Sonnet 17 (G. Meredith)
Time Period: 1828-1909
by George Meredith
At dinner, she is hostess, I am host.
Went the feast ever cherfuller? She keeps
The Topic over intellectual deeps
In buoyancy afloat. They see no ghost.
With sparkling surface-eyes we play the ball;
It is in truth a most contagious game:
HIDING THE SKELETON shall be its name.
Such play as this the devils might appal!
But here’s the greater wonder; in that we,
Enamored of an acting naught can tire,
Each other, like true hypocrites, admire;
Warm-lighted looks, Love’s ephemeridae,
Shoot gaily o’er the dishes and the wine.
We waken envy of our happy lot.
Fast, sweet, and golden, shows the marriage-knot.
Dear guests, you now have seen Love’s corpse-light shine.
(What is going on in this poem? This sonnet is about love, but “dead love.” How is this different from other sonnets you have read?)