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If I in trifles be the wilful wife,
Still for your credit I would lose my life;
Go! and when fix'd the day of your return,
Stay longer yet, and let the blockheads learn,
That though a wife may sometimes wish to rule,
She would not make th' indulgent man a fool;
I would at times advise-but idle they
Who think th' assenting husband must obey."
The happy man, who thought his lady right
In other cases, was assured to-night;
Then for the day with proud delight prepared,
To show his doubting friends how much he
"Twas very wicked with his friend to jest ;
For now he saw that those who were obey'd,
Could like the most subservient feel afraid;
And though a wife might not dispute the will
Counter-who grieving sought his bed, his Of her liege lord, she could prevent it still.
Broken by pictures of his love distress'd—
With soft and winning speech the fair prepared;
She all his counsels comforts, pleasures
The morning came, and Clubb prepared to ride
With a smart boy, his servant and his guide;
When, ere he mounted on the ready steed,
Arrived a letter, and he stopp'd to read.
My friend," he read-" Our journey I decline,
A heart too tender for such strife is mine;
Yours is the triumph, be you so inclined;
But you are too considerate and kind.
In tender pity to my Juliet's fears
She was assured he loved her from his soul,
She never knew and need not fear control;
But so it happen'd he was grieved at heart
It happen'd so, that they a while must part-
A little time-the distance was but short,
And business call'd him-he despised the sport ;
But to Newmarket he engaged to ride,
With his friend Clubb," and there he stopp'd and Each faithful wife, like ours, must disapprove
I thus relent, o'ercome by love and tears;
She knows your kindness; I have heard her say,
A man like you 'tis pleasure to obey :
Such dangerous trifling with connubial love;
What has the idle world, my friend, to do
With our affairs? they envy me and you:
What if I could my gentle spouse command-
Is that a cause I should her tears withstand?
And what if you, a friend of peace, submit
To one you love-is that a theme for wit?
'Twas wrong, and I shall henceforth judge it weak
Both of submission and control to speak:
Be it agreed that all contention cease,
And no such follies vex our future peace;
Let each keep guard against domestic strife,
And find nor slave nor tyrant in his wife."
Agreed," said Clubb, "with all my soul
He would attempt a race, be sure to fall-
And she expire with terror-that was all;
With love like hers she was indeed unfit
To bear such horrors, but she must submit."
"But for three days, my love! three days at And I assent; such things are not a jest.”
And to the boy, delighted, gave his steed;
I think my friend has well his mind express'd,
A while the tender creature look'd dismay'd, Then floods of tears the call of grief obey'd. "She an objection! No!" she sobb'd, "not
Her work was finish'd, and her race was run;
For die she must, indeed she would not live
A week alone, for all the world could give;
He too must die in that same wicked place;
It always happen'd-was a common case;
Among those horrid horses, jockeys, crowds,
'Twas certain death-they might bespeak their
The lady fainted, and the husband sent
For every aid, for every comfort went;
Strong terror seized him; "O! she loved so
And who th' effect of tenderness could tell?"
She now recover'd, and again began
With accent querulous--" Ah! cruel man-”
Till the sad husband, conscience struck, con-
I will return-there-weep no longer-nay!" "Well! I obey, and to the last am true,
True," said the wife, "no longer he can hide
The truth that pains him by his wounded pride:
Your friend has found it not an easy thing,
Beneath his yoke, this yielding soul to bring;
These weeping willows, though they seem inclined
By every breeze, yet not the strongest wind
Can from their bent divert this weak but stubborn
Drooping they seek your pity to excite,
But 'tis at once their nature and delight;
Such women feel not; while they sigh and
"Tis but their habit-their affections sleep;
They are like ice that in the hand we hold,
But spirits fail me; I must die; adieu!'
"What, madam! must ?-'tis wrong-I'm angry- So very melting, yet so very cold;
On such affection let not man rely,
Can I remain and lose a thousand pounds?"
The husbands suffer, and the ladies sigh:
But your friend's offer let us kindly take.
"Go then, my love! it is a monstrous sum,
Worth twenty wives-go, love! and I am dumb-And spare his pride for his vexation's sake;
Nor be displeased-had I the power to live,
You might be angry, now you must forgive;
Alas! I faint-ah! cruel-there's no need
Of wounds or fevers-this had done the deed."
For he has found, and through his life will find.
'Tis easiest dealing with the firmest mind-
More just when it resists, and, when it yields, more
-A tapster is a good trade, and an old cloak makes a new jerkin; a wither'd serving-man, a fresh tapster. Merry Wives of Windsor, act i. sc. 3. A fellow, sir, that I have known go about with my troll-my-dames. Winter's Tale, act iv. sc. 2.
-I myself, sometimes leaving the fear of Heaven on the left hand, and holding mine honour in my necessity, am forced to shuffle, to hedge, and to lurch.
Merry Wives of Windsor, act ii. sc. 2.
Yea, and at that very moment,
Consideration like an angel came,
And whipp'd th' offending Adam out of him.
Henry V. act i. sc. 1.
I have lived long enough: My May of life
Is fall'n into the sere, the yellow leaf;
And that which should accompany old age,
As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends,
I must not look to have.
Macbeth, act v. sc. 3.
SOME to our hero have a hero's name
Denied, because no father's he could claim;
Nor could his mother with precision state
A full fair claim to her certificate;
On her own word the marriage must depend-
A point she was not eager to defend :
But who, without a father's name, can raise
His own so high, deserves the greater praise:
The less advantage to the strife he brought,
The greater wonders has his prowess wrought;
He who depends upon his wind and limbs,
Needs neither cork nor bladder when he swims;
Nor will by empty breath be puff'd along,
As not himself-but in his helpers-strong.
Suffice it then, our hero's name was clear,
For, call John Dighton, and he answer'd, "Here!"
But who that name in early life assign'd
He never found, he never tried to find;
Whether his kindred were to John disgrace,
Or John to them, is a disputed case;
His infant state owed nothing to their care-
His mind neglected, and his body bare;
All his success must on himself depend,
He had no money, counsel, guide, or friend;
But in a market town an active boy
Appear'd, and sought in various ways employ ;
Who soon, thus cast upon the world, began
To show the talents of a thriving man.
His varying genius shone in blacking shoes:
A midnight fisher by the pond he stood,
Assistant poacher, he o'erlook'd the wood;
At an election John's impartial mind
Was to no cause nor candidate confined;
To all in turn full he allegiance swore,
And in his hat the various badges bore:
His liberal soul with every sect agreed,
Unheard their reasons, he received their creed;
At church he deign'd the organ pipes to fill,
And at the meeting sang both loud and shrill :
But the full purse these different merits gain'd,
By strong demands his lively passions drain'd;
Liquors he loved of each inflaming kind,
To midnight revels flew with ardent mind;
Too warm at cards, a losing game he play'd,
To fleecing beauty his attention paid;
His boiling passions were by oaths express'd,
And lies he made his profit and his jest.
Such was the boy, and such the man had been,
But fate or happier fortune changed the scene;
A fever seized him, He should surely die—”
He fear'd, and lo! a friend was praying by;
With terror moved, this teacher he address'd,
And all the errors of his youth confess'd:
The good man kindly clear'd the sinner's way
To lively hope, and counsell'd him to pray;
Who then resolved, should he from sickness rise,
To quit cards, liquors, poaching, oaths, and lies:
His health restored, he yet resolved, and grew
True to his masters, to their meeting true :
His old companions at his sober face
Laugh'd loud, while he, attesting it was grace,
With tears besought them all his calling to em-
To his new friends such converts gave applause,
Life to their zeal, and glory to their cause:
Though terror wrought the mighty change, yet
Was the impression, and it lasted long;
John at the lectures due attendance paid,
A convert meek, obedient, and afraid.
His manners strict, though form'd on fear alone,
Pleased the grave friends, nor less his solemn
The lengthen'd face of care, the low and inward
The stern good men exulted, when they saw
Those timid looks of penitence and awe;
Nor thought that one so passive, humble, meek,
Had yet a creed and principles to seek.
The faith that reason finds, confirms, avows,
The hopes, the views, the comforts she allows-
These were not his, who by his feelings found,
And by them only, that his faith was sound;
Feelings of terror these, for evil past,
Feelings of hope, to be received at last;
With spirit high John learn'd the world to Now weak, now lively, changing with the day,
These were his feelings, and he felt his way.
And in both senses was a ready knave:
Knave as of old, obedient, keen, and quick,
Knave as at present, skill'd to shift and trick;
Some humble part of many trades he taught,
He for the builder and the painter wrought;
For serving maids on secret errands ran,
The waiter's helper, and the hostler's man;
Sprung from such sources, will this faith remain
While these supporters can their strength retain :
As heaviest weights the deepest rivers pass,
While icy chains fast bind the solid mass;
So, born of feelings, faith remains secure,
Long as their firmness and their strength endure:
But when the waters in their channel glide,
And when he chanced (oft chanced he) place to A bridge must bear us o'er the threatening tide:
Such bridge is reason, and there faith relies,
Whether the varying spirits fall or rise.
His patrons, still disposed their aid to lend,
Behind a counter placed their humble friend;
Where pens and paper were on shelves display'd,
And pious pamphlets on the windows laid;
By nature active and from vice restrain'd,
Increasing trade his bolder views sustain'd;
His friends and teachers, finding so much zeal
In that young convert whom they taught to feel,
His trade encouraged, and were pleased to find
A hand so ready, with such humble mind.
And now, his health restored, his spirits eased,
He wish'd to marry, if the teachers pleased.
They, not unwilling, from the virgin class
Took him a comely and a courteous lass;
Simple and civil, loving and beloved,
She long a fond and faithful partner proved;
In every year the elders and the priest
Were duly summon'd to a christening feast;
Nor came a babe, but by his growing trade,
John had provision for the coming made :
For friends and strangers all were pleased to deal We see thy frailty, and thy fate discern ;
With one whose care was equal to his zeal.
Satan with toils thy simple soul beset,
And thou art careless, slumbering in the net;
Unmindful art thou of thy early vow?
Who at the morning meeting sees thee now?
We ask-are answer'd, To the tavern gone:
Thee on the Sabbath seldom we behold;
Thou canst not sing, thou'rt nursing for a cold;
This from the churchmen thou hast learn'd, for they
Have colds and fevers on the Sabbath day;
When in some snug warm room they sit, and pen
Bills from their ledgers, (world entangled men!)
In human friendship, it compels a sigh,
To think what trifles will dissolve the tie.
John, now become a master of his trade,
Perceived how much improvement might be made; Who at the evening? where is brother John?
And as this prospect open'd to his view,
A certain portion of his zeal withdrew;
His fear abated-" What had he to fear-
His profits certain, and his conscience clear?"
Above his door a board was placed by John,
And, "Dighton, stationer," was gilt thereon;
His window next, enlarged to twice the size,
Shone with such trinkets as the simple prize;
While in the shop with pious works were seen
The last new play, review, or magazine :
In orders punctual, he observed-"The books
He never read, and could he judge their looks?
Readers and critics should their merits try,
He had no office but to sell and buy ;
Like other traders, profit was his care;
Of what they print, the authors must beware."
He held his patrons and his teachers dear,
But with his trade-they must not interfere.
"See with what pride thou hast enlarged thy shop; To view thy tempting stores the heedless stop; By what strange names dost thou these baubles
"Twas certain now that John had lost the dread
And pious thoughts that once such terrors bred;
His habits varied, and he more inclined
To the vain world, which he had half resign'd:
He had moreover in his brethren seen,
Or he imagined, craft, conceit, and spleen;
"They are but men," said John, "and shall I then
Fear man's control, or stand in awe of men?
'Tis their advice, (their convert's rule and law,)
And good it is-I will not stand in awe."
Moreover Dighton, though he thought of books
As one who chiefly on the title looks,
Yet sometimes ponder'd o'er a page to find,
When vex'd with cares, amusement for his mind;
And by degrees that mind had treasured much
From works his teachers were afraid to touch:
Satiric novels, poets bold and free,
And what their writers term philosophy;
All these were read, and he began to feel
Some self-approval on his bosom steal.
Wisdom creates humility, but he
Who thus collects it will not humble be:
No longer John was fill'd with pure delight
And humble reverence in a pastor's sight;
Who, like a grateful zealot, listening stood,
To hear a man so friendly and so good;
But felt the dignity of one who made
Himself important by a thriving trade;
And growing pride in Dighton's mind was bred
By the strange food on which it coarsely fed.
Their brother's fall the grieving brethren heard,
The pride indeed to all around appear'd;
The world, his friends agreed, had won the soul
From its best hopes, the man from their control :
To make him humble, and confine his views
Within their bounds, and books which they peruse;
A deputation from these friends select,
Might reason with him to some good effect;
Arm'd with authority, and led by love,
They might those follies from his mind remove;
Deciding thus, and with this kind intent,
A chosen body with its speaker went.
John," said the teacher, "John, with great
Which wantons wear, to make a sinful show?
Hast thou in view these idle volumes placed,
To be the pander of a vicious taste?
What's here? a book of dances!-you advance
In goodly knowledge-John, wilt learn to dance?
How! Go!' it says, and to the devil go!
And shake thyself!' I tremble-but 'tis so-
Wretch as thou art, what answer canst thou make?
O! without question thou wilt go and shake.
What's here? the School for Scandal'-pretty
Well, and art thou proficient in the rules?
Art thou a pupil, is it thy design
To make our names contemptible as thine?
Old Nick, a novel! O! 'tis mighty well;
A fool has courage when he laughs at hell;
Frolic and Fun,' the humours of Tim Grin;' Why, John, thou grow'st facetious in thy sin; And what? th' Archdeacon's Charge '-'tis mighty well
If Satan publish'd, thou wouldst doubtless sell ;
Jests, novels, dances, and this precious stuff,
To crown thy folly we have seen enough;
We find thee fitted for each evil work-
Do print the Koran, and become a Turk.
"John, thou art lost; success and worldly pride
O'er all thy thoughts and purposes preside,
Have bound thee fast, and drawn thee far aside:
Yet turn; these sin-traps from thy shop expel,
Repent and pray, and all may yet be well.
And here thy wife, thy Dorothy, behold,
How fashion's wanton robes her form infold!
Can grace, can goodness with such trappings
John, thou hast made thy wife a Jezebel :
See! on her bosom rests the sign of sin, The glaring proof of naughty thoughts within; What! 'tis a cross; come hither-as a friend Thus from thy neck the shameful badge I rend." "Rend, if you dare," said Dighton; "you shall find
A man of spirit, though to peace inclined;
Call me ungrateful! have I not my pay
At all times ready for th' expected day?—
To share my plenteous board you deign to come,
Myself your pupil, and my house your home;
And shall the persons who my meat enjoy
Talk of my faults, and treat me as a boy?
Have you not told how Rome's insulting priests
Led their meek laymen like a herd of beasts;
And by their fleecing and their forgery made
Their holy calling an accursed trade?
Can you such acts and insolence condemn,
Who to your utmost power resemble them?
"Concerns it you what books I set for sale? The tale perchance may be a virtuous tale; And for the rest, 'tis neither wise nor just, In you, who read not, to condemn on trust; Why should th' Archdeacon's Charge your spleen excite ?
He, or perchance th' archbishop, may be right.
That from your meetings I refrain, is true;
I meet with nothing pleasant-nothing new;
But the same proofs, that not one text explain,
And the same lights, where all things dark remain;
I thought you saints on earth-but I have found
Some sins among you, and the best unsound :
You have your failings, like the crowds below,
And at your pleasure hot and cold can blow.
When I at first your grave deportment saw,
(I own my folly,) I was fill'd with awe;
You spoke so warmly, and it seems so well,
I should have thought it treason to rebel;
Is it a wonder that a man like me
Should such perfection in such teachers see?
Nay, should conceive you sent from heaven to brave
The host of sin, and sinful souls to save?
But as our reason wakes, our prospects clear,
And failings, flaws, and blemishes appear.
"When you were mounted in your rostrum high, We shrank beneath your tone, your frown, your eye; Then you beheld us abject, fallen, low, And felt your glory from our baseness grow; Touch'd by your words, I trembled like the rest, And my own vileness and your power confess'd: These, I exclaim'd, are men divine, and gazed On him who taught, delighted, and amazed; Glad when he finish'd, if by chance he cast One look on such a sinner, as he pass'd.
"But when I view'd you in a clearer light, And saw the frail and carnal appetite; When, at his humble prayer, you deign'd to eat Saints as you are, a civil sinner's meat; When as you sat contented and at ease, Nibbling at leisure on the ducks and pease; And, pleased some comforts in such place to find, You could descend to be a little kind; And gave us hope, in heaven there might be room For a few souls besides your own to come; While this world's good engaged your carnal view, And like a sinner you enjoy'd it too; All this perceiving, can you think it strange That change in you should work an equal change?"
Depart this instant, let me hear no more
My house my castle is, and that my door."
The hint they took, and from the door withdrew, And John to meeting bade a long adieu; Attach'd to business, he in time became A wealthy man of no inferior name. It seem'd, alas! in John's deluded sight, That all was wrong because not all was right; And when he found his teachers had their stains, Resentment and not reason broke his chains : Thus on his feelings he again relied, And never look'd to reason for his guide: Could he have wisely view'd the frailty shown, And rightly weigh'd their wanderings and his own,
He might have known that men may be sincere,
Though gay and feasting on the savoury cheer;
That doctrines sound and sober they may teach,
Who love to eat with all the glee they each;
Nay, who believe the duck, the grape, the pine,
Were not intended for the dog and swine;
But Dighton's hasty mind on every theme
Ran from the truth, and rested in th' extreme:
Flaws in his friends he found, and then withdrew
(Vain of his knowledge) from their virtues too.
Best of his books he loved the liberal kind,
That, if they improve not, still enlarge the mind;
And found himself, with such advisers, free
From a fix'd creed, as mind enlarged could be.
His humble wife at these opinions sigh'd,
But her he never heeded till she died :
He then assented to a last request,
And by the meeting window let her rest;
And on her stone the sacred text was seen,
Which had her comfort in departing been.
Dighton with joy beheld his trade advance,
Yet seldom publish'd, loath to trust to chance;
Then wed a doctor's sister-poor indeed,
But skill'd in works her husband could not read;
Who, if he wish'd new ways of wealth to seek,
Could make her half-crown pamphlet in a week;
This he rejected, though without disdain,
And chose the old and certain way to gain.
Thus he proceeded, trade increased the while,
And fortune woo'd him with perpetual smile:
On early scenes he sometimes cast a thought,
When on his heart the mighty change was wrought;
And all the ease and comfort converts find
Was magnified in his reflecting mind:
Then on the teacher's priestly pride he dwelt,
That caused his freedom, but with this he felt
The danger of the free-for since that day,
No guide had shown, no brethren join'd his way;
Forsaking one, he found no second creed,
But reading doubted, doubting what to read.
Still, though reproof had brought some present pain,
The gain he made was fair and honest gain;
He laid his wares, indeed, in public view,
But that all traders claim a right to do:
By means like these, he saw his wealth increase,
And felt his consequence, and dwelt in peace.
Our hero's age was threescore years and five,
When he exclaim'd, "Why longer should I strive?
Why more amass, who never must behold
A young John Dighton, to make glad the old ?”
(The sous he had to early graves were gone,
And girls were burdens to the mind of John.)
Had I a boy, he would our name sustain,
That now to nothing must return again;
But what are all my profits, credit, trade,
And parish honours ?-folly and parade."
I had my comforts, and a growing trade
Gave greater pleasure than a fortune made;
And as I more possess'd and reason'd more,
I lost those comforts I enjoy'd before,
When reverend guides I saw my table round,
And in my guardian guest my safety found:
Now sick and sad, no appetite, no ease,
Nor pleasure have I, nor a wish to please;
Nor views, nor hopes, nor plans, nor taste have I,
Yet sick of life, have no desire to die."
Thus Dighton thought, and in his looks appear'd
Sadness increased by much he saw and heard:
The brethren often at the shop would stay,
And make their comments ere they walk'd away:
They mark'd the window, fill'd in every pane
With lawless prints of reputations slain;
Distorted forms of men with honours graced,
And our chief rulers in derision placed :
Amazed they stood, remembering well the days
When to be humble was their brother's praise;
When at the dwelling of their friend they stopp'd
To drop a word, or to receive it dropp'd ;
Where they beheld the prints of men renown'd,
And far-famed preachers pasted all around;
(Such mouths! eyes! hair! so prim! so fierce! so And virtue led him while he lean'd on grace;
He said, and died; his trade, his name is gone,
And all that once gave consequence to John.
Unhappy Dighton! had he found a friend,
When conscience told him it was time to mend !
A friend discreet, considerate, kind, sincere,
Who would have shown the grounds of hope and
And proved that spirits, whether high or low,
No certain tokens of man's safety show;
Had reason ruled him in her proper place,
Had he while zealous been discreet and pure,
His knowledge humble, and his hope secure ;-
These guides had placed him on the solid rock,
Where faith had rested, nor received a shock;
But his, alas! was placed upon the sand,
Where long it stood not, and where none can stand.
They look'd as speaking what is wo to speak :)
On these the passing brethren loved to dwell-
How long they spake! how strongly! warmly!
What power had each to dive in mysteries deep,
To warm the cold, to make the harden'd weep;
To lure, to fright, to soothe, to awe the soul,
And listening flocks to lead and to control!
But now discoursing, as they linger'd near,
They tempted John (whom they accused) to hear
Their weighty charge-" And can the lost one feel,
As in the time of duty, love, and zeal;
When all were summon'd at the rising sun,
And he was ready with his friends to run;
When he, partaking with a chosen few,
Felt the great change, sensation rich and new?
No! all is lost, her favours Fortune shower'd
Upon the man, and he is overpower'd;
The world has won him with its tempting store
Of needless wealth, and that has made him poor:
Success undoes him, he has risen to fall,
Has gain'd a fortune, and has lost his all;
Gone back from Sion, he will find his age
Loath to commence a second pilgrimage;
He has retreated from the chosen track ;'
And now must ever bear the burden on his back."
Hurt by such censure, John began to find
Fresh revolutions working in his mind;
He sought for comfort in his books, but read
Without a plan or method in his head;
What once amused, now rather made him sad,
What should inform, increased the doubts he had;
Shame would not let him seek at church a guide,
And from his meeting he was held by pride;
His wife derided fears she never felt,
And passing brethren daily censures dealt ;
Hope for a son was now for ever past,
He was the first John Dighton, and the last;
His stomach fail'd, his case the doctor knew,
But said, "He still might hold a year or two."
"No more!" he said, "but why should I complain?
A life of doubt must be a life of pain:
Could I be sure-but why should I despair?
I'm sure my conduct has been just and fair;
In youth indeed I had a wicked will,
But I repented, and have sorrow still: