Below, I will re-print an 1827 poem from the September 19, 1827 edition of The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction titled The Nuptial Charm. While we have covered some poems with titles that leave some doubt as to their content, the title The Nuptial Charm describes the content of the lovely short poem perfectly. The Mirror noted that the poem was written for the magazine rather than having first been published elsewhere. The author wrote under the pseudonym Utopia.

“The Nuptial Charm” (1827)

There is a charm in wedded bliss.
That leaves each rapture cold to this;
There is a soft endearing spell,
That language can but faintly tell.

'Tis not the figure, form, nor face,
'Tis not the manner, air, nor grace,
'Tis not the smile nor sparkling eye,
'Tis not the winning look nor sigh.

There is a charm surpassing these,
A pleasing spell-like pleasure's breeze!
A joy that centers in the heart,
And doth its balmy sweets impart!

'Tis not the lure of beauty's power,
The skin-deep magnet of an hour;
It is—affection's mutual glow,
That does the nuptial charm bestow!
Two benches waiting for the lovers described in the poem. Photograph from Mazes and Labyrinths (1922).


The clever poem reads well throughout. The sequence which most jumped out to me came in the final stanza:

'Tis not the lure of beauty's power,
The skin-deep magnet of an hour...

The skin-deep magnet of the hour is a very good line. It made me think of John Ruskin’s distinction between the books of the hour and the books of all time in the ‘Of Kings’ Treasuries speech in Sesame and Lilllies, which I discussed in brief in a June 2020 post. However, while I understand how Utopia was using beauty in this context, I would have preferred a different word since beauty in its better sense aptly describes the ineffable nuptial charm that is the subject of the poem.