Tales eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 328 pages of information about Tales.
   Let us proceed:  —­Twelve brilliant years were past,
Yet each with less of glory than the last. 
Whether these years to this fair virgin gave
A softer mind—­effect they often have;
Whether the virgin-state was not so bless’d
As that good maiden in her zeal profess’d;
Or whether lovers falling from her train,
Gave greater price to those she could retain,
Is all unknown;—­but Arabella now
Was kindly listening to a Merchant’s vow,
Who offer’d terms so fair, against his love
To strive was folly, so she never strove. —
Man in his earlier days we often find
With a too easy and unguarded mind;
But by increasing years and prudence taught,
He grows reserved, and locks up every thought: 
Not thus the maiden, for in blooming youth
She hides her thought and guards the tender truth: 
This, when no longer young, no more she hides,
But frankly in the favour’d swain confides: 
Man, stubborn man, is like the growing tree,
That, longer standing, still will harder be;
And like its fruit, the virgin, first austere,
Then kindly softening with the ripening year. 
   Now was the lover urgent, and the kind
And yielding lady to his suit inclined: 
“A little time, my friend, is just, is right;
We must be decent in our neighbours’ sight:” 
Still she allow’d him of his hopes to speak,
And in compassion took off week by week;
Till few remain’d, when, wearied with delay,
She kindly meant to take off day by day. 
   That female Friend who gave our virgin praise
For flying man and all his treacherous ways,
Now heard with mingled anger, shame, and fear
Of one accepted, and a wedding near;
But she resolved again with friendly zeal
To make the maid her scorn of wedlock feel;
For she was grieved to find her work undone,
And like a sister mourn’d the failing nun. 
   Why are these gentle maidens prone to make
Their sister-doves the tempting world forsake? 
Why all their triumph when a maid disdains
The tyrant sex, aud scorns to wear its chains? 
Is it pure joy to see a sister flown
From the false pleasures they themselves have known: 
Or do they, as the call-birds in the cage,
Try, in pure envy, others to engage? 
And therefore paint their native woods and groves,
As scenes of dangerous joys and naughty loves? 
   Strong was the maiden’s hope; her friend was proud,
And had her notions to the world avow’d;
And, could she find the Merchant weak and frail,
With power to prove it, then she must prevail: 
For she aloud would publish his disgrace,
And save his victim from a man so base. 
   When all inquiries had been duly made,
Came the kind Friend her burthen to unlade:  —
“Alas! my dear! not all our care and art
Can thread the maze of man’s deceitful heart;
Look not surprised—­nor let resentment swell
Those lovely features, all will yet be well;
Project Gutenberg
Tales from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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