Counter and Clubb were men in trade, whose pains,
Credit, and prudence, brought them constant gains;
Partners and punctual, every friend agreed
Counter and Clubb were men who must succeed.
When they had fix’d some little time in life,
Each thought of taking to himself a wife:
As men in trade alike, as men in love,
They seem’d with no according views to move;
As certain ores in outward view the same,
They show’d their difference when the magnet came.
Counter was vain: with spirit strong and high,
’Twas not in him like suppliant swain to sigh:
“His wife might o’er his men and maids preside,
And in her province be a judge and guide;
But what he thought, or did, or wish’d to do,
She must not know, or censure if she knew;
At home, abroad, by day, by night, if he
On aught determined, so it was to be:
How is a man,” he ask’d, “for business fit,
Who to a female can his will submit?
Absent a while, let no inquiring eye
Or plainer speech presume to question why:
But all be silent; and, when seen again,
Let all be cheerful—shall a wife complain?
Friends I invite, and who shall dare t’object,
Or look on them with coolness or neglect?
No! I must ever of my house be head,
And, thus obey’d, I condescend to wed.”
Clubb heard the speech—“My friend is nice, said he;
A wife with less respect will do for me:
How is he certain such a prize to gain?
What he approves, a lass may learn to feign,
And so affect t’obey till she begins to reign;
A while complying, she may vary then,
And be as wives of more unwary men;
Beside, to him who plays such lordly part,
How shall a tender creature yield her heart;
Should he the promised confidence refuse,
She may another more confiding choose;
May show her anger, yet her purpose hide,
And wake his jealousy, and wound his pride.
In one so humbled, who can trace the friend?
I on an equal, not a slave, depend;
If true, my confidence is wisely placed,
And being false, she only is disgraced.”
Clubb, with these notions, cast his eye around;
And one so easy soon a partner found.
The lady chosen was of good repute;
Meekness she had not, and was seldom mute;
Though quick to anger, still she loved to smile,
And would be calm if men would wait a while:
She knew her duty, and she loved her way,
More pleased in truth to govern than obey;
She heard her priest with reverence, and her spouse
As one who felt the pressure of her vows;
Useful and civil, all her friends confess’d —
Give her her way, and she would choose the best;
Though some indeed a sly remark would make —
Give it her not, and she would choose to take.
All this, when Clubb some cheerful months had spent,
He saw, confess’d, and said he was content.
Counter meantime selected, doubted,