Among the passages appropriate for readings by parents, friends, or the bride and groom are selections from Plato and Sappho, Rilke and Auden, Ecclesiastes and Euripedes, Shakespeare and Donne, pascal and Montaigne, Emily Dickinson and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. There are love songs from the Aztecs and Eskimos, Hindu and African wedding prayers, a Buddhist marriage homily, a Shaker hymn, and Irish blessing, excerpts from Coptic Orthodox and Greek Orthodox marriage services, and passages from the Old and New Testaments, some familiar, some surprising. With myriad choices, Wedding Readings will help you add a special, personal touch to your marriage ceremony.
Wendell Berry, from "The Country of Marriage"
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, from Bring Me a Unicorn
From "Simple Gifts, " a Shaker hymn
I. The Time Is Come
Ancient Greek dedications to brides
Revelation 3:8 (New English Bible)
Isaiah 61:10-11 (New English Bible)
Ecclesiastes 4:7-13 (New English Bible)
George Herbert, from "Easter"
Robert Herrick, "Love Me Little, Love Me Long"
Rainer Maria Rilke
from Letters to a young Poet
from First Poems
Robert Louis Stevenson, from "A Night Among the Pines"
James Joyce, poem XIII from Chamber Music
E. M. Forster, from A Room with a View
Joseph Cambell, from The Hero with a Thousand Faces
Anne Morrow Lindbergh from Bring Me a Unicorn
Randall Jarrell, from "A Man Meets a Woman in the Street"
Gabriela Mistral, God Wills It"
Delmore Schwartz, "Will you perhaps consent to be"
Alan Dugan, "Love Song: I and Thou"
José Garcia Villa, from Have Come, Am Here
Robert Creeley, "Kore"
Madame LePrince De Beaumont, from Beauty and the Beast"
Kenneth Rexroth, from One Hundred Poems from the Japanese
II. In Search of Love
Louise Bogan, from Journey Around My Room
Plato, from the Symposium
I Corinthians 13 (King James Version)
I Corinthians 13:4-8a (New English Bible)
Emily Dickinson, from the The Complete Poems
William Shakespeare, Sonnets
Herbert Spencer, from The Principles of Psychology
Blaise Pascal, from "On the Passion of the Soul"
Kenneth Rexroth, from One Hundred Poems from the Japanese
John Keats, letters to Fanny Brawne
Edward FitzGerald, from The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám
Matthew Arnold, from "Dover Beach"
Ralph Waldo Emerson
from "Give All to Love"
from the essay "Love"
Emily Brontë, from Wuthering Heights
Edgar Allan Poe, from "Annabel Lee"
Marcel Proust, from The Past Recaptured
Rainer Maria Rilke, from Letters to a Young Poet
from The Cantos
Michael Ignatieff, from "Lodged in the Heart and Memory"
Robert Creeley, "The Language"
Wallace Stevens, from "Of Modern Poetry"
III. The Processional Begins
From a Moravian hymn
Ruth 1:16-17 (King James Version)
Isaiah 42:16 (New English Bible)
Huda Shaarawi, from Harem Years: Memoirs of an Egyptian Feminist
John Donne, from "Epithalamion Made at Lincoln's Inn"
Robert Browning, from "Rabbi Ben Ezra"
Juan Ramón Jiménez, "Oceans"
Saint-Jean Perse, from "Drouth"
"Darest Thou Now O Soul"
"Are You the New Person Drawn Toward Me?"
from "Song of the Open Road"
D. H. Lawrence
Gerard Manley Hopkins, "At the Wedding March"
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, from Gift from the Sea
Louise Glück, "Under Taurus"
Antonio Machado, from "Rebirth"
Peter Matthiessen, from the The Snow Leopard
John Ashbery, from "The Skaters"
Louise Bogan, "Henceforth, from the Mind"
Antoine De Saint-Exupéry, from The Little Prince
IV. Eternal Vows in Sacred Space
Jalal Al-Din Rumi, Persion love poem
Sir James George Frazer, from The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion
Ernest Crawley, from The Mystic Rose: A Study of Primitive Marriage and of Primitive Thought in Its Bearing on Marriage
From "Terumah," in the Zohar
Marge Piercy, "The Chuppah"
Hebrew "Seven Blessings"
Philip and Hanna Goodman, "The Sabbath as Bride"
From "Lekhah Dodi," Hebrew hymn to the Sabbath as a bride
Psalms (King James Version)
from Psalm 98
from Psalm 104
Hebrew blessing for Sabbath end
Judah Halevi, from a poem to the bridegroom
Jeremiah 33:10-11 (King James Version)
From "The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage," in The Book of Common Prayer (Episcopal)
Wedding prayer from the The Book of Common Prayer
From the apocryphal Acts of Thomas
Ephesians 4:25-32 (New English Bible)
Matthew 19:4-6 (New English Bible)
I John 4:7-12 (New English Bible)
Colossians 3:12-17 (New English Bible)
From the Greek Orthodox marriage service
From the Coptic Orthodox marriage service
From the Hindu marriage ritual of "Seven Steps"
Hindu wedding prayer
Buddhist marriage homily
Jalal al-din Rumi, Persian love poem
Robert Herrick, "To Julia"
Edmund Spenser, from "Epithalamion"
Edgar Allen Poe, from "The Bells"
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnet XXII from Sonnets from the Portuguese
Temple Gairdner, prayer before his marriage
A. E. Housman, from "Epithalamium"
Iris Murdoch, from The Book and the Brotherhood
William Butler Yeats, from "A Prayer for My Daughter"
Gertrude Stein, from "Patriarchal Poetry"
V. The Miracle of the Body
Devara Dasimayya, poem to Lord Siva (Ramanatha)
Greek prayer to Priapus
Emily Dickinson, from The Complete Poems
Aztec love song
The Song of Solomon (King James Version), set as a play
From an ancient Sumerian sacred-wedding poem
Vidyapati, Hindu love poem
Hindu love poem
"On Kissing," from The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana
Michael De Montaigne, from The Autobiography
from The Notebook
from "Infant Joy"
Amy Lowell, "A Decade"
Dylan Thomas, "On the Marriage of a Virgin"
E. E. Cummings
poems from "Amores"
"somewhere i have never travelled"
Octavio Paz, from "Sunstone"
"The Ache of Marriage"
"A Psalm Praising the Hair of Man's Body"
"Song for a Dark Voice"
Kenneth Patchen, "There Is Nothing False in Thee"
Anne Sexton, from "Us"
Philip Larkin, "Wedding Wind"
W. H. Auden, from "Lay Your Sleeping Head"
Sharon Olds, "I Love It When"
Wendell Berry, "The Mad Farmer's Love Song"
Kenneth Rexroth, "The Old Song and Dance"
VI. The Country of Marriage
John Cheever, from "The Country Husband"
Hecaton of Rhodes
From the Wisdom of Ben Sira
Jalal al-Din Rumi, Persian love poem
Sir Philip Sidney, "My True Love Hath My Heart"
Turkoman love song
Afghan love song
Li Tai Po, "Song on the River"
Tu Fu, "On the River Tchou"
"Simple Gifts," a Shaker hymn
from "The Anniversarie"
Christine de Pisan, "In Praise of Marriage"
George Herbert, "A Wreath"
Anne Bradstreet, "To my Dear and loving Husband"
Christopher Marlowe, "The Passionate Shepherd to his Love"
Katherine Philips, from "To My Excellent Lucasia, on Our Friendship"
Christina Rossetti, from "Monna Innominata: A Sonnet of Sonnets"
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, from "The House of Life"
Gustave Flaubert, from Madame Bovary
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, from Sonnets from the Portuguese
Robert Louis Stevenson, from Virginibus Puerisque
William Butler Yeats, from "When You Are Old"
Denis De Rougemont, from Love in the Western World
Bertrand Russell, from Marriage and Morals
Simone De Beauvoir, from The Second Sex
Mark Van Doren
"Slowly, Slowly Wisdom Gathers"
W. H. Auden
Betty Friedan, from The Feminine Mystique
David Keller, from "Afternoon, in a Back Yard on Chestnut Street"
Graham Greene, from The Heart of the Matter
Ogden Nash, "Tin Wedding Whistle"
John Berryman, from "Canto Amor"
Sylvia Ashton-Warner, from Myself
Renée Haenel Levine, letter to her daughter
Louise Glück, "The Undertaking
"I Knew a Woman"
"Wish for a Young Wife"
"To Be Sung on the Water"
from "After the Persian"
Marianne Moore, from "Marriage"
Archibald MacLeish, "Poem in Prose"
"Whose Name I Know"
Maxine Kumin, "Homecoming"
Willaim Jay Smith, "Song for a Country Wedding"
Phyllis Rose, from Parallel Lives: Five Victorian Marriages
Mary Stewart Hammond, "Slow Dancing in the Living Room: Thanksgiving
from "The Country of Marriage"
VII. Morning in Eternal Space
James Agee, from Let Us Now Praise Famous men
Percy Bysshe Shelley, "Love's Philosophy"
John Keats, from "Endymion"
C. Day Lewis, from "Live You by Love"
Denise Levertov, "The Depths"
Louise Bogan, "Song for the Last Act"
Hosea 2:14-15; 18-23 (New English Bible)
Greek prayer to the god Ayion
Hymn of the Great Plains Indians to the sun
Tanganyikan fishermen's prayer
African prayer to the new moon
Chinese prayer of thanksgiving
Japanese invocation to the spirits to protect the Palace
Three Turko- Mongolian prayers
Eskimo love song
Navajo hymn to the Thunderbird
Blackfoot prayer to the four directions
Chinese prayer to the four directions
Henry David Thoreau
from The Journal
Cino Da Pistoia, "Sestina of the Lady Pietra degli Scrovigni"
Thomas Hardy, "I Found Her Out There"
Vincent Van Gogh, from a letter to his brother, Theo
Chief Seattle of the Dwamish Tribe
Grace Schulman, "Blessed Is the Light"
Wendell Berry, "A Marriage, an Elegy"
Stanley Kunitz, "Benediction"
Amenophis IV (Ikhnaton), hymn to the sun
Anne Dillard, from Holy the Firm
African wedding benediction
Edward Lear, from "The Owl and the Pussycat"
Wintu tribe, "Dream Song"
Suggested Readings for Various Members of the Wedding Party