Page images
PDF
EPUB

Thus enjoying the pleasures of love, and the pure joys of domestic life, the happy pair realize the truth of Cotton's beautiful ode on “ The Fire-side:"

Dear Chloe, while the busy crowd,
The vain, the wealthy, and the proud,

In Folly's, maze advance ;
Tho' singularity and pride
Be call'd our choice, we'll step aside,

Nor join the giddy dance.
From the gay world we'll oft retire
To our own family and fire,

Where love our hours employs;
No noisy neighbour enters here,
No intermeddling stranger near,

To spoil our heartfelt joys.
If solid happiness we prize,
Within our breast this jewel lies i

And they are fools who roam :
The world has nothing to bestow,
From our own selves our joys must flow;

And that dear hut, our home.
Of rest was Noah's dove bereft,
When with impatient wing she left

That safe retreat, the ark;
Giving her vain excursion o'er,
The disappointed bird once more

Explor'd the sacred bark.
Tho' fools spurn Hymen's gentle pow'rs,
We, who improve his golden hours,

By sweet experience know,
That marriage, rightly understood,
Gives to the tender and the good

A paradise below.
Our babes shall richest comforts bring;
If tutor'd right, they'll prove the spring

Whence pleasures ever rise :
We'll form their minds with studious care,
To all that's manly, good, and fair,

And train them for the skies.
While they our wisest hours engage,
They'll joy our youth, support our age,

And crown our hoary hairs :
They'll grow in virtue ev'ry day,
And thus our fondest loves repay,

And recompense our cares.

No borrow'd joys! they're all our own,
While to the world we live unknown,

Or by the world forgot:
Monarchs ! we envy not your state;
We look with pity on the great,

And bless our humbler lot.
Our portion is not large, indeed;
But then how little do we need !

For Nature's calls are few :
In this the art of living lies,
To want no more than may suffice,

And make that little do.
We'll therefore relish, with content,
Whate'er kind Providence has sent,

Nor aim beyond our pow'r; For, if our stock be very small, 'Tis prudence to enjoy it all,

Nor lose the present hour.
To be resign'd when ills betide,
Patient when favours are denied,

And pleas'd with favours giv'n;
Dear Chloe, this is wisdom's part;
This is that incense of the heart,

Whose fragrance smells to heav'n. We'll ask no long protracted treat, Since winter life is seldom sweet;

But, when our feast is o'er, Grateful from table we'll arise, Nor grudge our sons, with envious eyes,

The relics of our store. Thus, hand in hand, thro' life we'll go ; Its chequer'd paths of joy and woe

With cautious steps we'll tread; Quit its vain scenes without a tear, Without a trouble or a fear,

And mingle with the dead. While conscience, like a faithful friend, Shall thro' the gloomy vale attend,

And cheer our dying breath ; Shall, when all other comforts cease, Like a kind angel whisper peace,

And smooth the bed of death.

CHAP. XIV.

SINGLE LIFE. .

I take no joy in earthly bliss ;

I weigh not Cresus' wealth a straw;
For care, I care not what it is :

I fear not Fortune's fatal law :
My mind is such as may not move
For beauty bright, or force of love.

It must be admitted that a Single Life has some advantages and pleasures peculiar to itself. If it have not the pleasures of the married state, it has at least a freedom from its cares and anxieties. It has more leisure for study and books, and for the charms of literature, science, and philosophy. Gardening, music, painting, poetry, and religion, may be truly enjoyed in a state of celibacy. The pleasures of charity and benevolence especially belong to it.

Pomfret's choice was for a Single Life, on account of its ease and quiet.

He observes,
If heav'n a date of many years would give,
Thus I'd in pleasure, ease, and plenty, live.
And as I near approach'd the verge of life,
Some kind relation (for I'd have no wife)
Should take upon him all my worldly care,
While I did for a better state prepare.
Then I'd not be with any trouble vex'd,
Nor have the evening of my days perplex'd;
But, by a silent and a peaceful death,
Without a sigh resign my aged breath :
And when committed to the dust, I'd have
Few tears, but friendly, dropt into my grave.
Then would my exit so propitious be,
All men would wish to live and die like me.

The following elegant and humane sentiments respecting single ladies who are advanced in years, are expressed by Mr. Gisborne, in his Inquiry into the Duties of the Female Sex:

“ The good sense and refinement of the present age have abated much of the contempt with which it was heretofore the practice to regard women, who had attained or passed the middle period of life, without having entered into the bands of marriage. The contempt was unjust, and it was ungenerous. Why was it ever deemed to be merited? Because the objects of it were remaining in a state of singlehood ? Perhaps that very circumstance might be entitled, in a very large majority of instances, to praise and admiration. So various are the motives which men in general permit to have considerable influence on their views in marriage; so different are the opinions of different individuals of that sex, as to personal appearance and manners in the other; that in the women who pass through life without entering into a connubial engagement, there are, probably, very few who have not had the option of contracting it. If, then, from a wise and delicate reluctance to accept offers made by persons of objectionable character; from unwillingness to leave the abode of a desolate parent, struggling with difficulties, or declining towards the grave; from a repugnance to marriage, produced by affection surviving the loss of a beloved object prematurely snatched away by death; in consequence of any of these, or of similar causes, a woman continues single, is she to be despised? Let it be admitted that there are some individuals, who, by manifest ill-temper, or other repulsive parts of their character, have, even from their youth, precluded themselves from the chance of receiving matrimonial proposals. Is this a reason for branding unmarried women, of a middle age, with a general stigma? Be it admitted that certain peculiarities of deportment, certain faults of disposition, are proverbially frequent in women who have long remained single. Let it then also be remembered, that every situation of life has a tendency to encourage some particular errors and failings; that the defects of women, who, by choice or by necessity, are in a situation extremely different from that in which the generality of their sex is placed, will always attract more than their proportional share of attention; and that whenever attention is directed towards them, it is no more than common justice at the same time to render signal praise to the individuals who are free from the faults, in manners and temper, which many, under similar circumstances, have contracted. A single life is certainly free from many domestic cares, and from the anxiety attending the parental duties; it has grcater liberty in the disposal of time and money, and the freer power to will and to do. The unmarried have it in their power to be more useful to the world, and to promote the general welfare of mankind; so that we might perhaps venture to decide, that, upon the whole, there is as much single as married happiness in the world.”

It would be very unjust to apply the following to single aged females in general, though it may be applicable to a few :

THE OLD MAID'S THERMOMETER.

From 1 to 14-a child.

At 15—Anxious for coming out, and for the attention of the men.

16—Begins to have some idea of the tender passion. 17-Talks of love in a cottage, and disinterested affection.

18-Fancies herself in love with some handsome man who has flattered her.

19—Is a little more difficult to be pleased, in consequence of being noticed.

20-Commences fashionable, and dashes.

21-Still more confident in her attractions, and expects a brilliant establishment.

22–Refuses a good offer, because he is not a man of fashion.

23—Flirts with every man she meets.
24_Wonders she is not married.
25—Rather more circumspect in her conduct.

26_Begins to think a large fortune not quite so indispensable.

27—Prefers the conversation of rational men to flirting.

28—Wishes to be married in a quiet way, with a comfortable income.

29-Almost despairs of entering the married state. 30-Rather afraid of being called AN OLD MAID. 31-An additional love of dress.

32—Professes to dislike balls, finding it difficult to get a partner.

33—Wonders how men can leave the society of sensible women, to Airt with chits.

34–Affects good humour in her conversation with men.
35—Jcalous at the praises of other women.
36-Quarrels with her friend, who is lately married.
37--Thinks herself slighted in society.

« PreviousContinue »