An Old Picture

By Howard Nemerov

Two children, dressed in court costume,
Go hand in hand through a rich room.
He bears a scepter, she a book;
Their eyes exchange a serious look.

High in a gallery above,
Grave persons frown upon their love;
Yonder behind the silken screen
Whispers the bishop with the queen.

These hold the future tightly reined,
It shall be as they have ordained:
The bridal bed already made,
The crypt also richly arrayed.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1954/12/an-old-picture/305169/