« ForrigeFortsett »
With a fond, teasing, anxious wife, afraid
Of all attention to another paid;
Yet powerless she her husband to amuse,
Lives but t' entreat, implore, resent, accuse;
Jealous and tender, conscious of defects,
She merits little, and yet much expects;
She looks for love that now she cannot see,
And sighs for joy that never more can be;
On his retirements her complaints intrude,
And fond reproof endears his solitude :
While he her weakness (once her kindness) sees,
And his affections in her languor freeze;
Regret, uncheck'd by hope, devours his mind,
He feels unhappy, and he grows unkind.
“ Fool! to be taken by a rosy cheek, “ And eyes that cease to sparkle or to speak; “ Fool! for this child my freedom to resign, “ When one the glory of her sex was mine; “ While from this burthen to my soul I hide, “ To think what Fate has dealt, and what denied.
“ What fiend possess’d me when I tainely gave “ My forced assent to be an idiot's slave? “ Her beauty vanish’d, what for me remains ? “ Th' eternal clicking of the galling chains :
“ Her person truly I may think my own, “ Seen without pleasure, without triumph shown: “ Doleful she sits, her children at her knees, “ And gives up all her feeble powers to please; “ Whom I, unmoved, or moved with scorn, behold,
Melting as ice, as vapid and as cold."
Such was his fate, and he must yet endure
The self-contempt that no self-love can cure:
Some business call d him to a wealthy town
When unprepared for more than Fortune's frown;
There at a house he gave his luckless name,
The master absent, and Cecilia came;
Unhappy man! he could not, dared not speak,
But look'd around, as if retreat to seek:
This she allow'd not; but, with brow severe,
Ask'd him his business, sternly bent to hear ;
He had no courage, but he view'd that face
As if he sought for sympathy and grace;
As if some kind returning thought to trace:
In vain ; not long he waited, but with air,
That of all grace compell’d him to despair,
the bell, and, when a servant came, Left the repentant traitor to his shame; But, going, spoke, “ Attend this person out, “ And if he speaks, hear what he comes about!".
Then, with cool curtesy, from the room withdrew, That seem'd to say, “ Unhappy man, adieu!"
Thus will it be when man permits a vice
First to invade his hea and then entice;
When wishes vain and undefined arise,
And that weak heart deceive, seduce, surprise ;
When evil Fortune works on Folly's side,
And rash Resentment adds a spur to Pride;
Then life's long troubles from those actions come,
In which a moment may decide our doom.