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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 65 pages of information about The Parish Register.
The ditch was deep,—­the rain had caused a flood, —
The foot-bridge fail’d,—­he plunged beneath the deep,
And slept, if truth were his, th’eternal sleep. 
These have we named; on life’s rough sea they sail,
With many a prosperous, many an adverse gale! 
Where passion soon, like powerful winds, will rage,
And prudence, wearied, with their strength engage: 
Then each, in aid, shall some companion ask,
For help or comfort in the tedious task;
And what that help—­what joys from union flow,
What good or ill, we next prepare to show;
And row, meantime, our weary bark to shore,
As Spenser his—­but not with Spenser’s oar. {2}

PART II.

Nubere si qua voles, quamvis properabitis ambo,
Differ; habent parvae commoda magna morae. 
                          Ovid, Fasti, lib.iii.

Marriages.

Previous Consideration necessary:  yet not too long Delay—­Imprudent Marriage of old Kirk and his Servant—­Comparison between an ancient and youthful Partner to a young Man—­Prudence of Donald the Gardener—­Parish Wedding:  the compelled Bridegroom:  Day of Marriage, how spent—­Relation of the Accomplishments of Phoebe Dawson, a rustic Beauty:  her Lover:  his Courtship:  their Marriage—­Misery of Precipitation—­The wealthy Couple:  Reluctance in the Husband; why?—­Unusually fair Signatures in the Register:  the common Kind—­Seduction of Lucy Collins by Footman Daniel:  her rustic Lover:  her Return to him—­An ancient Couple:  Comparisons on the Occasion—­More pleasant View of Village Matrimony:  Farmers celebrating the Day of Marriage:  their Wives—­Reuben and Rachael, a happy Pair:  an example of prudent Delay—­Reflections on their State who were not so prudent, and its Improvement towards the Termination of Life:  an old Man so circumstanced—­Attempt to seduce a Village Beauty:  Persuasion and Reply:  the Event.

Disposed to wed, e’en while you hasten, stay;
There’s great advantage in a small delay: 
Thus Ovid sang, and much the wise approve
This prudent maxim of the priest of Love;
If poor, delay for future want prepares,
And eases humble life of half its cares;
If rich, delay shall brace the thoughtful mind,
T’endure the ills that e’en the happiest find: 
Delay shall knowledge yield on either part,
And show the value of the vanquish’d heart;
The humours, passions, merits, failings prove,
And gently raise the veil that’s worn by Love;
Love, that impatient guide!—­too proud to think
Of vulgar wants, of clothing, meat, and drink,
Urges our amorous swains their joys to seize,
And then, at rags and hunger frighten’d, flees: 
Yet not too long in cold debate remain;
Till age refrain not—­but if old, refrain. 
   By no such rule would Gaffer Kirk be tried;
First in the year he led a blooming bride,
And stood a wither’d elder at her side. 

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