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TALE VII.

THE WIDOW'S TALE.

Ah me! for aught that I could ever read,

Or ever hear by tale or history,

The course of true love never did run smooth;
But either it was different in blood,

Or else misgrafted in respect of years,

Or else it stood upon the choice of friends;
Or, if there were a sympathy in choice,
War, death, or sickness did lay siege to it.

Midsummer Night's Dream.

Oh! thou didst then ne'er love so heartily,
If thou rememberest not the slightest folly

That ever love did make thee run into. — As You Like It.

Cry the man mercy; love him, take his offer. - As You Like It.

TALE VII.

THE WIDOW'S TALE.

To Farmer Moss, in Langar Vale, came down,
His only Daughter, from her school in town;
A tender, timid maid! who knew not how
To pass a pig-sty, or to face a cow:
Smiling she came, with petty talents graced,
A fair complexion, and a slender waist.

Used to spare meals, disposed in manner pure, Her father's kitchen she could ill endure: Where by the steaming beef he hungry sat, And laid at once a pound upon his plate; Hot from the field, her eager brother seized An equal part, and hunger's rage appeased; The air surcharged with moisture, flagg'd around, And the offended damsel sigh'd and frown'd; The swelling fat in lumps conglomerate laid, And fancy's sickness seized the loathing maid: But when the men beside their station took, The maidens with them, and with these the cook:

When one huge wooden bowl before them stood,
Fill'd with huge balls of farinaceous food;
With bacon, mass saline, where never lean
Beneath the brown and bristly rind was seen;
When from a single horn the party drew
Their copious draughts of heavy ale and new;
When the coarse cloth she saw, with many a stain,
Soil'd by rude hinds who cut and came again
She could not breathe; but with a heavy sigh,
Rein'd the fair neck, and shut th' offended eye;
She minced the sanguine flesh in frustums fine,
And wonder'd much to see the creatures dine:
When she resolved her father's heart to move,
If hearts of farmers were alive to love.

She now entreated by herself to sit In the small parlour, if papa thought fit, And there to dine, to read, to work alone: "No!" said the Farmer, in an angry tone; [pride "These are your school-taught airs; your mother's "Would send you there; but I am now your "Arise betimes, our early meal prepare, [guide.— "And, this despatch'd, let business be your care; "Look to the lasses, let there not be one "Who lacks attention, till her tasks be done; "In every household work your portion take, "And what you make not, see that others make: "At leisure times attend the wheel, and see "The whit'ning web be sprinkled on the lea; "When thus employ'd, should our young neighbour view,

"A useful lass, you may have more to do."

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Dreadful were these commands; but worse than these

The parting hinta Farmer could not please:
'Tis true she had without abhorrence seen
Young Harry Carr, when he was smart and clean;
But, to be married-be a farmer's wife
A slave! a drudge! - she could not, for her life.

With swimming eyes the fretful nymph withdrew,
And, deeply sighing, to her chamber flew ;
There on her knees, to Heaven she grieving pray'd
For change of prospect to a tortured maid.

Harry, a youth whose late-departed sire
Had left him all industrious men require,
Saw the pale Beauty,· and her shape and air
Engaged him much, and yet he must forbear:
"For my small farm, what can the damsel do?"
He said, — then stopp'd to take another view:

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Pity so sweet a lass will nothing learn

"Of household cares, for what can beauty earn
By those small arts which they at school attain,
"That keep them useless, and yet make them vain ?"

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This luckless Damsel look'd the village round,
To find a friend, and one was quickly found:
A pensive Widow, whose mild air and dress.
Pleased the sad nymph, who wish'd her soul's distress
To one so seeming kind, confiding, to confess.

"What Lady that?" the anxious lass inquired,
Who then beheld the one she most admired:

VOL. IV.

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