Robert Herrick
Together, by Robert Herrick

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Title: Together
Author: Robert Herrick (1868-1938)
Release Date: May, 2005 [EBook #8134] [This file was first posted on

June 17, 2003]
Edition: 10
Language: English
Character set encoding: US-ASCII

E-text prepared by Susan Skinner, Eric Eldred, and the Online
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She stood before the minister who was to marry them, very tall and
straight. With lips slightly parted she looked at him steadfastly, not at
the man beside her who was about to become her husband. Her father,
with a last gentle pressure of her arm, had taken his place behind her. In
the hush that had fallen throughout the little chapel, all the restless
movement of the people who had gathered there this warm June
morning was stilled, in the expectation of those ancient words that
would unite the two before the altar. Through the open window behind
the altar a spray of young woodbine had thrust its juicy green leaves
and swayed slowly in the air, which was heavy with earthy odors of all

the riotous new growth that was pushing forward in the fields outside.
And beyond the vine could be seen a bit of the cloudless, rain-washed
There before the minister, who was fumbling mechanically at his
prayer-book, a great space seemed to divide the man and the woman
from all the others, their friends and relatives, who had come to witness
the ceremony of their union. In the woman's consciousness an
unexpected stillness settled, as if for these few moments she were
poised between the past of her whole life and the mysterious future. All
the preoccupations of the engagement weeks, the strange colorings of
mood and feeling, all the petty cares of the event itself, had suddenly
vanished. She did not see even him, the man she was to marry, only the
rugged face of the old minister, the bit of fluttering vine, the expanse of
blue sky. She stood before the veil of her life, which was about to be
drawn aside.
This hushed moment was broken by the resonant tones of the minister
as he began the opening words of the sacrament that had been said over
so many millions of human beings. Familiar as the phrases were, she
did not realize them, could not summon back her attention from that
depth within of awed expectancy. After a time she became aware of the
subdued movements in the chapel, of people breaking into the remote
circle of her mystery,--even here they must needs have their part--and
of the man beside her looking intently at her, with flushed face. It was
this man, this one here at her side, whom she had chosen of all that
might have come into her life; and suddenly he seemed a stranger,
standing there, ready to become her husband! The woodbine waved,
recalling to her flashing thoughts that day two years before when the
chapel was dedicated, and they two, then mere friends, had planted this
vine together. And now, after certain meetings, after some surface
intercourse, they had willed to come here to be made one...
"And who gives this woman in marriage?" the minister asked solemnly,
following the primitive formula which symbolizes that the woman is to
be made over from one family to another as a perpetual possession. She
gave herself of course! The words were but an outgrown form...

There was the necessary pause while the Colonel came forward, and
taking his daughter's hand from which the glove had been carefully
turned back, laid it gently in the minister's large palm. The father's lips
twitched, and she knew he was feeling the solemnity of his act, that he
was relinquishing a part of himself to another. Their marriage--her
father's and mother's--had been happy,--oh, very
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