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Ere Hymen gives her to his longing arms!
But when he leads her to his homely cot,
And friends attendant greet the lovely pair,
With warmest wishes that they both may find
The marriage-state a state of happiness,
Oh! who can speak his bliss? Let Fancy guess;
For sure no pen, no pencil, can describe
His joyous features : every look is love
Nor less the fair-with equal flame she burns,
And feels an equal joy. Replete with love
Her beauteous orbs appear, whether the beams
Their radiant lights around her chearful friends,
Or Slily glances on the blissful swain,
With looks of cordial Ilove and Friendship fir’d.
O, Anna! think not this the rapt'rous strain
Of thoughtless youth, by Reason unmatur'd;
But rather view it as th' anticipation
Of our too tardy, but approaching union :
A union strict, which Death can scarce divide,
Ere twelve short months are pass'a—for time with them
Glides swift along-their mutual loves receive
A tender pledge: the greatest gift that God
On earth can give, or they on earth receive.
O then what rapture fills the parents hearts !
Such bliss their offspring brings, as nothing less
Than parents know, and they cannot defcribe.
The happy pair each day with joy behold
Some new-born beauty in their lovely babe ;
The mother views the father's manly mien
Strong on the infant; while the doating fire
Fondly imagines he can well perceive
The mother's foftness in his darling's smiles,
And both their virtues in it's winning ways.
Each year produces such another guest,
With equal beauty, and with equal love :
Nor fear the foft'ring parents to provide,
(Tho'small the pittance Fortune has below'd)
Sufficient nurture for their lovely babes ;
For well they know the Heav'nly Father sends,
For all His children ev'ry thing they need ;
And soon they learn their little hands to raise
Devout, to bow the fupplicating knee,
And lisp their ev'ry want to Him who sees
The heart sincere, and grants them all they ask.
Content, that never leaves the happy pair,
Smiling receives what bounteous Heav'n bestows,
And never murmurs at the homely fare,
But genuine thanks with grateful heart returns,
Nor thinks she can do less. Not so the great:
Tho' both the Indies roll their choicelt stores
Of fruits and spices grateful to the tafte,
Made richer still by art, to give them food;
And tho’ the purple grape, from France, from Spain,
And fair Italia's shore, is frequent press'd,
To fill their mantling bowl with bev'rage rare;
No God they thank, or own--but think it due
To their distinction ; favour, deem it none.
O, may the pair my Muse would fain describe,
Ne'er wish to taste the dainties of the great!
Nor other food receive without due thanks,
(If mortal man can give to God due thanks ;)
At leaft, such as they ought, and He requires !
Their pamp'ring viands, and their madd’ning drink,
Surcharge the streams of life, and make them flow
In groffer channels : whence the tort'ring gout,
And other various illness, take their rise ;
With those unknown, or very rarely found,
Where Temperance with ceaseless care presides.
Proceed, my Muse; and fear not to describe
Sufficient joys in wedlock's blissful itate,
To prove it far fuperior to the life
Of those who spurn at Hymen's facred laws !
Soon as their tender offspring can discern
"Twixt right and wrong, the careful parents train
Their early minds to knowledge of the world :
Teach them to fun the specious snares of vice
With studious care, tho' Pleasure leads the way i
And follow Virtue thro' the path of life,
Rugged at first, but pleasant in the end.
This leads to certain honour and renown ;
While that a doubtful fame can only give,
At most, which must in final ruin end !
What pleasure to behold their godlike minds
Receive the flame of sacred Liberty !
Oh! how their bosoms burn, to hear the fire
Recount the various deeds perform’d of old
By their renown'd ancestors ; whose great names
Are found recorded in th' historick page,
As firm protectors of their country's righis,
When de!pots would have made a heavy yoke,
And bow'd them to the earth !
He then instructs them rightly to discern
'Twixt those who make their country's love pretext
To introduce disorder and confusion,
That they may ravage on the various spoil;
And those who strive, at peril of their lives,
To curb tyrannick sway, when princes seek
To rob the people of their legal rights:
The firf-what punishmenent can be devis'd
Sufficiently fevere! who bafely plunge
A nation into war, (nay, civil war ;
Where father-brother-son--together strive,
And seek to play each other) that they may
Feed their curs’d ambition, never satiate?
The laft-(but o how seldom these engage
In war, reluctant when they must!) what gift
Is equal to their merit? - Heav'n alone
Can give them juft reward, as hell the other.
Next he recites, why firit society
Was form'd among mankind; that each degree
Might give affistance to the other parts,
By mutual in t'reft, mutual duty bound.
Nor less the monarch to his people owes
Protection of their property and lives,
And-what is dearer far—their Liberties;
Than they to him allegiance just and true,
With chearful contributions for his aid,
When he requires, and whom themselves have chose
His requisitions reasonable deem,
Pointing the way in which they may be rais'd
With greater ease by their constituents,
Themselves likewise afifting.
Nor does the parent fond forget to teach
His children dear the duty which they owe
(Far, far, above what mortal man can claiin)
To God in heaven above.
For soon, with pious care, he them informs,
Why man was first created how he fell
And “who seduced him to the foul revolt.”
Thence he explains the nature and the cause
Of fin original ; by means of which
The babe of newest birth is guilty found
In God's all-pure and penetrating eye ;
And lays them down a plain consistent scheme
Of true religion, all from Scripture drawn;
Wherein he shews the wondrous works that God
Has wrought for man, in ev'ry age and place;
Then tells how Christ, his dear-beloved Son,
In mercy to mankind, from heav'n came down,
(When nothing else could have appeas'd his wrath,
By various crimes of mortal man incurrid)
And fatisfied th' Almighty, by his death,
For all the fins of those who Him believe,
And trust not in their own unhallow'd works,
But on his merits only place their hopes
With fed fast faith ; no others will he save.
With keeneft locks the zealous parent eyes
His children dear, while he to them recounts
The Son of God's unbounded love to man;
And sees their rising doubts, and heals them as they rise.
Meanwhile the fair, with mute attention fits,
And hears her little family receive
The seeds of virtue and of science mix'd,
Instructive, by the skilful father's care;
Who gains new love from her admiring heart,
As the reflects, how justly doth accord
Each virtuous precept that he recommends,
With what the practice of his life displays :
Not like those teachers who point out the steep
Where Virtue's temple stands, commending much
The situation, and the joys of those
Who reach the happy place ;
But never let the wond'ring pupil see
Themselves advance to gain the blissful spot,
Tho' easy of ascent, as they relate.
Nor doth herself neglect to give advice,
Such as she can, to form their youthful minds;
And close within her mem'ry has she kept
A pleasing store of useful precepts,
Which the fondly blends with kind embraces,
Frequently beftow'd of overflowing love.
The daughters hear, from her instructive lips,
Of chaste Lucretia's and of Portia's fame;
With other females, who in Virtue's path
Undeviating trod, devoid of fear
From 'aught of pain could be on earth beltow'd,