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- The Parish Register - 5/13 -

He'd no small cunning, and had some small wit; Had that calm look which seem'd to all assent, And that complacent speech which nothing meant: He'd but one care, and that he strove to hide - How best for Richard Monday to provide. Steel, through opposing plates, the magnet draws, And steely atoms culls from dust and straws; And thus our hero, to his interest true, Gold through all bars and from each trifle drew; But still more surely round the world to go, This fortune's child had neither friend nor foe. Long lost to us, at last our man we trace, - "Sir Richard Monday died at Monday Place:" His lady's worth, his daughter's, we peruse, And find his grandsons all as rich as Jews: He gave reforming charities a sum, And bought the blessings of the blind and dumb; Bequeathed to missions money from the stocks, And Bibles issued from his private box; But to his native place severely just, He left a pittance bound in rigid trust; - Two paltry pounds, on every quarter's-day, (At church produced) for forty loaves should pay; A stinted gift that to the parish shows He kept in mind their bounty and their blows! To farmers three, the year has given a son, Finch on the Moor, and French, and Middleton. Twice in this year a female Giles I see, A Spalding once, and once a Barnaby: - A humble man is HE, and when they meet, Our farmers find him on a distant seat; There for their wit he serves a constant theme, - "They praise his dairy, they extol his team, They ask the price of each unrivall'd steed, And whence his sheep, that admirable breed. His thriving arts they beg he would explain, And where he puts the money he must gain. They have their daughters, but they fear their friend Would think his sons too much would condescend: - They have their sons who would their fortunes try, But fear his daughters will their suit deny." So runs the joke, while James, with sigh profound, And face of care, looks moveless on the ground; His cares, his sighs, provoke the insult more, And point the jest--for Barnaby is poor. Last in my list, five untaught lads appear; Their father dead, compassion sent them here, - For still that rustic infidel denied To have their names with solemn rite applied: His, a lone house, by Deadman's Dyke-way stood; And his a nightly haunt, in Lonely-wood: Each village inn has heard the ruffian boast, That he believed "in neither God nor ghost; That when the sod upon the sinner press'd, He, like the saint, had everlasting rest; That never priest believed his doctrines true, But would, for profit, own himself a Jew, Or worship wood and stone, as honest heathen do; That fools alone on future worlds rely, And all who die for faith deserve to die." These maxims,--part th' Attorney's Clerk profess'd, His own transcendent genius found the rest. Our pious matrons heard, and, much amazed, Gazed on the man, and trembled as they gazed; And now his face explored, and now his feet, Man's dreaded foe in this bad man to meet: But him our drunkards as their champion raised, Their bishop call'd, and as their hero praised: Though most, when sober, and the rest, when sick, Had little question whence his bishopric. But he, triumphant spirit! all things dared; He poach'd the wood, and on the warren snared; 'Twas his, at cards, each novice to trepan, And call the want of rogues "the rights of man;" Wild as the winds he let his offspring rove, And deem'd the marriage-bond the bane of love. What age and sickness, for a man so bold, Had done, we know not;--none beheld him old; By night, as business urged, he sought the wood; - The ditch was deep,--the rain had caused a flood, - The foot-bridge fail'd,--he plunged beneath the deep, And slept, if truth were his, th'eternal sleep. These have we named; on life's rough sea they sail, With many a prosperous, many an adverse gale! Where passion soon, like powerful winds, will rage, And prudence, wearied, with their strength engage: Then each, in aid, shall some companion ask, For help or comfort in the tedious task; And what that help--what joys from union flow, What good or ill, we next prepare to show; And row, meantime, our weary bark to shore, As Spenser his--but not with Spenser's oar. {2}


Nubere si qua voles, quamvis properabitis ambo, Differ; habent parvae commoda magna morae. OVID, Fasti, lib.iii.


Previous Consideration necessary: yet not too long Delay--Imprudent Marriage of old Kirk and his Servant--Comparison between an ancient and youthful Partner to a young Man--Prudence of Donald the Gardener--Parish Wedding: the compelled Bridegroom: Day of Marriage, how spent--Relation of the Accomplishments of Phoebe Dawson, a rustic Beauty: her Lover: his Courtship: their Marriage--Misery of Precipitation--The wealthy Couple: Reluctance in the Husband; why?--Unusually fair Signatures in the Register: the common Kind--Seduction of Lucy Collins by Footman Daniel: her rustic Lover: her Return to him--An ancient Couple: Comparisons on the Occasion--More pleasant View of Village Matrimony: Farmers celebrating the Day of Marriage: their Wives--Reuben and Rachael, a happy Pair: an example of prudent Delay--Reflections on their State who were not so prudent, and its Improvement towards the Termination of Life: an old Man so circumstanced--Attempt to seduce a Village Beauty: Persuasion and Reply: the Event.

DISPOSED to wed, e'en while you hasten, stay; There's great advantage in a small delay: Thus Ovid sang, and much the wise approve This prudent maxim of the priest of Love; If poor, delay for future want prepares, And eases humble life of half its cares; If rich, delay shall brace the thoughtful mind, T'endure the ills that e'en the happiest find: Delay shall knowledge yield on either part, And show the value of the vanquish'd heart; The humours, passions, merits, failings prove, And gently raise the veil that's worn by Love; Love, that impatient guide!--too proud to think Of vulgar wants, of clothing, meat, and drink, Urges our amorous swains their joys to seize, And then, at rags and hunger frighten'd, flees: Yet not too long in cold debate remain; Till age refrain not--but if old, refrain. By no such rule would Gaffer Kirk be tried; First in the year he led a blooming bride, And stood a wither'd elder at her side. Oh! Nathan! Nathan! at thy years trepann'd, To take a wanton harlot by the hand! Thou, who wert used so tartly to express Thy sense of matrimonial happiness, Till every youth, whose banns at church were read, Strove not to meet, or meeting, hung his head; And every lass forebore at thee to look, A sly old fish, too cunning for the hook; And now at sixty, that pert dame to see, Of all thy savings mistress, and of thee; Now will the lads, rememb'ring insults past, Cry, "What, the wise one in the trap at last!" Fie! Nathan! fie! to let an artful jade The close recesses of thine heart invade; What grievous pangs! what suffering she'll impart! And fill with anguish that rebellious heart; For thou wilt strive incessantly, in vain, By threatening speech thy freedom to regain: But she for conquest married, nor will prove A dupe to thee, thine anger or thy love; Clamorous her tongue will be: --of either sex, She'll gather friends around thee and perplex Thy doubtful soul;--thy money she will waste In the vain ramblings of a vulgar taste; And will be happy to exert her power, In every eye, in thine, at every hour. Then wilt thou bluster--"No! I will not rest, And see consumed each shilling of my chest:" Thou wilt be valiant--"When thy cousins call, I will abuse and shut my door on all:" Thou wilt be cruel!--"What the law allows, That be thy portion, my ungrateful spouse! Nor other shillings shalt thou then receive; And when I die--What! may I this believe? Are these true tender tears? and does my Kitty grieve? Ah! crafty vixen, thine old man has fears; But weep no more! I'm melted by thy tears; Spare but my money; thou shalt rule ME still, And see thy cousins: --there! I burn the will." Thus, with example sad, our year began, A wanton vixen and a weary man; But had this tale in other guise been told, Young let the lover be, the lady old, And that disparity of years shall prove No bane of peace, although some bar to love: 'Tis not the worst, our nuptial ties among, That joins the ancient bride and bridegroom young; - Young wives, like changing winds, their power display By shifting points and varying day by day; Now zephyrs mild, now whirlwinds in their force, They sometimes speed, but often thwart our course; And much experienced should that pilot be, Who sails with them on life's tempestuous sea. But like a trade-wind is the ancient dame, Mild to your wish and every day the same; Steady as time, no sudden squalls you fear, But set full sail and with assurance steer;

The Parish Register - 5/13

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