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William Shenstone (Уильям Шенстон)

Epilogue - To the Tragedy of Cleone

Well, Ladies—so much for the tragic style—
And now the custom is to make you smile.
To make us smile!—methinks I hear you say—
Why, who can help it, at so strange a play?
The captain gone three years!—and then to blame
The faultless conduct of his virtuous dame!
My stars! what gentle belle would think it treason,
When thus provoked, to give the brute some reason?
Out of my house!—this night, forsooth, depart!
A modern wife had said—"With all my heart—
But think not, haughty Sir, I'll go alone;
Order your coach—conduct me safe to Town—
Give me my jewels, wardrobe, and my maid—
And pray take care my pin-money be paid."
Such is the language of each modish fair;
Yet memoirs, not of modern growth, declare
The time has been, when modesty and truth
Were deem'd additions to the charms of youth;
When women hid their necks, and veil'd their faces,
Nor romp'd, nor raked, nor stared at public places,
Nor took the airs of Amazons for graces:
Then plain domestic virtues were the mode,
And wives ne'er dreamt of happiness abroad;
They loved their children, learnt no flaunting airs,
But with the joys of wedlock mix'd the cares.
Those times are past—yet sure they merit praise,
For marriage triumph'd in those golden days;
By chaste decorum they affection gain'd;
By faith and fondness, what they won, maintain'd.
'Tis yours, Ye Fair! to bring those days again,
And form anew the hearts of thoughtless men;
Make beauty's lustre amiable as bright,
And give the soul, as well as sense, delight;
Reclaim from folly a fantastic age,
That scorns the press, the pulpit, and the stage.
Let truth and tenderness your breasts adorn,
The marriage chain with transport shall be worn;
Each blooming virgin, raised into a bride,
Shall double all their joys, their cares divide;
Alleviate grief, compose the jars of strife,
And pour the balm that sweetens human life.

William Shenstone's other poems:
  1. Impromptu to Miss Utrecia Smith
  2. The Attribute of Venus
  3. Hint from Voiture
  4. Charms of Precedence
  5. An Irregular Ode, After Sickness

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