"Reader, I married him."
--Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
June is one of the most popular months for marriage, and there is nothing we love better than a wedding between two bookworms. (Okay, correcting other people's grammar is a close second.) Here are five poems and passages that are perfect reading material for a literature-themed wedding.
The Old Testament, Song of Songs
The Song of Songs, also called the Song of Solomon, is an oddity in the Old Testament. Although scholars have interpreted it as a metaphor for God's love, it can also be read as a more earthly love poem.
My beloved speaks and says to me: "Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
This classic children's book, first published in 1922, is the kind of happy-sad that makes so many people cry at weddings. This passage might be an especially good choice for a couple marrying later in life.
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.
Christina Rossetti, "I Loved You First"
Victorian poet Rossetti was the youngest child in a family of writers, scholars, and artists, including the great pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Like her brother's art, Rossetti's poetry is lush and romantic--ideal for the couple who spends their time cooing "No, I love you more."
I loved you first: but afterwards your love
Outsoaring mine, sang such a loftier song
As drowned the friendly cooings of my dove.
Which owes the other most? my love was long,
And yours one moment seemed to wax more strong;
I loved and guessed at you, you construed me
And loved me for what might or might not be
Tom Robbins, Still Life with Woodpecker
For the unconventional couple who plans to write their own vows (and possibly get married while skydiving), this passage from Tom Robbins' 1980 novel is the perfect choice:
Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won't adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words 'make' and 'stay' become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.
Shakespeare, Sonnet 116
We mentioned this in our list of love poems for Valentine's Day, but it's worth revisiting. One of Shakespeare's most popular sonnets, #116, there's a reason this one is a classic.
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.
What literary masterpiece would you read at your wedding?