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She happier days has known, but seems at ease,
And you may call her lady, if you please :
But if you wish, good sister, to improve,
You shall see twenty better worth your love."
These Nancy met; but, spite of all they taught,
This useless widow was the one she sought:
The father growl'd; but said he knew no harm
In such connexion that could give alarm :
And if we thwart the trifler in her course,
And I confess, it shocks my pride to tell
The secrets of the prison where I dwell;
For that dear maiden would be shock'd to feel
The secrets I should shudder to reveal ;
When told her friend was by a parent ask'd,
Fed you the swine? Good heaven! how I am task'd!
What! can you smile! Ah! smile not at the grief
That woos your pity and demands relief."-
Trifles, my love; you take a false alarm; Think, I beseech you, better of the farm:
"Tis odds against us she will take a worse."
Then met the friends; the widow heard the sigh Duties in every state demand your care,
That ask'd at once compassion and reply.
And light are those that will require it there:
Fix on the youth a favouring eye, and these,
To him pertaining, or as his, will please."
Would you, my child, converse with one so poor,
Yours were the kindness-yonder is my door;
And, save the time that we in public pray,
From that poor cottage I but rarely stray."
There went the nymph, and made her strong
What words," the lass replied, "offend my ear!
Try you my patience? Can you be sincere ?
And am I told a willing hand to give
To a rude farmer, and with rustic live?
Far other fate was yours: some gentle youth
Admired your beauty, and avow'd his truth;
The power of love prevail'd, and freely both
Gave the fond heart, and pledged the binding oath;
And then the rival's plot, the parent's power,
And jealous fears, drew on the happy hour:
Ah! let not memory lose the blissful view,
But fairly show what love has done for you."
"Agreed, my daughter, what my heart has known Of love's strange power shall be with frankness shown:
But let me warn you, that experience finds
Few of the scenes that lively hope designs."
Painting her wo as injured feeling paints.
"O, dearest friend! do think how one must feel,
Shock'd all day long, and sicken'd every meal!
Could you behold our kitchen, (and to you
A scene so shocking must indeed be new,)
A mind like yours, with true refinement graced,
Would let no vulgar scenes pollute your taste;
And yet, in truth, from such a polish'd mind
All base ideas must resistance find,
And sordid pictures from the fancy pass,
As the breath startles from the polish'd glass.
Here you enjoy a sweet romantic scene,
Without so pleasant, and within so clean;
These twining jess'mines, what delicious gloom
And soothing fragrance yield they to the room!
What lovely garden! there you oft retire,
And tales of wo and tenderness admire :
In that neat case, your books, in order placed,
Soothe the full soul, and charm the cultured taste;
And thus, while all about you wears a charm,
How must you scorn the farmer and the farm!"
The widow smiled, and "Know you not," said she,
"How much these farmers scorn or pity me;
Who see what you admire, and laugh at all they
True, their opinion alters not my fate,
By falsely judging of an humble state :
This garden, you with such delight behold,
Tempts not a feeble dame who dreads the cold;
These plants, which please so well your livelier
To mine but little of their sweets dispense;
Books soon are painful to my failing sight,
And oftener read from duty than delight;
(Yet let me own, that I can sometimes find
Both joy and duty in the act combined ;)
But view me rightly, you will see no more
Than a poor female, willing to be poor;
Happy indeed, but not in books nor flowers,
Not in fair dreams, indulged in earlier hours,
Of never-tasted joys; such visions shun,
My youthful friend, nor scorn the farmer's son.”
'Nay," said the damsel, nothing pleased to see A friend's advice could like a father's be;
'Mysterious all," said Nancy; you, I know, Have suffer'd much; now deign the grief to show;
I am your friend, and so prepare my heart
In all your sorrows to receive a part."
The widow answer'd, "I had once, like you,
Such thoughts of love; no dream is more untrue:
You judge it fated and decreed to dwell
In youthful hearts, which nothing can expel,
A passion doom'd to reign, and irresistible.
The struggling mind, when once subdued, in vain
Rejects the fury or defies the pain;
The strongest reason fails the flame t'allay,
And resolution droops and faints away:
Hence, when the destined lovers meet, they prove
At once the force of this all-powerful love:
Each from that period feels the mutual smart,
Nor seeks to cure it heart is changed for heart;
Nor is there peace till they delighted stand,
And, at the altar, hand is joined to hand.
"Alas! my child, there are who, dreaming so,
Waste their fresh youth, and waking feel the wo;
There is no spirit sent the heart to move
With such prevailing and alarming love;
Passion to reason will submit; or why
Should wealthy maids the poorest swains deny ?
Or how could classes and degrees create
The slightest bar to such resistless fate?
Yet high and low, you see, forbear to mix;
No beggars' eyes the heart of kings transfix;
And who but amorous peers or nobles sigh
When titled beauties pass triumphant by ?
For reason wakes, proud wishes to reprove;
You cannot hope, and therefore dare not love:
All would be safe, did we at first inquire,
Does reason sanction what our hearts desire ?'
But quitting precept, let example show
What joys from love uncheck'd by prudence flow.
"A youth my father in his office placed,
Of humble fortune, but with sense and taste;
But he was thin and pale, had downcast looks;
He studied much, and pored upon his books:
Confused he was when seen, and, when he saw
Me or my sisters, would in haste withdraw;
And had this youth departed with the year,
His loss had cost us neither sigh nor tear.
"But with my father still the youth remain'd,
And more reward and kinder notice gain'd:
He often, reading, to the garden stray'd,
Where I by books or musing was delay'd;
This to discourse in summer evenings led,
Of these same evenings, or of what we read:
On such occasions we were much alone;
But, save the look, the manner, and the tone,
(These might have meaning,) all that we discuss'd
We could with pleasure to a parent trust.
"At length 'twas friendship; and my friend and I
Said we were happy, and began to sigh:
My sisters first, and then my father, found
That we were wandering o'er enchanted ground;
But he had troubles in his own affairs,
And would not bear addition to his cares:
With pity moved, yet angry, Child,' said he,
Will you embrace contempt and beggary?
Can you endure to see each other cursed
By want, of every human wo the worst?
Warring for ever with distress, in dread
Either of begging or of wanting bread;
While poverty, with unrelenting force,
Will your own offspring from your love divorce:
They, through your folly, must be doom'd to pine,
And you deplore your passion, or resign;
For, if it die, what good will then remain ?
And if it live, it doubles every pain." "
"But you were true," exclaim'd the lass," and fled The tyrant's power who fill'd your soul with dread?" "But," said the smiling friend, "he fill'd my mouth with bread :
Our dying hopes and stronger fears between,
We felt no season peaceful or serene;
Our fleeting joys, like meteors in the night,
Shone on our gloom with inauspicious light;
And then domestic sorrows, till the mind,
Worn with distresses, to despair inclined;
Add too the ill that from the passion flows,
When its contemptuous frown the world bestows,
The peevish spirit caused by long delay,
When being gloomy we contemn the gay,
When, being wretched, we incline to hate
And censure others in a happier state;
Yet loving still, and still compell'd to move
In the sad labyrinth of lingering love:
While you, exempt from want, despair, alarm,
May wed-O! take the farmer and the farm."
"Nay," said the nymph, "joy smiled on you at
"Smiled for a moment," she replied, “and pass'd
My lover still the same dull means pursued,
Assistant call'd, but kept in servitude;
His spirits wearied in the prime of life,
By fears and wishes in eternal strife;
At length he urged impatient, Now consent;
With thee united, fortune may relent.'
I paused, consenting; but a friend arose,
Pleased a fair view, though distant, to disclose;
From the rough ocean we beheld a gleam
Of joy, as transient as the joys we dream;
By lying hopes deceived, my friend retired,
And sail'd-was wounded-reach'd us-and
You shall behold his grave, and when I die,
There-but 'tis folly-I request to lie."
"Thus," said the lass," to joy you bade adieu.
But how a widow ?-that cannot be true:
Or was it force, in some unhappy hour,
That placed you, grieving, in a tyrant's power?"
"Force, my young friend, when forty years are
Is what a woman seldom has to dread;
She needs no brazen locks nor guarding walls,
And seldom comes a lover though she calls:
Yet moved by fancy, one approved my face,
Though time and tears had wrought it much dis-
And in what other place that bread to gain
We long consider'd, and we sought in vain:
This was my twentieth year: at thirty-five
Our hope was fainter, yet our love alive;
So many years in anxious doubt had pass'd."
"Then," said the damsel, “you were bless'd at last?"
A smile again adorn'd the widow's face,
But soon a starting tear usurp'd its place.
"The man I married was sedate and meek, And spoke of love as men in earnest speak:
A heart in sorrow and a face in tears;
That heart I gave not; and 'twas long before
I gave attention, and then nothing more;
But in my breast some grateful feeling rose
For one whose love so sad a subject chose;
Till long delaying, fearing to repent,
But grateful still, I gave a cold assent.
"Slow pass'd the heavy years, and each had more Poor as I was, he ceaseless sought, for years,
Pains and vexations than the years before
My father fail'd; his family was rent,
And to new states his grieving daughters sent;
Each to more thriving kindred found a way,
Guests without welcome-servants without pay;
Our parting hour was grievous; still I feel
The sad, sweet converse at our final meal;
Our father then reveal'd his former fears,
Cause of his sternness, and then join'd our tears;
Kindly he strove our feelings to repress,
But died, and left us heirs to his distress
The rich, as humble friends, my sisters chose,
I with a wealthy widow sought repose;
Who with a chilling frown her friend received
Bade me rejoice, and wonder'd that I grieved;
In vain my anxious lover tried his skill
To rise in life, he was dependent still;
We met in grief, nor can I paint the fears
Of these unhappy, troubled, trying years;
"Thus we were wed; no fault had I to find.
And he but one; my heart could not be kind :
Alas! of every early hope bereft,
There was no fondness in my bosom left;
So had I told him, but had told in vain,
He lived but to indulge me and complain :
His was this cottage, he enclosed this ground,
And planted all these blooming shrubs around;
He to my room these curious trifles brought,
And with assiduous love my pleasure sought:
He lived to please me, and I ofttimes strove,
Smiling, to thank his unrequited love:
Teach me,' he cried, that pensive mind to ease, For all my pleasure is the hope to please.'
Serene, though heavy, were the days we spent, Yet kind each word, and generous each intent; But his dejection lessen'd every day,
And to a placid kindness died away ;
In tranquil ease we pass'd our latter years,
By griefs untroubled, unassail'd by fears.
Let not romantic views your bosom sway,
Yield to your duties, and their call obey:
Fly not a youth, frank, honest, and sincere;
Observe his merits, and his passion hear!
"Tis true, no hero, but a farmer sues-
Slow in his speech, but worthy in his views;
With him you cannot that affliction prove
That rends the bosom of the poor in love:
Health, comfort, competence, and cheerful days,
Your friends' approval, and your father's praise,
Will crown the deed, and you escape their fate
Who plan so wildly, and are wise too late."
The damsel heard; at first th' advice was strange,
Yet wrought a happy, nay, a speedy change : 'I have no care," she said, when next they met,
But one may wonder he is silent yet:
He looks around him with his usual stare,
And utters nothing-not that I shall care."
This pettish humour pleased th' experienced friend
None need despair whose silence can offend;
Should I," resumed the thoughtful lass, " consent To hear the man, the man may now repent: Think you my sighs shall call him from the plough, Or give one hint, that You may woo me now?'"
Persist, my love," replied the friend, "and gain
A parent's praise, that cannot be in vain."
The father saw the change, but not the cause, And gave the alter'd maid his fond applause : The coarser manners she in part removed, In part endured, improving and improved; She spoke of household works, she rose betimes, And said neglect and indolence were crimes; The various duties of their life she weigh'd, And strict attention to her dairy paid; The names of servants now familiar grew And fair Lucindas from her mind withdrew : As prudent travellers for their ease assume Their modes and language to whose lands they
So to the farmer this fair lass inclined,
Gave to the business of the farm her mind;
To useful arts she turn'd her hand and eye;
And by her manners told him-" You may try."
Th' observing lover more attention paid,
With growing pleasure, to the alter'd maid;
He fear'd to lose her, and began to see
That a slim beauty might a helpmate be:
"Twixt hope and fear he now the lass address'd,
And in his Sunday robe his love express'd :
She felt no chilling dread, no thrilling joy,
Nor was too quickly kind, too slowly coy;
But still she lent an unreluctant ear
To all the rural business of the year;
Till love's strong hopes endured no more delay,
And Harry ask'd, and Nancy named the day.
"A happy change! my boy," the father cried : "How lost your sister all her school-day pride?"
The youth replied, "It is the widow's deed:
The cure is perfect, and was wrought with
'And comes there, boy, this benefit of books,
Of that smart dress, and of those dainty looks?
We must be kind; some offerings from the farm
To the white cot will speak our feelings warm;
Will show that people, when they know the fact,
Where they have judged severely, can retract.
Oft have I smiled, when I beheld her pass
With cautious step, as if she hurt the grass;
Where if a snail's retreat she chanced to storm,
She look'd as begging pardon of the worm;
And what, said I, still laughing at the view,
Have these weak creatures in the world to do?
But some are made for action, some to speak;
And, while she looks so pitiful and meek,
Her words are weighty, though her nerves are
THERE was a worthy, but a simple pair,
Who nursed a daughter fairest of the fair:
Sons they had lost, and she alone remain'd,
Heir to the kindness they had all obtain'd;
Heir to the fortune they design'd for all,
Nor had th' allotted portion then been small;
But now, by fate enrich'd with beauty rare,
They watch'd their treasure with peculiar care :
The fairest features they could early trace,
And, blind with love, saw merit in her face-
Saw virtue, wisdom, dignity, and grace:
And Dorothea, from her infant years,
Gain'd all her wishes from their pride or fears:
She wrote a billet, and a novel read,
And with her fame her vanity was fed;
Each word, each look, each action was a cause
For flattering wonder, and for fond applause;
She rode or danced, and ever glanced around,
Secking for praise, and smiling when she found.
The yielding pair to her petitions gave
An humble friend to be a civil slave;
Who for a poor support herself resign'd,
To the base toil of a dependent mind:
By nature cold, our heiress stoop'd to art,
To gain the credit of a tender heart.
Hence at her door must suppliant paupers stand,
To bless the bounty of her beauteous hand :
And now her education all complete,
She talk'd of virtuous love and union sweet;
She was indeed by no soft passion moved,
But wish'd, with all her soul, to be beloved.
Here on the favour'd beauty fortune smiled;
Her chosen husband was a man so mild,
So humbly temper'd, so intent to please,
It quite distress'd her to remain at ease,
Without a cause to sigh, without pretence to tease:
She tried his patience in a thousand modes,
And tired it not upon the roughest roads.
Pleasures she sought, and, disappointed, sigh'd
For joys, she said, “to her alone denied ;
And she was "sure her parents, if alive,
Would many comforts for their child contrive."
The gentle husband bade her name him one ;
"No-that," she answer'd, "should for her be
How could she say what pleasures were around?
But she was certain many might be found."—
"Would she some sea-port, Weymouth, Scarbo-
"He knew she hated every watering place."-
“The town ?”—“What! now 'twas empty, joyless,
She talk'd of building-“ Would she plan a room?"
No! she could live, as he desired, in gloom."
"Call then our friends and neighbours."-" He
And felt in every bosom but her own.
The one presiding feature in her mind,
Was the pure meekness of a will resign'd;
A tender spirit, freed from all pretence
Of wit, and pleased in mild benevolence;
Bless'd in protecting fondness she reposed,
With every wish indulged though undisclosed;
-In winter?"-" No; she liked it worse when But love, like zephyr on the limpid lake,
Was now the bosom of the maid to shake,
And in that gentle mind a gentle strife to make.
Among their chosen friends, a favour'd few,
The aunt and niece a youthful rector knew;
Who, though a younger brother, might address
A younger sister, fearless of success :
His friends a lofty race, their native pride
At first display'd, and their assent denied ;
But, pleased such virtues and such love to trace,
They own'd she would adorn the loftiest race.
The aunt, a mother's caution to supply,
Had watch'd the youthful priest with jealous eye;
And, anxious for her charge, had view'd unseen
The cautious life that keeps the conscience clean:
In all she found him all she wish'd to find,
With slight exception of a lofty mind;
A certain manner that express'd desire
To be received as brother to the 'squire.
Lucy's meek eye had beam'd with many a tear,
Lucy's soft heart had beat with many a fear,
Before he told (although his looks, she thought,
Had oft confess'd) that he her favour sought:
But when he kneel'd, (she wish'd him not to kneel.)
And spoke the fears and hopes that lovers feel;
When too the prudent aunt herself confess'd,
Her wishes on the gentle youth would rest;
The maiden's eye with tender passion beam'd,
She dwelt with fondness on the life she schemed ;
The household cares, the soft and lasting ties
Of love, with all his binding charities;
Their village taught, consoled, assisted, fed,
Till the young zealot tears of pleasure shed.
But would her mother? Ah! she fear'd it wrong
To have indulged these forward hopes so long;
And they might come and fill his ugly hall;
A noisy vulgar set, he knew she scorn'd them all."
"Then might their two dear girls their time em-
And their improvement yield a solid joy."—
• Solid indeed! and heavy-O! the bliss
Of teaching letters to a lisping miss!"-
"My dear, my gentle Dorothea, say,
Can I oblige you?"-" You may go away.'
Twelve heavy years this patient soul sustain'd
This wasp's attacks, and then her praise obtain'd,
Graved on a marble tomb, where he at peace
Two daughters wept their loss; the one a child
With a plain face, strong sense, and temper mild,
Who keenly felt the mother's angry taunt,
“Thou art the image of thy pious aunt."
Long time had Lucy wept her slighted face,
And then began to smile at her disgrace.
Her father's sister who the world had seen
Near sixty years when Lucy saw sixteen,
Begg'd the plain girl: the gracious mother smiled,
And freely gave her grieved but passive child;
nd with her elder born, the beauty bless'd,
This parent rested, if such minds can rest:
No miss her waxen babe could so admire,
Nurse with such care, or with such pride attire ;
They were companions meet, with equal mind,
Bless'd with one love, and to one point inclined;
Beauty to keep, adorn, increase, and guard,
Was their sole care, and had its full reward:
In rising splendour with the one it reign'd,
And in the other was by care sustain'd,
The daughter's charms increased, the parent's yet
Leave we these ladies to their daily care,
To see how meekness and discretion fare:-
A village maid, unvex'd by want or love,
Could not with more delight than Lucy move;
The village lark, high mounted in the spring,
Could not with purer joy than Lucy sing;
Her cares all light, her pleasures all sincere,
Her duty joy, and her companion dear;
In tender friendship and in true respect
Lived aunt and niece, no flattery, no neglect-
They read, walk'd, visited-together pray'd,
Together slept the matron and the maid :
There was such goodness, such pure nature seen
In Lucy's looks, a manner so serene ;
Such harmony in motion, speech, and air,
That without fairness she was more than fair:
Had more than beauty in each speaking grace
That lent their cloudless glory to the face;
Where mild good sense in placid looks were
Her mother loved, but was not used to grant
Favours so freely as her gentle aunt.-
Her gentle aunt, with smiles that angels wear,
Dispell'd her Lucy's apprehensive tear :
Her prudent foresight the request had made
To one whom none could govern, few persuade;
She doubted much if one in earnest wooed
A girl with not a single charm endued;
The sister's nobler views she then declared,
And what small sum for Lucy could be spared;
"If more than this the foolish priest requires,
Tell him," she wrote, "to check his vain desires."
At length, with many a cold expression mix'd,
With many a sneer on girls so fondly fix'd,
There came a promise-should they not repent,
But take with grateful minds the portion meant,
And wait the sister's day-the mother might con-
And here, might pitying hope o'er truth prevail, Or love o'er fortune, we would end our tale: For who more bless'd than youthful pair removed From fear of want-by mutual friends approvedShort time to wait, and in that time to live With all the pleasures hope and fancy give; Their equal passion raised on just esteem, When reason sanctions all that love can dream? Yes! reason sanctions what stern fate denies : The early prospect in the glory dies, As the soft smiles on dying infants play In their mild features, and then pass away.
The beauty died, ere she could yield her hand In the high marriage by the mother plann'd: Who grieved indeed, but found a vast relief In a cold heart, that ever warr'd with grief.
Lucy was present when her sister died, Heiress to duties that she ill supplied: There were no mutual feelings, sister arts, No kindred taste, nor intercourse of hearts; When in the mirror play'd the matron's smile, The maiden's thoughts were travelling all the
And when desired to speak, she sigh'd to find
Her pause offended; "Envy made her blind :
Tasteless she was, nor had a claim in life
Above the station of a rector's wife;
Yet as an heiress, she must shun disgrace,
Although no heiress to her mother's face:
It is your duty," said th' imperious dame,
("Advanced your fortune,) to advance your name,
And with superior rank, superior offers claim:
Your sister's lover, when his sorrows die,
May look upon you, and for favour sigh
Nor can you offer a reluctant hand;
His birth is noble, and his seat is grand."
Alarm'd was Lucy, was in tears; "A fool! Was she a child in love? a miss at school? Doubts any mortal, if a change of state Dissolves all claims and ties of earlier date?"
The rector doubted, for he came to mourn A sister dead, and with a wife return: Lucy with heart unchanged received the youth, True in herself, confiding in his truth; But own'd her mother's change: the haughty dame Pour'd strong contempt upon the youthful flame; She firmly vow'd her purpose to pursue, Judged her own cause, and bade the youth adieu! The lover begg'd, insisted, urged his pain, His brother wrote to threaten and complain,
Her sister, reasoning, proved the promise made,
Lucy appealing to a parent pray'd;
But all opposed th' event that she design'd,
And all in vain; she never changed her mind,
But coldly answer'd in her wonted way,
That she "would rule, and Lucy must obey."
With peevish fear, she saw her health decline, And cried, "O! monstrous, for a man to pine; But if your foolish heart must yield to love, Let him possess it whom I now approve; This is my pleasure."-Still the rector came With larger offers and with bolder claim; But the stern lady would attend no more; She frown'd, and rudely pointed to the door; Whate'er he wrote, he saw unread return'd, And he, indignant, the dishonour spurn'd; Nay, fix'd suspicion where he might confide, And sacrificed his passion to his pride.
Lucy, meantime, though threaten'd and distress'd, Against her marriage made a strong protest: All was domestic war: the aunt rebell'd Against the sovereign will, and was expell'd; And every power was tried, and every art, To bend to falsehood one determined heart; Assail'd, in patience it received the shock, Soft as the wave, unshaken as the rock: But while th' unconquer'd soul endures the storm Of angry fate, it preys upon the form; With conscious virtue she resisted still,
And conscious love gave vigour to her will:
But Lucy's trial was at hand; with joy
The mother cried, "Behold your constant boy-
Thursday-was married: take the paper, sweet,
And read the conduct of your reverend cheat;
See with what pomp of coaches, in what crowd
The creature married-of his falsehood proud!
False, did I say?—at least no whining fool;
And thus will hopeless passions ever cool :
But shall his bride your single state reproach?
No! give him crowd for crowd, and coach for
O! you retire; reflect then, gentle miss,
And gain some spirit in a cause like this."
Some spirit Lucy gain'd; a steady soul,
Defying all persuasion, all control:
In vain reproach, derision, threats were tried;
The constant mind all outward force defied,
By vengeance vainly urged, in vain assail'd by
Fix'd in her purpose, perfect in her part,
She felt the courage of a wounded heart;
The world receded from her rising view,
When Heaven approach'd as earthly things with-
Not strange before, for in the days of love,
Joy, hope, and pleasure, she had thoughts above;
Pious when most of worldly prospects fond,
When they best pleased her she could look beyond;
Had the young priest a faithful lover died,
Something had been her bosom to divide ;
Now Heaven had all, for in her holiest views
She saw the matron whom she fear'd to lose ;
While from her parent, the dejected maid
Forced the unpleasant thought, or thinking pray'd.
Surprised, the mother saw the languid frame,
And felt indignant, yet forbore to blame :
Once with a frown she cried, " And do you mean
To die of love-the folly of fifteen ?"