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TALE IV.

PROCRASTINATION.

Heaven witness

I have been to you ever true and humble. - Henry VIII.

Gentle lady,

When I did first impart my love to you,

I freely told you all the wealth I had. - Merchant of Venice.

The fatal time

Cuts off all ceremonies and vows of love,

And ample interchange of sweet discourse,
Which so long sunder'd friends should dwell upon.

I know thee not, old man; fall to thy prayers. - Henry IV.

Farewell,

Thou pure impiety, thou impious purity,
For thee I'll lock up all the gates of love.

Richard III.

Much Ado about Nothing.

TALE IV.

PROCRASTINATION. (1)

LOVE will expire-the gay, the happy dream
Will turn to scorn, indifference, or esteem:
Some favour'd pairs, in this exchange, are blest,
Nor sigh for raptures in a state of rest;
Others, ill match'd, with minds unpair'd, repent
At once the deed, and know no more content;
From joy to anguish they, in haste, decline,
And, with their fondness, their esteem resign;
More luckless still their fate, who are the prey
Of long-protracted hope and dull delay :
'Mid plans of bliss the heavy hours pass on,
Till love is wither'd, and till joy is gone.

This gentle flame two youthful hearts possess'd, The sweet disturber of unenvied rest: The prudent Dinah was the maid beloved, And the kind Rupert was the swain approved :

(1) [Mr. Crabbe's sons have no doubt but that their mother's residence, at one time, with her rich old aunt, who was very partial to her, and abounded in trinkets, suggested this supposition.]

A wealthy Aunt her gentle niece sustain'd,
He, with a father, at his desk remain'd;
The youthful couple, to their vows sincere,
Thus loved expectant; year succeeding year,
With pleasant views and hopes, but not a prospect

near.

Rupert some comfort in his station saw,

But the poor virgin lived in dread and awe;
Upon her anxious looks the widow smiled,
And bade her wait, "for she was yet a child."
She for her neighbour had a due respect,
Nor would his son encourage or reject;
And thus the pair, with expectations vain,
Beheld the seasons change and change again :
Meantime the nymph her tender tales perused,
Where cruel aunts impatient girls refused:
While hers, though teasing, boasted to be kind,
And she, resenting, to be all resign'd.

The dame was sick, and when the youth applied For her consent, she groan'd, and cough'd and cried, Talk'd of departing, and again her breath Drew hard, and cough'd, and talk'd again of death: "Here you may live, my Dinah! here the boy "And you together my estate enjoy:" Thus to the lovers was her mind express'd, Till they forbore to urge the fond request.

Servant, and nurse, and comforter, and friend, Dinah had still some duty to attend;

But yet their walk, when Rupert's evening call
Obtain'd an hour, made sweet amends for all;

So long they now each other's thoughts had known,
That nothing seem'd exclusively their own:
But with the common wish, the mutual fear,
They now had travell❜d to their thirtieth year.

At length a prospect open'd- but alas ! Long time must yet, before the union, pass: Rupert was call'd, in other clime, t' increase Another's wealth, and toil for future peace. Loth were the lovers; but the aunt declared 'Twas fortune's call, and they must be prepared: "You now are young, and for this brief delay, "And Dinah's care, what I bequeath will pay; "All will be yours; nay, love, suppress that sigh; "The kind must suffer, and the best must die:' Then came the cough, and strong the signs it gave Of holding long contention with the grave.

99

The lovers parted with a gloomy view, And little comfort, but that both were true; He for uncertain duties doom'd to steer, While hers remain'd too certain and severe.

Letters arrived, and Rupert fairly told "His cares were many, and his hopes were cold: "The view more clouded, that was never fair, "And love alone preserved him from despair: In other letters brighter hopes he drew, "His friends were kind, and he believed them true."

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When the sage widow Dinah's grief descried, She wonder'd much why one so happy sigh'd:

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