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The matrimonial victory is mine,
Which, having fairly gain’d, I will resign.
Forgive if I have said or done amiss,
And seal the bargain with a friendly kiss :
I promised you but one content to share,
But now I will become both good and fair.
No nuptial quarrel shall disturb your ease ;
The business of my life shall be to please :
And for my beauty, that, as time shall try,
But draw the curtain first, and cast your eye.

He look’d, and saw a creature heavenly fair,
In bloom of youth, and of a charming air.
With joy he turn'd, and seized her ivory arm;
And, like Pygmalion, found the statue warm.
Small arguments there needed to prevail,
A storm of kisses pour'd as thick as hail.
Thus long in mutual bliss they lay embraced,
And their first love continued to the last :
One sunshine was their life, no cloud between ;
Nor ever was a kinder couple seen.

And so may all our lives like theirs be led ;
Heaven send the maids young husbands fresh in bed ;
May widows wed as often as they can,
And ever for the better change their man.
And some devouring plague pursue their lives,
Who will not well be govern’d by their wives.

THE CHARACTER OF A GOOD PARSON. A PARISH priest was of the pilgrim train ; An awful, reverend, and religious man, His eyes diffused a venerable grace, And charity itself was in his face. Rich was his soul, though his attire was poor; (As God had clothed his own ambassador ;) For such, on earth, his bless'd Redeemer bore. Of sixty years he seem'd; and well might last To sixty more, but that he lived too fast; Refined himself to soul, to curb the sense ; And made almost a sin of abstinence. Yet, had his aspect nothing of severe, But such a face as promised him sincere.

Nothing reserved or sullen was to see:
But sweet regards; and pleasing sanctity :
Mild was his accent, and his action free.
With eloquence innate his tongue was arm’d;
Though harsh the precept, yet the preacher charm’d.
For letting down the golden chain from high,
He drew his audience upward to the sky;
And oft, with holy hymns, he charm'd their ears :
(A music more melodious than the spheres :)
For David left him, when he went to rest,
His lyre ; and after him he sung the best.
He bore his great commission in his look :
But sweetly temper'd awe; and soften'd all he spoke.
He preach'd the joys of heaven, and pains of hell;
And warn’d the sinner with becoming zeal ;
But on eternal mercy loved to dwell.
He taught the gospel rather than the law;
And forced himself to drive ; but loved to draw.
For fear but freezes minds; though love, like heat,
Exhales the soul sublime, to seek her native seat.

To threats the stubborn sinner oft is hard ;
Wrapp'd in his crimes, against the storm prepared ;
But, when the milder beams of mercy play,
He melts, and throws his cumbrous cloak away.
Lightning and thunder (heaven's artillery)
As harbingers before the Almighty fly:
Those but proclaim his style, and disappear;
The stiller sound succeeds, and God is there!

The tithes, his parish freely paid, he took ;
But never sued, or cursed with bell and book.
With patience bearing wrong ; but offering none ;
Since every man is free to lose his own.
The country churls, according to their kind,
(Who grudge their dues, and love to be behind,)
The less he sought his offerings, pinch'd the more;
And praised a priest contented to be poor.

Yet of his little he had some to spare,
To feed the famish'd, and to clothe the bare:
For mortified he was to that degree,
A poorer than himself he would not see.
True priests, he said, and preachers of the word,
Were only stewards of their sovereign Lord;
Nothing was theirs; but all the public store :
Intrasted riches, to relieve the poor.

D D

Who, should they steal, for want of his relief,
He judged himself accomplice with the thief.

Wide was his parish ; not contracted close
In streets, but here and there a straggling house ;
Yet still he was at hand, without request,
To serve the sick, to succour the distress'd ;
Tempting, on foot, alone, without affright,
The dangers of a dark tempestuous night.

All this the good old man perform'd alone,
Nor spared his pains; for curate he had none.
Nor durst he trust another with his care ;
Nor rode himself to Paul's, the public fair,
To chaffer for preferment with his gold,
Where bishoprics and sinecures are sold.
But duly watch'd his flock by night and day,
And from the prowling wolf redeem'd the prey,
And hungry sent the wily fox away.

The proud he tamed, the penitent he cheerd ;
Nor to rebuke the rich offender fear'd.
His preaching much, but more his practice wrought;
(A living sermon of the truths he taught ;)
For this by rules severe his life he squared :
That all might see the doctrine which they heard.
For priests, he said, are patterns for the rest :
(The gold of heaven, who bear the God impress’d :)
But when the precious coin is kept unclean,
The sovereign's image is no longer seen.
If they be foul on whom the people trust,
Well may the baser brass contract a rust.

The prelate, for his holy life he prized ;
The worldly pomp of prelacy despised,
His Saviour came not with a gaudy show;
Nor was his kingdom of the world below.
Patience in want, and poverty of mind,
These marks of Church and Churchmen he design’d,
And living taught, and dying left behind.
The crown he wore was of the pointed thorn:
In purple he was crucified, not born.
They who contend for place and high degree,
Are not his sons, but those of Zebedee.

Not but he knew the signs of earthly power
Might well become Saint Peter's successor ;
The holy father holds a double reign,
The prince may keep his pomp, the fisher must be plain.
Such was the saint; who shone with every grace,
Reflecting, Moses-like, his Maker's face.
God saw his image lively was express'd ;
And his own work, as in creation, bless’d.

The tempter saw him too with envious eye ;
And, as on Job, demanded leave to try,
He took the time when Richard was deposed,
And high and low with happy Harry closed.
This prince, though great in arms, the priest withstood:
Near though he was, yet not the next of blood.
Had Richard, unconstrain’d, resign’d the throne,
A king can give no more than is his own;
The title stood entail'd, had Richard had a son.

Conquest, an odious name, was laid aside, Where all submitted, none the battle tried. The senseless plea of right by providence Was, by a flattering priest, invented since ; And lasts no longer than the present sway; But justifies the next who comes in play.

The people's right remains ; let those who dare Dispute their power, when they the judges are.

He join'd not in their choice, because he knew Worse might, and often did, from change ensue. Much to himself he thought; but little spoke; And, undeprived, his benefice forsook.

Now, through the land, his cure of souls he stretch'd; And like a primitive apostle preach'd. Still cheerful, ever constant to his call, By many follow'd, loved by most, admired by all. With what he begg’d, his brethren he relieved, And gave

the charities himself received. Gave while he taught, and edified the more, Because he show'd by proof, 'twas easy to be poor.

He went not with the crowd to see a shrine ;
But fed us, by the way, with food divine.

In deference to his virtues, I forbear
To show you what the rest in orders were:
This brilliant is so spotless and so bright,
He needs no foil, but shines by his own proper light.

404

TRANSLATIONS FROM BOCCACCIO.

SIGISMONDA AND GUISCARDO.
WHILE Norman Tancred in Salerno reign'd,
The title of a gracious prince he gain'd;
Till turn'd a tyrant in his latter days,
He lost the lustre of his former praise ;
And, from the bright meridian where he stood
Descending, dipp'd his hands in lovers' blood.

This prince, of fortune’s favour long possess'd,
Yet was with one fair daughter only bless'd ;
And bless'd he might have been with her alone :
But oh ! how much more happy, had he none !
She was his care, his hope, and his delight,
Most in his thought, and ever in his sight:
Next, nay beyond his life, he held her dear ;
She lived by him, and now he lived in her.
For this, when ripe for marriage, he delay'd
Her nuptial bands, and kept her long a maid,
As envying any else should share a part
Of what was his, and claiming all her heart.
At length, as public decency required,
And all his vassals eagerly desired,
With mind averse, he rather underwent
His people's will, than gave his own consent.
So was she torn, as from a lover's side,
And made, almost in his despite, a bride.

Short were her marriage joys; for, in the prime
Of youth, her lord expired before his time:
And to her father's court in little space
Restored anew, she held a higher place;
More loved, and more exalted into

grace.
This princess, fresh and young, and fair and wise,
The worshipp'd idol of her father's eyes,
Did all her sex in every grace exceed,
And had more wit beside than women need.

Youth, health, and ease, and most an amorous mind,
To second nuptials had her thoughts inclined :
And former joys had left a secret sting behind.

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