A marriage - a poem by Mark Twain

Mark Twain's poetry was often romantic. One example was "A Marriage" believed to have been written for his wife, Olivia Langdon (Livy). It was apparently written a few months before they married. The Twains remained married for thirty-four years. Livy was responsible for the editing and final approval of his works.

A Marriage
Makes of two fractional lives a whole;
It gives to two purposeless lives a work
And doubles the strength of each to perform it
It gives to two questioning natures a reason for living,
And something to live for;
It will give a new gladness to the sunshine,
A new fragrance to the flowers,
A new beauty to the earth,
And a new mystery to life

Wedding Letter

Also interesting is self-deprecating letter Mark Twain wrote to his family telling them about Livy: 

My dear Mother & Brother & Sisters & Nephew & Niece, & Margaret: 

This is to inform you that on yesterday, the 4th of February, I was duly & solemnly & irrevocably engaged to be married to Miss Olivia L. Langdon, of Elmira, New York. Amen. She is the best girl in all the world, & the most sensible, & I am just as proud of her as I can be.

It may be a good while before we are married, for I am not rich enough to give her a comfortable home right away, & I don’t want anybody’s help. I can get an eighth of the Cleveland Herald for $25,000, & have it so arranged that I can pay for it as I earn the money with my unaided hands. I shall look around a little more, & if I can do no better elsewhere, I shall take it.

I am not worrying about whether you will love my future wife or not—if you know her twenty-four hours & then don’t love her, you will accomplish what nobody else has ever succeeded in doing since she was born. She just naturally drops into everybody’s affections that comes across her. My prophecy was correct. She said she never could or would love me—but she set herself the task of making a Christian of me. I said she would succeed, but that in the meantime she would unwittingly dig a matrimonial pit & end up tumbling into it—& lo! the prophecy is fulfilled. She was in New York a day or two ago, & George Wiley & his wife Clara know her now. Pump them, if you want to. You shall see her before very long. 

Love to all. Affect’ly 
P.S. Shall be here a week.


  1. It will give more sweetness to live and enjoy life
    A new beauty to the earth.
    So why not enjoy it fully.