>never marry, but for love

>The Big Fat Gypsy Royal Wedding, Kate and William – weddings galore. But for me today, the privilege of being present at Dave and Shelley’s wedding – a secular affair (and in the sight of a generous God) – at which I have been asked to read “Never marry but for love”, by William Penn – a 17th century Quaker whose face is said to be the face of Quaker Oats. Like Kate Middleton, William Penn was from Reading (Twyford) – or as they say of Kate – “a village in Berkshire” (Bucklebury). Penn, himself, was one of the many missionaries who travelled to America – he founded Pennsylvania, and his experiment there was influential in the development of the American Constitution.

I have sat lightly to the Royal Wedding – and the media interest in it. I did catch sight of David Starkey’s programme, Romance and the Royals – which did underline the importance of romance in marriage as something that has been influenced by royal marriages down the ages where feelings have been the basis of marriage (including lust) – cf various Henrys, Edwards and Georges – as opposed to royal weddings in many other countries, which have been about political alliances.

And congratulations and best wishes for all getting married today – Kate and William, Dave and Shelley – and Irish travellers, Mary and Paddy (married two weeks ago). Never marry but for love.

Never marry, but for love; but see that thou lovest what is lovely.
He that minds a body, but not a soul
has not the better part of that relationship,
and will consequently lack the noblest comfort of a married life.

Between a man and his wife nothing ought to rule but love.
As love ought to bring them together,
so it is the best way to keep them well together.

A husband and wife that love one another
show their children that they should do so too.
Others visibly lose their authority in their families
by their contempt for one another,
and teach their children to be unnatural by their examples.

Let not joy lessen, but augment affection;
it being the basest of passions to like what we have not,
what we slight when we possess.

here it is we ought to search out our pleasure,
where the field is large and full of variety, and of an enduring nature;
sickness, poverty or disgrace being not able to shake it
because it is not under the moving influences of worldly contingencies.

Nothing can be more entire and without reserve;
nothing more zealous, affectionate and sincere;
nothing more contented than such a couple,
nor greater temporal felicity than to be one of them.

William Penn 1644-1718.

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