Writing vows. Making toasts. Sending congratulations. There are many moments in a wedding when people struggle to find just the right words.
A book that offer help has a familiar name attached. “Bartlett’s Words for the Wedding,” from Little, Brown and Co., is a collection of poems and prose on love, commitment and other nuptial themes. (It’s a slimmer volume, at 224 pages, than the reference classic “Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations.”)
Some of the new book’s selections have been wedding mainstays for generations: the Bible’s Song of Solomon; Shakespearean sonnets (“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” “Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediment”); the anonymous Irish blessing beginning, “Let the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back.”
Others are more esoteric: American poet Dara Weir’s “One Enchanted Evening,” for example, begins, “You found me in quicksand/ and did not ask me stupid questions./ You peeled a mandarin drake/ and did not ask me to watch.”
The volume is meant to save readers from the time-consuming chore of going through the classics looking for that lovely passage vaguely remembered. For instance, it serves up six lines pulled from “Romeo and Juliet,” and a long paragraph found in Ernest Hemingway’s “A Farewell to Arms.”
As Anita Shreve writes in an introduction to the volume, “After the bouquet has been tossed, the last glasses collected, the final tipsy guests seen to their cars, the words of the wedding will live on.”
— Associated Press