An author who has given you all delight,
Furnish’d the tale our stage presents to-night.
Some of our earliest tears He taught to steal
Down our young cheeks, and forc’d us first to feel.
To solitary shores whole years confin’d,
Who has not read how pensive Crusoe pin’d?
Who, now grown old, that did not once admire
His goat, his parrot, his uncouth attire,
The stick, due-notch’d, that told each tedious day
That in the lonely island wore away?
Who has not shudder’d, where he stands aghast
At sight of human footsteps in the waste?
Or joy’d not, when his trembling hands unbind
Thee, Friday, gentlest of the savage kind?
The genius who conceiv’d that magic tale
Was skill’d by native pathos to prevail.
His stories, though rough-drawn, and fram’d in haste,
Had that which pleas’d our homely grandsires’ taste.
His was a various pen, that freely rov’d
Into all subjects, was in most approv’d.
Whate’er the theme, his ready Muse obey’d—
Love, courtship, politics, religion, trade—
Gifted alike to shine in every sphere,
Nov’list, historian, poet, pamphleteer.
In some blest interval of party-strife,
He drew a striking sketch from private life,
Whose moving scenes of intricate distress
We try to-night in a dramatic dress:
A real story of domestic woe,
That asks no aid from music, verse, or show,
But trusts to truth, to nature, and Defoe.
Bound for the port of matrimonial
Ere I hoist sail, I hold it not amiss,
(Since prosp’rous ends ask prudent introductions)
To take a slight peep at my written instructions.
There’s nothing like determining in time
All questions marital or maritime.
In all seas, straits, gulphs,
ports, havens, lands, creeks.
Oh! Here it begins.
“Season, spring, wind standing at point Desire—
The good ship Matrimony—Commander. Blanford, Esq.
that has the command of her,
Or in his absence, the acting officer,
To see her planks are sound, her timbers tight.”—
That acting officer I don’t relish quite,
No, as I hope to tack another verse on,
I’ll do those duties in my proper person.
to be suppress’d at first.”
That’s a good caution to prevent the worst.
be properly victual’d, mann’d and stor’d,
To see no foreigners are got aboard.”
That’s rather difficult. Do what we can,
A vessel sometimes may mistake her man.
The safest way in such a parlous doubt,
Is steady watch and keep a sharp look out.