Графични страници
PDF файл

And long 'twas donbtful, both so closely pent,
Which first should issue through the narrow vent ;
At last agreed, together out they fly,
Inseparable now the truth and lie:
The strict companions are for ever join'd,
And this or that, unmix'd, po mortal e'er shall find.

While thus I stood, intent to see and hear, One came, methought, and whisperd in my ear: • What could thus high thy rash ambition raise ? Art thou, fond youth, a candidate for praise?'

« 'Tis true, (said I) not void of hopes I came, For who so fond as youthful bards of fame? But few, alas! the casual blessing boast, So hard to gain, so easy to be lost. How vain that second life in others' breath, The estate which wits inherit after death! Ease, health, and life, for this they must resign, (Unsure the tenure, but how vast the fine !) The great man's curse, without the gains, endare, Be envied, wretched; and be flatter'd, poor; All Inckless wits their enemies professid, And all successful, jealous friends at best. Nor fame I slight, nor for her favour's call; She comes unlook'd for, if she comes at all. But if the purchase costs so dear a price, As soothing folly, or exalting vice; Oh! if the Muse must flatter lawless sway, And follow still where fortune leads the way ; Or if no basis bear my rising name, But the fall’n ruins of another's fame; Then teach me, Heav'ıı! to scorn the guilty bays, Drive from my breast that wretched lust of praise; Unblemish'd let me live, or die unknown : Oh, grant an honest fame; or grant me none !



THERE liv'd in Lombardy, as authors write,
In days of old, a wise and worthy knight;
Of gentle manners, as of generous race, (grace :
Bless'd with much sense, more riches, and some
Yet, led astray by Venus' soft delights,
He scarce could rule some idle appetites :
For long ago, let priests say what they could,
Weak sinful laymen were but flesh and blood.

But in due time, when sixty years were o'er,
He vow'd to lead this vicious life no more;
Whether pure holiness inspir'd his mind,
Or dotage turn'd his brain, is hard to find;
But his high courage prick'd him forth to wed,
And try the pleasures of a lawful bed.
This was his nightly dream, his daily care,
And to the heavenly powers his coostant pray'r,
Once, ere he died, to taste the blissful life
Of a kind husband and a loving wife.

These thoughts he fortified with reasons still
(For none want reasons to confirm their will.)
Grave authors say, and witty poets sing,
That honest wedlock is a glorious thing :
But depth of jndgment most in him appears,
Who wisely weds in bis maturer years. .

Then let him choose a damsel young and fair,
To bless his age. and bring a worthy heir;
To soothe his cares, and, free from noise and strife,
Conduct him gently to the verge of life.
Let sinful bachelors their woes deplore,
Full well they merit all they feel, and more :
Unaw'd by precepts, human or divine,
Like birds and beasts, promiscuously they join;
Nor know to make the present blessing last,
To hope the future, or esteem the past :
But vainly boast the joys they never tried,
And find divulg'd the secrets they would hide.
The married man may bear his yoke with ease,
Secure at once himself aud Heav'n to please ;
And pass bis inoffensive hours away,
In bliss all night, and innocence all day :
Though fortune change, his constant spouse remains,
Augments his joys, or mitigates his pains.

But what so pure which envioustongues willspare?
Some wicked wits have libell'd all the fair.
With matchless impudence they style a wife
The dear-bouglit curse, and lawful plague of life ;
A boson serpent, a domestic evil,
A night-invasion, and a mid-day devil.
Let not the wise these slanderous words regard,
But curse the bones of every lying bard.
All other goods by fortune's hand are givin,
A wife is the peculiar gift of Heav'n.
Vain fortune's favours, never, at a stay,
Like empty shadows, pass, and glide away ;
One solid comfort, our eterval wife,
Abundantly supplies us all our life :
This blessings lasts (if those who try say true)
As long as heart can wish- and longer too.

Our grandsire Adam, ere of Eve possessid, Alone, and ev’n in Paradise unbless'd, With mournful looks the blissful scenes survey'd, And wander'd in the solitary shade. The Maker saw, took pity, and bestow'd Woman, the last, the best reserv'd of God.

A wife! ah, gentle deities ! can he That has a wife e'er feel adversity ? Would men but follow what the sex advise, All things would prosper, all the world grow wisc. 'Twas by Rebecca's aid that Jacob won His father's blessing from an elder son: Abusive Nabal ow'd his forfeit life To the wise conduct of a prudent wife : Heroic Judith, as old Hebrews show, Preserv'd the Jews, and slew the' Assyrian foe: At Hester's suit the persecutiog sword Was sheatlid, and Israel liv'd to bless the Lord.

These weighty motives January the sage Maturely ponder'd in his riper age : And, charm'd with virtuous joys, and sober life, Would try that christian comfort, call'd a wife. His friends were sunmon’d on a point so nice To pass their judgment, and to give advice; But fix'd before, and well resolu'd was he, (As men tliat ask advice are wont to be).

• My friends,' he cried, (and cast a mournful look Around the room,

and sigh'd before he spoke), • Beneath the weight of threescore years I bend, And, worn with cares, am hastening to my end; How I have liv'd, alas ! you know too well, In worldly follies which I blush to tell; But gracious Heav'n has op'd my eyes at last, With due regret I view my vices past,

And, as the precept of the church decrees, '.
Will take a wife, and live in holy ease:
But since by counsel all things should be done,
And many heads are wiser still than one;
Choose you for me, who best shall be content
When my desire's approv'd by your consent.

• One caution yet is needful to be told
To guide your choice ; this wife must not be old:
There goes a saying, and 'twas shrewdly said,
Old fish at table, but young flesh in bed.
My soul abhors the tasteless dry embrace.
Of a stale virgin with a winter face :
In that cold season love but treats bis guest
With bean-straw, and tough forage at the best.
No crafty widows shall approach my bed ;
These are 100 wise for bachelors to wed.
As subtle clerks by many schools are made,
Twice married dames are mistresses o' the trade :
But young and tender virgins, rul'd with ease,
We form like wax, and mould them as we please. ·

! Conceive me, sirs, nor take my sense amiss; 'Tis what concerns my soul's eternal bliss ; Since if I found no pleasure in my spouse, As flesh is frail, and who (God help me) knows? Then should I live in lewd adultery, And sink downright to Satan when I die : Or were I curs'd with an unfruitful bed, The righteous end were lost for which I wed; To raise up seed to bless the pow'rs above, Aud not for pleasure only, or for love. Think not I dote; 'tis time to take a wife, When vigorous blood forbids a chaster life: Those that are bless'd with store of grace divine, May live like saints by Heav'n's consent and mine.

« ПредишнаНапред »