Poem #52, Rondeau (Jenny Kissed Me) by Leigh Hunt, 1857

“Reduced to its simplest and most essential form, the poem is a song. Song is neither discourse nor explanation.”~Octavio Paz

Jenny kissed me when we met,
  Jumping from the chair she sat in;
Time, you thief, who love to get
  Sweets into your list, put that in!
Say I’m weary, say I’m sad,
  Say that health and wealth have missed me,
Say I’m growing old, but add,
  Jenny kissed me.

The story is that Leigh Hunt had been ill. Upon his recovery, he made a visit to his friend, Thomas Carlyle, and Carlyle’s wife, Jenny, greeted Hunt with a kiss. Hunt was friends with almost all the great British literary figures of the nineteenth century. He introduced Keats and Shelley to one another. In 1828 he published a book called Lord Byron and some of his Contemporaries, a sort of expose of the “real Byron.” His friendship with Carlyle came a little later, in the 1830’s, after Keats and Shelley had died, and Byron and his friends scorned the poverty-stricken Hunt.

Kelly Fineman on Rondeau by James Henry Leigh Hunt.

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