The Parish Register eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 65 pages of information about The Parish Register.
And timid voice assumed to banish fear:  —
“Hope of my life, dear sovereign of my breast,
Which, since I knew thee, knows not joy nor rest;
Know, thou art all that my delighted eyes,
My fondest thoughts, my proudest wishes prize;
And is that bosom—­(what on earth so fair!)
To cradle some coarse peasant’s sprawling heir,
To be that pillow which some surly swain
May treat with scorn and agonise with pain? 
Art thou, sweet maid, a ploughman’s wants to share,
To dread his insult, to support his care;
To hear his follies, his contempt to prove,
And (oh! the torment!) to endure his love;
Till want and deep regret those charms destroy,
That time would spare, if time were pass’d in joy? 
With him, in varied pains, from morn till night,
Your hours shall pass; yourself a ruffian’s right;
Your softest bed shall be the knotted wool;
Your purest drink the waters of the pool;
Your sweetest food will but your life sustain,
And your best pleasure be a rest from pain;
While, through each year, as health and strength abate,
You’ll weep your woes and wonder at your fate;
And cry, ‘Behold,’ as life’s last cares come on,
‘My burthens growing when my strength is gone.’ 
   “Now turn with me, and all the young desire,
That taste can form, that fancy can require;
All that excites enjoyment, or procures
Wealth, health, respect, delight, and love, are yours: 
Sparkling, in cups of gold, your wines shall flow,
Grace that fair hand, in that dear bosom glow;
Fruits of each clime, and flowers, through all the year
Shall on your walls and in your walks appear: 
Where all beholding, shall your praise repeat,
No fruit so tempting and no flower so sweet: 
The softest carpets in your rooms shall lie,
Pictures of happiest love shall meet your eye,
And tallest mirrors, reaching to the floor,
Shall show you all the object I adore;
Who, by the hands of wealth and fashion dress’d,
By slaves attended and by friends caress’d,
Shall move, a wonder, through the public ways,
And hear the whispers of adoring praise. 
Your female friends, though gayest of the gay,
Shall see you happy, and shall, sighing, say,
While smother’d envy rises in the breast, —
‘Oh! that we lived so beauteous and so blest!’
   “Come, then, my mistress, and my wife; for she
Who trusts my honour is the wife for me;
Your slave, your husband, and your friend employ
In search of pleasures we may both enjoy.” 
   To this the Damsel, meekly firm, replied: 
“My mother loved, was married, toil’d, and died;
With joys she’d griefs, had troubles in her course,
But not one grief was pointed by remorse: 
My mind is fix’d, to Heaven I resign,
And be her love, her life, her comforts mine.” 
   Tyrants have wept; and those with hearts of steel,
Unused the anguish of the heart to heal,
Have yet the transient power of virtue known,
And felt th’ imparted joy promote their own. 
   Our Knight relenting, now befriends a youth,
Who to the yielding maid had vow’d his truth;
And finds in that fair deed a sacred joy,
That will not perish, and that cannot cloy; —
A living joy, that shall its spirits keep,
When every beauty fades, and all the passions sleep.

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
The Parish Register from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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