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NECESSARY TO THE HAPPINESS OF THE MARRIED
The lady thus addressed her spouse-
What a mere dungeon is this house !
By no means large enough; and was it,
Yet this dull room, and that dark closet,
Those hangings with their worn-out graces,
Long beards, long noses, and pale faces,
Are such an antiquated scene,
They overwhelm me with the spleen.
Sir Humphrey, shooting in the dark,
Makes answer quite beside the mark :
No doubt, my dear, I bade him come,
Engaged myself to be at home,
And shall expect him at the door,
Precisely when the clock strikes four.
You are so deaf, the lady cried
(And raised her voice, and frowned beside),
You are so sadly deaf, my dear,
What shall I do to make you hear?
Dismiss poor Harry! he replies ;
Some people are more nice than wise,
For one slight trespass all this stir?
What if he did ride, whip and spur,
'Twas but a mile--your favourite horse
Will never look one hair the worse.
Well, I protest 'tis past all bearing
Child! I am rather hard of hearing-
Yes, truly -one must scream and bawl,
I tell you, you can't hear at all!
Then, with a voice exceeding low,
No matter if you hear or no.
Alas! and is domestic strife,
That sorest ill of human life,
A plague so little to be feared,
As to be wantonly incurred,
To gratify a fretful passion,
On every trivial provocation?
The kindest and the happiest pair
Will find occasion to forbear;
And something every day they live,
To pity and perhaps forgive.
But if infirmities, that fall
In common to the lot of all,
A blemish or a sense impaired,
Are crimes so little to be sparod,
Then farewell all that must create
The comfort of the wedded state;
Instead of harmony, 'tis jar,
And tumult, and intestine war.
The love, that cheers life's latest stage,
Proof against sickness and old age,
Preserved by virtue from declension,
Becomes not weary of attention;
But lives, when that exterior grace,
Which first inspired the flame, decays.
'Tis gentle, delicate, and kind,
To faults compassionate or blind,
And will with sympathy endare
Those evils it would gladly cure :
But angry, coarse, and harsh expression
Shows love to be a mere profession;
Proves that the heart is none of his,
Or soon expels him if it is.
THE NEGRO'S COMPLAINT. Forced from home and all its pleasures,
Afric's coast I left forlorn;
To increase a stranger's treasures,
O’er the raging billows borne.
Men from England bought and sold me,
Paid my price in paltry gold; But, though theirs they have enrolled me,
Minds are never to be sold. Still in thought as free as ever,
What are England's rights, I ask, Me from my delights to sever,
Me to torture, me to task? Fleecy locks and black complexion
Cannot forfeit nature's claim; Skins may differ, but affection
Dwells in white and black the same. Why did all-creating nature
Make the plant for which we toil? Sighs must fan it, tears must water,
Sweat of ours mast dress the soil. Think, ye masters iron-hearted,
Lolling at your jovial boards ; Think how many backs have smarted
For the sweets your cane affords. Is there, as ye sometimes tell us,
Is there one who reigns on high? Has he bid you bay and sell us,
Speaking from his throne the sky? Ask him, if your knotted scourges,
Matches, blood-extorting screws,
Are the means which duty urges,
Agents of his will to use?
Hark! he answers-Wild tornadoes,
Strewing yonder sea with wrecks; Wasting towns, plantations, meadows,
Are the voice with which he speaks. He, foreseeing what vexations
Afric's sons should andergo, - Fixed their tyrant's habitations
Where his whirlwinds answer--no.
By our blood in Afric wasted,
Ere our necks received the chain;
By the miseries we have tasted,
Crossing in yonr barks the main ;
By our sufferings, since ye brought us
To the man-degrading mart;
All-sustained by patience taught us
Only by a broken heart :
Deem our nation brutes no longer,
Till some reason ye shall find
Worthier of regard, and stronger
Than the colour of our kind.
Slaves of gold, whose sordid dealings
Tarnish all your boasted powers,
Prove that you have human feelings,
Ere you proudly question ours !
Video meliora proboque
I own I am shocked at the purchase of slaves,
And fear those, who buy them and sell them, are knaves ;
What I hear of their hardships, their tortures, and groans,
Is almost enough to draw pity from stones.
I pity them greatly, but I must be mum,
For how could we do without sugar and rum?
Especially sugar, so needful we see?
What! give up our desserts, our coffee, and tea?
Besides, if we do, the French, Dutch, and Danes,
Will heartily thank us, no doubt, for our pains ;
If we do not buy the poor creatures, they will,
And tortures and groans will be multiplied still.
If foreigners likewise would give up the trade,
Much more in behalf of your wish might be said ;
But, while they get riches by purchasing blacks,
Pray tell me why we may not also go snacks?
Your scruples and arguments bring to my mind
A story so pat, you may think it is coined
On purpose to answer you out of my mint ;
But I can assure you I saw it in print.
A youngster at school, more sedate than the rest,
Had once his integrity put to the test;
His comrades had plotted an orchard to rob,
And asked him to go and assist in the job.
He was shocked, sir, like you, and answered—“Oh no!
What! rob our good neighbour! I pray you don't go;
Besides the man's poor, his orchard's his bread;
Then think of his children, for they must be fed.”
“ You speak very fine, and you look very grave,
But apples we want, and apples we'll have;
If you will go with us you shall have a share,
If not, you shall have neither apple nor pear.”
They spoke, and Tom pondered—“I see they will go :
Poor man! what a pity to injure him so !
Poor man! I would save him his fruit if I could,
But staying behind will do him no good.
“ If the matter depended alone upon me,
His apples might hang till they dropt from the tree;
But, since they will take them, I think I'll go too,
He will lose none by me, though I get a few.