A Ballad of Religion and Marriage

Amy Levy

Victorian writer, Amy Levy, wrote "A Ballad of Religion and Marriage" during a period where a woman's value was based almost solely upon her marital status. This piece challenges tradition and gender roles in order to show Levy's hope for a future where people aren't judged based upon their religious beliefs or their marital status.


Swept into limbo is the host
   Of heavenly angels, row on row;
The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
   Pale and defeated, rise and go.
The great Jehovah is laid low,
   Vanished his burning bush and rod—
Say, are we doomed to deeper woe?
   Shall marriage go the way of God?

Monogamous, still at our post,
   Reluctantly we undergo
Domestic round of boiled and roast,
   Yet deem the whole proceeding slow.
Daily the secret murmurs grow;
   We are no more content to plod
Along the beaten paths—and so
   Marriage must go the way of God.

Soon, before all men, each shall toast
   The seven strings unto his bow,
Like beacon fires along the coast,
   The flame of love shall glance and glow.
Nor let nor hindrance man shall know,
   From natal bath to funeral sod;
Perennial shall his pleasures flow
   When marriage goes the way of God.

Grant, in a million years at most,
   Folk shall be neither pairs nor odd—
Alas! we sha'n't be there to boast
   "Marriage has gone the way of God!"

Title of volume of first printing
Twelve copies printed for private circulation.

Levy, Amy. "A Ballad of Religions and Marriage" Victorian Women Writers Project, Indiana University, 2017: http://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/vwwp/view?docId=VAB7093