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- The Parish Register - 6/13 -


Till every danger in your way be past, And then she gently, mildly breathes her last; Rich you arrive, in port awhile remain, And for a second venture sail again. For this, blithe Donald southward made his way, And left the lasses on the banks of Tay; Him to a neighbouring garden fortune sent, Whom we beheld, aspiringly content: Patient and mild he sought the dame to please, Who ruled the kitchen and who bore the keys. Fair Lucy first, the laundry's grace and pride, With smiles and gracious looks, her fortune tried; But all in vain she praised his "pawky eyne," Where never fondness was for Lucy seen: Him the mild Susan, boast of dairies, loved, And found him civil, cautious, and unmoved: From many a fragrant simple, Catherine's skill Drew oil and essence from the boiling still; But not her warmth, nor all her winning ways, From his cool phlegm could Donald's spirit raise: Of beauty heedless, with the merry mute, To Mistress Dobson he preferr'd his suit; There proved his service, there address'd his vows, And saw her mistress,--friend,--protectress,--spouse; A butler now, he thanks his powerful bride, And, like her keys, keeps constant at her side. Next at our altar stood a luckless pair, Brought by strong passions and a warrant there; By long rent cloak, hung loosely, strove the bride, From every eye, what all perceived, to hide, While the boy-bridegroom, shuffling in his pace, Now hid awhile and then exposed his face; As shame alternately with anger strove, The brain confused with muddy ale, to move In haste and stammering he perform'd his part, And look'd the rage that rankled in his heart; (So will each lover inly curse his fate, Too soon made happy and made wise too late:) I saw his features take a savage gloom, And deeply threaten for the days to come. Low spake the lass, and lisp'd and minced the while, Look'd on the lad, and faintly tried to smile; With soften'd speech and humbled tone she strove To stir the embers of departed love: While he, a tyrant, frowning walk'd before, Felt the poor purse, and sought the public door, She sadly following, in submission went, And saw the final shilling foully spent; Then to her father's hut the pair withdrew, And bade to love and comfort long adieu! Ah! fly temptation, youth, refrain! refrain! I preach for ever; but I preach in vain! Two summers since, I saw at Lammas Fair The sweetest flower that ever blossom'd there, When Phoebe Dawson gaily cross'd the Green, In haste to see, and happy to be seen: Her air, her manners, all who saw admired; Courteous though coy, and gentle though retired; The joy of youth and health her eyes display'd, And ease of heart her every look convey'd; A native skill her simple robes express'd, As with untutor'd elegance she dress'd; The lads around admired so fair a sight, And Phoebe felt, and felt she gave, delight. Admirers soon of every age she gain'd, Her beauty won them and her worth retain'd; Envy itself could no contempt display, They wish'd her well, whom yet they wish'd away. Correct in thought, she judged a servant's place Preserved a rustic beauty from disgrace; But yet on Sunday-eve, in freedom's hour, With secret joy she felt that beauty's power, When some proud bliss upon the heart would steal, That, poor or rich, a beauty still must feel. At length the youth ordain'd to move her breast, Before the swains with bolder spirit press'd; With looks less timid made his passion known, And pleased by manners most unlike her own; Loud though in love, and confident though young; Fierce in his air, and voluble of tongue; By trade a tailor, though, in scorn of trade, He served the 'Squire, and brush'd the coat he made. Yet now, would Phoebe her consent afford, Her slave alone, again he'd mount the board; With her should years of growing love be spent, And growing wealth;--she sigh'd and look'd consent. Now, through the lane, up hill, and 'cross the green: (Seen by but few, and blushing to be seen - Dejected, thoughtful, anxious, and afraid,) Led by the lover, walk'd the silent maid; Slow through the meadows roved they, many a mile, Toy'd by each bank, and trifled at each stile; Where, as he painted every blissful view, And highly colour'd what he strongly drew, The pensive damsel, prone to tender fears, Dimm'd the false prospect with prophetic tears.- Thus pass'd th' allotted hours, till lingering late, The lover loiter'd at the master's gate; There he pronounced adieu! and yet would stay, Till chidden--soothed--entreated--forced away; He would of coldness, though indulged, complain, And oft retire, and oft return again; When, if his teasing vex'd her gentle mind, The grief assumed compell'd her to be kind! For he would proof of plighted kindness crave, That she resented first, and then forgave; And to his grief and penance yielded more Than his presumption had required before. Ah! fly temptation, youth; refrain! refrain! Each yielding maid and each presuming swain! Lo! now with red rent cloak and bonnet black, And torn green gown loose hanging at her back, One who an infant in her arms sustains, And seems in patience striving with her pains; Pinch'd are her looks, as one who pines for bread, Whose cares are growing--and whose hopes are fled; Pale her parch'd lips, her heavy eyes sunk low, And tears unnoticed from their channels flow; Serene her manner, till some sudden pain Frets the meek soul, and then she's calm again; - Her broken pitcher to the pool she takes, And every step with cautious terror makes; For not alone that infant in her arms, But nearer cause, her anxious soul alarms. With water burthen'd, then she picks her way, Slowly and cautious, in the clinging clay; Till, in mid-green, she trusts a place unsound, And deeply plunges in th' adhesive ground; Thence, but with pain, her slender foot she takes, While hope the mind as strength the frame forsakes; For when so full the cup of sorrow grows, Add but a drop, it instantly o'erflows. And now her path, but not her peace, she gains, Safe from her task, but shivering with her pains; Her home she reaches, open leaves the door, And placing first her infant on the floor, She bares her bosom to the wind, and sits, And sobbing struggles with the rising fits: In vain they come, she feels the inflating grief, That shuts the swelling bosom from relief; That speaks in feeble cries a soul distress'd, Or the sad laugh that cannot be repress'd. The neighbour-matron leaves her wheel and flies With all the aid her poverty supplies; Unfee'd, the calls of Nature she obeys, Not led by profit, not allur'd by praise, And waiting long, till these contentions cease, She speaks of comfort, and departs in peace. Friend of distress! the mourner feels thy aid; She cannot pay thee, but thou wilt be paid. But who this child of weakness, want, and care? 'Tis Phoebe Dawson, pride of Lammas Fair; Who took her lover for his sparkling eyes, Expressions warm, and love-inspiring lies: Compassion first assail'd her gentle heart, For all his suffering, all his bosom's smart: "And then his prayers! they would a savage move, And win the coldest of the sex to love:" - But ah! too soon his looks success declared, Too late her loss the marriage-rite repair'd; The faithless flatterer then his vows forgot, A captious tyrant or a noisy sot: If present, railing, till he saw her pain'd; If absent, spending what their labours gain'd; Till that fair form in want and sickness pined, And hope and comfort fled that gentle mind. Then fly temptation, youth; resist, refrain! Nor let me preach for ever and in vain! Next came a well-dress'd pair, who left their coach, And made, in long procession, slow approach; For this gay bride had many a female friend, And youths were there, this favour'd youth t'attend: Silent, nor wanting due respect, the crowd Stood humbly round, and gratulation bow'd; But not that silent crowd, in wonder fix'd, Not numerous friends, who praise and envy mix'd, Nor nymphs attending near to swell the pride Of one more fair, the ever-smiling bride; Nor that gay bride, adorn'd with every grace, Nor love nor joy triumphant in her face, Could from the youth's sad signs of sorrow chase: Why didst thou grieve? wealth, pleasure, freedom thine; Vex'd it thy soul, that freedom to resign? Spake Scandal truth? "Thou didst not then intend So soon to bring thy wooing to an end?" Or, was it, as our prating rustics say, To end as soon, but in a different way? 'Tis told thy Phillis is a skilful dame, Who play'd uninjured with the dangerous flame; That, while, like Lovelace, thou thy coat display'd, And hid the snare for her affection laid, Thee, with her net, she found the means to catch, And at the amorous see-saw won the match: Yet others tell, the Captain fix'd thy doubt; He'd call thee brother, or he'd call thee out: - But rest the motive--all retreat too late, Joy like thy bride's should on thy brow have sate; The deed had then appear'd thine own intent, A glorious day, by gracious fortune sent, In each revolving year to be in triumph spent.


The Parish Register - 6/13

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