Tales eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 328 pages of information about Tales.

Disguise, I see thou art a wickedness. 
                        Twelfth Night.


’Squire Thomas flatter’d long a wealthy Aunt,
Who left him all that she could give or grant;
Ten years he tried, with all his craft and skill,
To fix the sovereign lady’s varying will;
Ten years enduring at her board to sit,
He meekly listen’d to her tales and wit: 
He took the meanest office man can take,
And his aunt’s vices for her money’s sake: 
By many a threat’ning hint she waked his fear,
And he was pain’d to see a rival near: 
Yet all the taunts of her contemptuous pride
He bore, nor found his grov’ling spirit tried: 
Nay, when she wish’d his parents to traduce,
Fawning he smiled, and justice call’d th’ abuse: 
“They taught you nothing:  are you not at best,”
Said the proud Dame, “a trifler, and a jest? 
Confess you are a fool!”—­he bow’d and he confess’d. 
   This vex’d him much, but could not always last: 
The dame is buried, and the trial past. 
   There was a female, who had courted long
Her cousin’s gifts, and deeply felt the wrong;
By a vain boy forbidden to attend
The private councils of her wealthy friend,
She vow’d revenge, nor should that crafty boy
In triumph undisturb’d his spoils enjoy: 
He heard, he smiled, and when the Will was read,
Kindly dismiss’d the Kindred of the dead;
“The dear deceased” he call’d her, and the crowd
Moved off with curses deep and threat’nings loud. 
   The youth retired, and, with a mind at ease,
Found he was rich, and fancied he must please: 
He might have pleased, and to his comfort found
The wife he wish’d, if he had sought around,
For there were lasses of his own degree,
With no more hatred to the state than he;
But he had courted spleen and age so long,
His heart refused to woo the fair and young;
So long attended on caprice and whim,
He thought attention now was due to him;
And as his flattery pleased the wealthy Dame,
Heir to the wealth, he might the flattery claim: 
But this the fair, with one accord, denied,
Nor waived for man’s caprice the sex’s pride. 
There is a season when to them is due
Worship and awe, and they will claim it too: 
“Fathers,” they cry, “long hold us in their chain,
Nay, tyrant brothers claim a right to reign: 
Uncles and guardians we in turn obey,
And husbands rule with ever-during sway;
Short is the time when lovers at the feet
Of beauty kneel, and own the slavery sweet;
And shall we thus our triumph, this the aim
And boast of female power, forbear to claim? 
No! we demand that homage, that respect,
Or the proud rebel punish and reject.” 
   Our Hero, still too indolent, too nice,
To pay for beauty the accustom’d price,
No less forbore t’address the humbler maid,
Who might have yielded with the price unpaid;

Project Gutenberg
Tales from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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