Poetry at the Post: The Chapel of Love and A Marriage Proposal at the White Buffalo Bar

The Garden of Love
BY WILLIAM BLAKE
I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen:
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.

“Chapelle Palatine”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – photo courtesy of Urban

The White Buffalo Bar at the Gage Hotel was hopping last night. There were tourists from Illinois and Massachusetts, several bikers (always), and a group of a dozen some ladies marking a friend’s birthday. We were  enjoying pre-dinner drinks when a random man  stood up and announced, “Attention, please! I have something important to say.” His look was urgent so the room grew suddenly silent.

“I just proposed to this beautiful woman,” he began, “and she said yes. To celebrate,  I’d like to buy you all a drink.” We clapped hands and cheered. Of course! One of the biker guys walked over to the soon-to-be-groom and shook his hand. “Congratulations, man” while the group of ladies who were beginning to feel their margaritas began to sing “Chapel of Love.”  (Click the link!) How fun was that! Ok,  I admit, you probably had to be there …. but it does take us back to William Blake.

Blake is a slippery fellow. His poems begin here  but before you know it you’re there and sometimes you’re not sure where there is. In “The Garden of Love,” we begin with a chapel constructed where the speaker “used to play on the green” and soon we’re staring at clergy and death and theological restriction.

But, really William! Life can just be fun, too—margaritas, a marriage proposal and a round of “Chapel of Love.”

Blake's The Lovers' Whirlwind illustrates Hell in Canto V of Dante's Inferno
Blake’s The Lovers’ Whirlwind illustrates Hell in Canto V of Dante’s Inferno

Fun fact: In 1964, “the New Orleans girl group The Dixie Cups knocked The Beatles out of the top spot on the charts …with the song “Chapel of Love.” You can read all about it and watch the Dixie Cups sing it live here on NPR .

3 thoughts on “Poetry at the Post: The Chapel of Love and A Marriage Proposal at the White Buffalo Bar

      1. Hi – this is your virtual student – I am enjoying the Os Lusiads – and am really looking forward to Dante – but I see a whole lot of other stuff, and wondered what the schedule for that would be.

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