Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. II. Ben Jonson to Dryden
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. II. The Seventeenth Century: Ben Jonson to Dryden
 
Extracts from Hudibras: Marriage
By Samuel Butler (1612–1680)
 
[From Part III.]

          THERE are no bargains driven,
Nor marriages, clapped up in heaven;
And that ’s the reason, as some guess,
There is no heaven in marriages;
Two things that naturally press        5
Too narrowly to be at ease.
Their business there is only love,
Which marriage is not like to improve:
Love that ’s too generous to abide
To be against its nature tied;        10
For where ’tis of itself inclined
It breaks loose when it is confined,
And like the soul, its harbourer,
Debarred the freedom of the air,
Disdains against its will to stay,        15
And struggles out and flies away,
And therefore never can comply
To endure the matrimonial tie
That binds the female and the male,
Where the one is but the other’s bail,        20
Like Roman jailers, when they slept
Chained to the prisoners they kept.
 
 
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