Great minds and all that, though!

  178. 178
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Thank you for the update, and very glad you and your home (and dogs!) are safe. What great neighbours you have, and it sounds as though you are an equally good neighbour to those who need some help from you.

    Dammit, this is what “community” is all about! What in the world do Republicans find so threatening about the concept?

  179. 179
    Anne Laurie says:

    Twenty years ago, after fifteen years together, the about-to-become Spousal Unit went with a much more poetic version of what’s now called the ‘Eskimo Vows’:

    You are my husband (wife)
    My feet shall run because of you
    My feet shall dance because of you
    My heart shall beat because of you
    My eyes see because of you
    My mind thinks because of you
    And I shall love because of you.

    I went with a chunk of Rilke’s Letter to A Young Poet #7 — again, a version I can’t find online, but here’s a scholarly translation:

    It is also good to love: because love is difficult. For one human being to love another human being: that is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us, the ultimate task, the final test and proof, the work for which all other work is merely preparation. That is why young people, who are beginners in everything, are not yet capable of love: it is something they must learn…(Love) is a high inducement for the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become world, to become world in himself for the sake of another person; it is a great, demanding claim on him, something that chooses him and calls him to vast distances…

    Our guests liked his reading better, but they agreed the Rilke was appropriate for me!

  180. 180
    Omnes Omnibus says:


    What in the world do Republicans find so threatening about the concept?

    It tends to work and it puts the lie to their myth of successful individuals bootstrapping themselves to success.

  181. 181

    So you’ve got Rumi. Velveteen Rabbit. That leaves Adrienne Rich. What we used, 18 years ago:
    In the diary I wrote: Now we are ready
    and each of us knows it I have never loved
    like this I have never seen
    my own forces so taken up and shared
    and given back
    After the long training the early sieges
    we are moving almost effortlessly in our love
    In the diary as the wind began to tear
    all the tents over us I wrote:
    We know now we have always been in danger
    down in our separateness
    and now up here together but till now
    we had not touched our strength
    In the diary torn from my fingers I had written:
    What does love mean
    what does it mean “to survive”
    A cable blue fire ropes our bodies
    burning together in the snow We will not live
    to settle for less We have dreamed of this
    all of our lives

    Nice review of her work, obit, here.

  182. 182
    MazeDancer says:

    You do not need a reading.

    Though Raven’s suggestion of reading lyrics is a good one. Pick that song you really wanted to use and read the lyrics. People always smile when they hear lyrics read.

    The reason you do not need a reading is that exactly zero people are there for any other reason than they love you. They want to hear you. They want to celebrate and support you.

    They will love, love, love hearing what you two have to say about the topic at hand – Love & Marriage. Consider the reading to be things you believe. What you believe about Love. What you believe about Marriage. Why, in this day and age, you’re actually getting Married. It will help the audience celebrate your unique union.

    Write a couple statements of your own. 90 seconds worth. It doesn’t have to be gorgeous, perfect, or fancy. It just has to be real.

    And big props for Jackie Wilson!

  183. 183
    Tommy says:

    My parents are coming up on 50 years of marriage. They are rock stars. I joked the other day here after my grandfather passed away, and they got more money then they could spend, the first thing my father did was track down the first car he went on a date with my mom (I got the pics BTW). A 55 Ford Thunderbird. Bought the car and gave it to her saying I love you. My mom tools around town in a 55 Thunderbird. I mean how cool is that …..

  184. 184
    🌷 Martin says:

    My life fades. The vision dims. All that remains are memories. I remember a time of chaos. Ruined dreams. This wasted land. But most of all, I remember the Road Warrior. The man we called “Doug”.

    To understand who he was, you have to go back to another time. When the world was powered by the black fuel. And the desert sprouted great cities of pipe and steel. Gone now, swept away. For reasons long forgotten, two mighty warrior tribes went to war and touched off a blaze which engulfed them all. Without fuel, they were nothing. They built a house of straw. The thundering machines sputtered and stopped. Their leaders talked and talked and talked. But nothing could stem the avalanche. Their world crumbled. The cities exploded. A whirlwind of looting, a firestorm of fear. Men began to feed on men.

    On the roads it was a white-line nightmare. Only those mobile enough to scavenge, brutal enough to pillage would survive. The gangs took over the highways, ready to wage war for a tank of juice. And in this maelstrom of decay, ordinary men were battered and smashed. Men like Doug. The warrior Doug. In the roar of an engine, he lost everything. And became a shell of a man, a burnt out, desolate man, a man haunted by the demons of his past, a man who wandered out into the wasteland. And it was here, in this blighted place, that he learned to live again…

    I kind of picks up there at the end. But the guests will all remember it.

  185. 185
    Anne Laurie says:

    @PsiFighter37: We used The Battle Hymn of Love (it wasn’t a cliche 20 years ago! and besides, I wanted one of my oldest friends to sing & it was perfect for her voice & range). But our first dance song, accidentally, fortuitously, turned out to be In Your Eyes… although we’d never (still haven’t AFAIK) seen Say Anything…

  186. 186
    Kerry Reid says:

    I have always thought the Talking Heads’ “This Must be the Place” is the perfect wedding song.

  187. 187
    Bubblegum Tate says:


    I’d love to say it’s a joke, but I don’t think it is. Which is pretty amazing in its own right.

  188. 188
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Rex Everything:

    pocket-sized hardcovers


    (Yes, I am a 12-year-old boy.)

  189. 189
    Anne Laurie says:


    Always wondered about ‘and the voice of the turtle is heard throughout the land.’

    Turtle dove. Cooing softly.

  190. 190
    Joel says:

    William Carlos Williams is my bag. We used an excerpt from “Asphodel, That Greeny Flower”

    For our wedding, too,
    the light was wakened
    and shone. The light!
    the light stood before us
    I thought the world
    stood still.
    At the altar
    so intent was I
    before my vows,
    so moved by your presence
    a girl so pale
    and ready to faint
    that I pitied
    and wanted to protect you.
    As I think of it now,
    after a lifetime,
    it is as if
    a sweet-scented flower
    were poised
    and for me did open.
    has no odor
    save to the imagination
    but it too
    celebrates the light.
    It is late
    but an odor
    as from our wedding
    has revived for me
    and begun again to penetrate
    into all crevices
    of my world.

  191. 191
    Alce_y_Ardilla says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I second the sentiment of Mark Twain on Jane Austen

    Jane Austen’s books, too, are absent from this library. Just that one omission alone would make a fairly good library out of a library that hadn’t a book in it.

  192. 192
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MazeDancer: Why write your own when Elvis Costello has already said everything that needs to be said?

    We are arms and legs wrapped ’round more than my memory tonight
    When the bell rang out and the air outside turned blue from fright
    But in shameless moments, you made more of me than just a mess
    And a handful of eagerness says, “What do you suggest?”

    I’ll Wear It Proudly

  193. 193
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @Tommy: We’ve contemplated doing a choreographed first dance to R&B / rap song, just because it’d be hilarious and quite a bit out of character, but it does take time to prep (you don’t want to mess up something like that), and we don’t want to make fools of ourselves.

    Also, Chris Brown is on my fiancee’s shit list for how he treated Rihanna, so can’t play his tunes.

  194. 194
    Roger Moore says:

    I don’t know about poetry or songs, but you definitely need to use the Dr. Seuss wedding vows.

  195. 195
    Tommy says:

    @Alce_y_Ardilla: I’ve been thinking of doing this (you all should think about doing this):


    Twain and Jane Austen would be two books that would start. Oh and a ton of sci-fy. But I have so many ideas I don’t ever implement. 20+ kids walk by my house every day going to school. A “little library” well, seems like something I should do! Maybe just one kid will pick up a book.

  196. 196
    LT says:

    I’ve got a song called “You Two Don’t Make a Nice Couple” that I’d be willing to play for you.

    Apart from that, this is awful nice:


    And hey, never thought of it, but “Harvest Moon” would be a really wonderful wedding song.


  197. 197
    RSA says:

    Shelley, maybe?

    The fountains mingle with the river
    And the rivers with the ocean,
    The winds of Heaven mix for ever
    With a sweet emotion;
    Nothing in the world is single,
    All things by a law divine
    In one spirit meet and mingle –
    Why not I with thine?

    See the mountains kiss high Heaven
    And the waves clasp one another;
    No sister-flower would be forgiven
    If it disdained its brother;
    And the sunlight clasps the earth,
    And the moonbeams kiss the sea –
    What are all these kissings worth
    If thou kiss not me?

    I like the grandness of the imagery tied to the narrator’s focus on the moment. It may be too tentative, though.

    (For years I haven’t read much poetry, but someone recently pointed me to Elizabeth Bishop’s One Art–totally inappropriate for a wedding–and I’ve started in again.)

  198. 198
    Omnes Omnibus says:


    I’ve been thinking of doing this (you all should think about doing this):


    Doesn’t really work if you live a multi-unit building.

  199. 199
    Roger Moore says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Doesn’t really work if you live a multi-unit building.

    You could put one in the lobby.

  200. 200
    Mary in Ohio says:

    This is the reading my husband and I used. We found it on the offbeat bride website. They have quite a few suggestions for non-traditional (non-religious) readings. And our first dance was to Ingrid Michaelson “The way I am” which also came from suggestions on the offbeat bride site.

    How Falling in Love is like Owning a Dog
    by Taylor Mali

    First of all, it’s a big responsibility,
    especially in a city like New York.
    So think long and hard before deciding on love.
    On the other hand, love gives you a sense of security:
    when you’re walking down the street late at night
    and you have a leash on love
    ain’t no one going to mess with you.
    Because crooks and muggers think love is unpredictable.
    Who knows what love could do in its own defense?

    On cold winter nights, love is warm.
    It lies between you and lives and breathes
    and makes funny noises.
    Love wakes you up all hours of the night with its needs.
    It needs to be fed so it will grow and stay healthy

    Love doesn’t like being left alone for long.
    But come home and love is always happy to see you.
    It may break a few things accidentally in its passion for life,
    but you can never be mad at love for long.

    Is love good all the time? No! No!
    Love can be bad. Bad, love, bad! Very bad love.

    Love makes messes.
    Love leaves you little surprises here and there.
    Love needs lots of cleaning up after.
    Sometimes you just want to get love fixed.
    Sometimes you want to roll up a piece of newspaper
    and swat love on the nose,
    not so much to cause pain,
    just to let love know Don’t you ever do that again!

    Sometimes love just wants to go out for a nice long walk.
    Because love loves exercise. It will run you around the block
    and leave you panting, breathless. Pull you in different directions
    at once, or wind itself around and around you
    until you’re all wound up and you cannot move.

    But love makes you meet people wherever you go.
    People who have nothing in common but love
    stop and talk to each other on the street.

    Throw things away and love will bring them back,
    again, and again, and again.
    But most of all, love needs love, lots of it.
    And in return, love loves you and never stops.

  201. 201
    LT says:

    Regarding my previosu comment – yeah, um, you were loking for a poem. So never mind…

  202. 202
    The Fat Kate Middleton says:

    @Stephanie: Oh, I love Billy Collins! I had never read that one – it gave me goosebumps. (And I laughed, too!)

  203. 203
    Bonnie says:

    @Nicole: I saw that just last night; and, it is a wonderful statement. I never would have responded to Harry the way Sally did. I would have just melted and said yes.

  204. 204
    The Fat Kate Middleton says:

    @booferama: I don’t know that it’s a ‘subtle dig’ … I always understood it to be WS playing with the whole legal aspect of marriage – which, I suppose, could be that subtle dig. Anyway, I’m always moved by these lines –

    Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
    Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
    Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
    But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

    Enough so that I read it at my father’s funeral, as a reminder of the great love he had for my mother.

  205. 205
    rea says:

    @The Fat Kate Middleton: Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116

    They won’t allow my guy and me to get married yet here in Michigan, but we’ve read that one to each other.

    “Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
    But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
    If this be error and upon me proved,
    I never writ, nor no man ever loved.”

  206. 206
    The Fat Kate Middleton says:

    @NotMax: So very beautiful.

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  208. 208
    hitchhiker says:

    Oy, I’m way late to this thread.

    But just in case 200 suggestions haven’t done it for you, I suggest a reading from the Velveteen Rabbit (does it hurt to be real?) and maybe some parts of this bit from Po Bronson:

    Because you will be safe in marriage, you can risk; because you have been promised a future, you can take extraordinary chances. Because you know you are loved, you can step beyond your fears; because you have been chosen, you can transcend your insecurities. You can make mistakes, knowing the other will be there to catch you. And because mistakes and risks are the very essence of change, of expansion, in marriage you will expand to your fullest capacity. Within the nurturing shelter of marriage, you will continue to grow and develop, so you can discover your individual paths and offer your gifts back to each other and the world. Marriage, then, makes you free-to see, to be seen, to love. Your souls are protected so your hearts can open.

    In a sense, the person you marry is a stranger about whom you have a magnificent hunch. This person is someone you love, but her depths, his intimate intricacies, you will come to know only in the long unraveling of time. To get married is to embark on the journey of getting to know each other, of coming to see each other as you really are. This companionship on life’s journey is the hallmark of marriage, its natural province, and its sweetest and most fundamental gift.

  209. 209
    Saxifrage says:

    from Wendell Berry:

    “The meaning of marriage begins in the giving of words. We cannot join ourselves to one another without giving our word. And this must be an unconditional giving, for in joining ourselves to another we join ourselves to the unknown. We can join one another only by joining the unknown. We must not be misled by the procedures of experimental thought: in life, in the world, we are never given two known results to choose between, but only one result that we choose without knowing what it is.
    Marriage rests upon the immutable givens that compose it: words, bodies, characters, histories, places. Some wishes cannot succeed; some victories cannot be won; some loneliness is incorrigible. But there is relief and freedom in knowing what is real; these givens come to us out of the perennial reality of the world, like the terrain we live on. One does not care for this ground to make it a different place, or to make it perfect, but to make it inhabitable and to make it better. To flee from its realities is only to arrive at them unprepared.
    Because the condition of marriage is worldly and its meaning communal, no one party to it can be solely in charge. What you alone think it ought to be, it is not going to be. Where you alone think you want it to go, it is not going to go. It is going where the two of you – and marriage, time, life, history, and the world – will take it. You do not know the road; you have committed your life to a way.

  210. 210
    The Fat Kate Middleton says:

    @rea: Oh, just come on over here to Iowa. I’d love to read it for you at your wedding.

  211. 211
    Bonnie says:

    This is from a movie with Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum called, “The Vow.” I found it meaningful.

    Paige: I vow to help you love life, to always hold you with tenderness and to have the patience that love demands, to speak when words are needed and to share the silence when they are not, to agree to disagree on red velvet cake, and to live within the warmth of your heart and always call it home.

    Leo: I vow to fiercely love you in all your forms, now and forever. I promise to never forget that this is a once in a lifetime love. And to always know in the deepest part of my soul that no matter what challenges might carry us apart, we will always find our way back to each other.

    I saw a mention of Elvis. His best for weddings IMHO is “The Wonder of You” or “And, I Lover Her So.” The second song is also done well by its author Don McClean. I am also a great fan of the e.e. cummings poem mentioned above a few times, i carry your heart.

  212. 212
    MomSense says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Well hello there Omnes.

    (couldn’t resist)

  213. 213
    Howard Beale IV says:

    Tom Leher:

    I hold your hand in mine, dear
    I press it to my lips.
    I take a healthy bite from
    Your dainty fingertiips.

    My joy would complete, dear
    If you wr’re only here
    Bsut still I keep your hand as
    a precious souviner.

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    MomSense says:


    I am that one hetero woman. I don’t know why but just never worked for me.

  215. 215
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MomSense: Happens all the time.

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    Hawes says:

    You’re a leftist. Pable Neruda had a poem with the line:

    So intimate, your hand on my chest is my hand
    So intimate, when you fall asleep, it is my eyes that close

  217. 217
    Howard Beale IV says:

    Well, there’s the final track from Red Octopus from Jefferson Starship:

    I made an ark from the light of the stars
    And I hewed two mesas of bright silver metal
    That sang in the sun like a sail in the wind
    And I weave my way back to you
    Now I can fly

    Oh, baby, the way we move in love
    Oh, baby, the way we movin’
    Oh, baby, the way we move in love
    Oh, baby, the way we movin’ now

    Whatever I do, there will be love in it
    Whatever I see, I will see you in it
    Whatever I do, there will be love in it
    Whatever I see, I will see you
    Whatever I do, I will do you
    Whatever I see, I will see you
    Whatever I do, I will love you
    Whatever I do, there will be love in it
    Whatever I see, I will see you in it
    Whatever I do, there will be love in it
    Even when I close my eyes
    All I see is you

  218. 218
    Howard Beale IV says:

    Now, if you want something to play at the ‘you may kiss the bride’ part, try the last few minutes of the final movement of Mahler’s 3rd. (at 16:37)

  219. 219
    taylormattd says:

    I’m too stupid to contribute to this conversation, but congratulations Doug. Didn’t realize wedding plans were on the horizon.

  220. 220
    Morzer says:

    How about Schopenhauer’s “Marriage as Prelude to Death”?

  221. 221
    Ken Pidcock says:

    Alice Friman’s The Wedding Poem

    This day
    Let no one claim
    That love is false. Let no one
    Tell a tale of love’s dilution,
    Cross his lips with doubt,
    Or discuss the up and down and up
    Of love chained to a balance beam –
    Laundry and who takes out the trash.

    Instead, let us make a pact:
    To stop for this short time
    The radio in our heads, the voices
    Of discontent that drive us mad –
    The committee of shoulds and oughts
    And might have beens. The old harangue
    Of never never never.
    To forsake, for these next minutes
    (Not for this couple but for ourselves),
    All the symptoms of our days.

    Then, together, let us swear,
    That this sun, this sky, these vows,
    This bubble balanced on the point
    of a knife is all there is –
    For we have pushed aside the walls
    That close us in
    To come to this shared space. And see –
    We have filled the space with flowers,
    Where love, like some bright bird
    Too swift to hold,
    May light for us a while and sing.

  222. 222
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Morzer: No find. Linky?

  223. 223
    MomSense says:


    We just started one in our neighborhood a few months ago. It’s really fun.

    ETA The seniors in the neighborhood are enjoying the YA and kids books that I have dropped off. There is a group of women passing around the Hunger Games and Uglies series I dropped off.

  224. 224
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MomSense: There are a metric shit ton of them in Madison. I actually just like looking in them and seeing what combinations of books people chose to place in them. Is there a theme? Can one see political leanings or signs of travel to specific places? Academic interests? And so on. I am weird.

  225. 225
    MomSense says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I do the same thing. Even at parties, I am likely to be standing next to the bookshelves trying to get a sense of who the people are by what they read. It’s not fair to do this since some of my favorite books are not on my shelves but borrowed from the library or a friend.

    When our neighborhood free library started, it seemed that people were trying to get rid of books but now it is starting to take hold and I think people are wanting to share good reads.

    It has surprised me that people are snatching up the YA books I’ve dropped off, though.

  226. 226
    daize says:

    A favorite. Used the first two and a half lines on my wedding invitation.

    “Love? Do I love? I walk
    Within the brilliance of another’s thought,
    As in a glory. I was dark before,
    as Venus’ chapel in the black of night:
    But there was something holy in the darkness,
    Softer and not so thick as the other where;
    And as rich moonlight may be to the blind,
    Unconsciously consoling. Then love came,
    Like the out-bursting of a trodden star.”

    ― Thomas Lovell Beddoes

  227. 227
    Omnes Omnibus says:


    It has surprised me that people are snatching up the YA books I’ve dropped off, though.

    Conversation starters with the grandkids.

  228. 228
    MomSense says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    You are probably right.

    I should probably add a quote to the thread. Another Rilke.

    Understand, I’ll slip quietly
    Away from the noisy crowd
    When I see the pale
    Stars rising, blooming over the oaks.
    I’ll pursue solitary pathways
    Through the pale twilit meadows,
    With only this one dream:
    You come too.

  229. 229
    mclaren says:

    If you’re about to embark upon marriage, several texts would work well:

    Dante’s Inferno.

    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s A Day In the Life of Ivan Denisovitch.

    Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

    Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.

    And of course Dostoyevsky’s Notes From the Underground (better translated as “Letters from the Underworld” or “Bulletins from Hell”)

    The paragraph on page 3 proves especially apt:

    It was not only that I could not become spiteful, I did not know how to become anything; neither spiteful nor kind, neither a rascal nor an honest man, neither a hero nor an insect. Now, I am living out my life in my corner, taunting myself with the spiteful and useless consolation that an intelligent man cannot become anything seriously, and it is only the fool who becomes anything.

  230. 230
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @mclaren: Thank you so much for entering into the spirit of the thread and not being a douchecanoe.

  231. 231
    Morzer says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    I must confess, I invented it for the occasion.

  232. 232
    dave says:

    I like “I do, I will, I have” by Ogden Nash:

    How wise I am to have instructed the butler to instruct the first footman
    to instruct the second footman to instruct the doorman to order my
    I am about to volunteer a definition of marriage.
    Just as I know that there are two Hagens, Walter and Copen,
    I know that marriage is a legal and religious alliance entered into by a
    man who can’t sleep with the window shut and a woman who can’t
    sleep with the window open.
    Moreover, just as I am unsure of the difference between flora and fauna
    and flotsam and jetsam,
    I am quite sure that marriage is the alliance of two people one of whom
    never remembers birthdays and the other never forgetsam,
    And he refuses to believe there is a leak in the water pipe or the gas pipe
    and she is convinced she is about to asphyxiate or drown,
    And she says Quick get up and get my hairbrushes off the windowsill,
    it’s raining in, and he replies Oh they’re all right, it’s only raining
    straight down.
    That is why marriage is so much more interesting than divorce,
    Because it’s the only known example of the happy meeting of the
    immovable object and the irresistible force.
    So I hope husbands and wives will continue to debate and combat over
    everything debatable and combatable,
    Because I believe a little incompatibility is the spice of life, particulary if
    he has income and she is pattable.

  233. 233
    Athenae says:

    More Rilke:

    The Lovers

    Look how each becomes gift and giver:
    their veins with nothing but spirit flow.
    Look how their forms like axles quiver,
    round which revolving raptures glow.
    Thirsters, and straight there are draughts for their drinking;
    wakers, and look, they are sated with sight.
    Let them, into each other sinking,
    rise, surviving each other’s might.

    Ranier Maria Rilke


  234. 234
    kathleen says:

    A Biblical choice is Paul’s Epistle to the romans: “Love is patient, love is kind, etc, etc.” You’ve probably heard it. Always makes me tear up.

  235. 235
    Jado says:


    Native American wedding blessings. They are good

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