Let me to those of greater weight proceed:
Thy father!”—“Nay,” she quickly interposed,
“Good doctor, here our conference is closed!”
Then left the Youth, who, lost in his retreat,
Pass’d the good matron on her garden-seat;
His looks were troubled, and his air, once mild
And calm, was hurried: —“My audacious child!”
Exclaim’d the dame, “I read what she has done
In thy displeasure—Ah! the thoughtless one:
But yet, Josiah, to my stern good man
Speak of the maid as mildly as you can:
Can you not seem to woo a little while
The daughter’s will, the father to beguile?
So that his wrath in time may wear away;
Will you preserve our peace, Josiah? say.”
“Yes! my good neighbour,” said the gentle youth,
“Rely securely on my care and truth;
And should thy comfort with my efforts cease,
And only then,—perpetual is thy peace.”
The dame had doubts: she well his virtues knew,
His deeds were friendly, and his words were true:
“But to address this vixen is a task
He is ashamed to take, and I to ask.”
Soon as the father from Josiah learn’d
What pass’d with Sybil, he the truth discern’d.
“He loves,” the man exclaim’d, “he loves, ’tis plain,
The thoughtless girl, and shall he love in vain?
She may be stubborn, but she shall be tried,
Born as she is of wilfulness and pride.”
With anger fraught, but willing to persuade,
The wrathful father met the smiling maid:
“Sybil,” said he, “I long, and yet I dread
To know thy conduct—hath Josiah fled?
And, grieved and fretted by thy scornful air,
For his lost peace, betaken him to prayer?
Couldst thou his pure and modest mind distress
By vile remarks upon his speech, address,
Attire, and voice?”—“All this I must confess.”
“Unhappy child! what labour will it cost
To win him back!”—“I do not think him lost.”
“Courts he then (trifler!) insult and disdain?” —
“No; but from these he courts me to refrain.”
“Then hear me, Sybil: should Josiah leave
Thy father’s house?”—“My father’s child would grieve.”
“That is of grace, and if he come again
To speak of love?”—“I might from grief refrain.”
“Then wilt thou, daughter, our design embrace?” —
“Can I resist it, if it be of Grace?”
“Dear child in three plain words thy mind express:
Wilt thou have this good youth?”—“Dear Father! yes.”
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.
Shakespeare, Midsummer Night’s Dream.