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Dost thou me hate? Speak but so!/ Your sweet speech shall mine ears coax/ into a sweet slumber./Better to sleep than else in this plight./ At least as a thrum of thy love, I shall cling to thee./ (Love Poem) by Henry House

I know that he is saying, "Hey, speak to me, if you don't hate me! When I hear your voice, I can sleep, which is better to me now because of this loveless predicament caused by you."

But this "a thrum of thy love" is hard to understand.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Thrum is an old word, little used now: it designates the ends of the warp threads, either those left hanging from the loom when a weaver cuts away the fabric he has woven or the fringe of loose warp threads at the end of the woven piece.

The poet employs this word figuratively to signify his recognition that all he has left to "cling to" is the useless and discarded ends of her former love.

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I see. So he is saying "as those discarded things, I will cling to you!"? Kind of like a desperate man? – user8153 Aug 7 '14 at 11:49
Methought it was from Shakespeare or something, but was it common to write like this even in the 1880s? – user8153 Aug 7 '14 at 11:51
@user8153 Third-rate poets continued to emulate the poetic diction of three hundred years earlier into the twentieth century. – StoneyB Aug 7 '14 at 11:55
But this poet's grammar is OK? – user8153 Aug 7 '14 at 11:59
I guess, not much of the poets cares about grammar. Poets got to sound better both in words and the meaning but their work doesn't really need to fit in grammar. There should be some poets who cares about grammar either but it's not really needed as long as the feeling understood. – Berker Yüceer Aug 7 '14 at 12:40

I think the author means the following when he says 'thrum' :

a (1) : a fringe of warp threads left on the loom after the cloth has been removed (2) : one of these warp threads .

I would interpret it as follows : He loved someone and had a nice little thing going when they had somehow split. Now the author ruminates over this much-cherished, heart-wrenching, insomnia-inducing, lost love of his and bemoans that he'd be content to, at least, just be a cut-off, left-over element of what was once a beautiful relationship.

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Can I know why my answer was marked down? – Harsha Kanchina Aug 7 '14 at 12:07

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