THE MARRIAGE

The Marriage



There is a proverb that is known
By ev’ry lively Miss in Town,
For whom Love lies in ambuscade,
That Marriages in Heaven are made.
Thus, when the Fair, resolv’d to wed,
Receives the Captain to her bed,
Whose only fortune is his pay
Of nothing like a pound per day,
A father’s anger to assuage,
And calm an humbled Mother’s rage,
She says, in hopes to be forgiven,
The nuptial knot was tied in Heaven.
How could she help it — when her Love
Was govern’d by the powers above ;
And therefore would Papa persuade
That this same match was wisely made ;
Nay, asks the Dower he would accord,
As if her Spouse had been a Lord.
— But ’tis not Birth, nor is it gold
That does the sacred Union hold


In that firm fondness which will last,
When Beauty, and when years are past.
Affection is the Knot that binds
In silken cord, congenial minds ;
And, e’en, in with’ring age will bloom,
To grace the confines of the tomb :
Thus Hymen often doth beguile
The Heart, though Fortune does not smile ;
And turns, disgusted, from the great,
Beneath the domes of Wealth and State.


If HYMEN would with PLUTUS rove,
And always seek the God of Love ;
Nor ever quit the common shrine,
When they the Nuptial Contract sign :
If Cupid ne’er would make pretence
Unless to Beauty, Wit, or Sense,
And Plutus ever ready be
To crown each faithful Votary,
And Hymen, not a step proceed,
‘Till his Associates were agreed,
Who would not seek the Nuptial State,
Who would not be a married mate ?
Nay, scarce upon this earthly round
Would one old Bachelor be found.


But ’tis not form’d by Nature’s plan
To give such Happiness to Man :
It would be folly then to wonder
That Love and Plutus keep asunder ;
For Hymen ‘s ever at their will
Their sep’rate pleasure to fulfil ;
Though Plutus seems to take the lead
Of Love, in matrimonial deed :
Such is, at least, the gen’ral creed : —
And such Amelia’s tale will prove
Who married Wealth, nor thought of Love.


She was, ’tis true, in Fashion bred,
With all those whimsies in her head,
With all those hopes, within her heart,
That High-life fantasies impart.
Her glass return’d the lovely face,
Her ev’ry motion beam’d with grace,
Which might the ardent wish inspire,
And bid each gazing eye admire ;
So that she thought, let who will woe me,
‘Tis some Adonis shall subdue me ;
For I ‘m not yet so foolish grown,
To wed a form unlike my own.
But ’twill not do, unless his door,
Beholds each day, the coach-and-four ;


Or, if ’tis just to take the air,
The sprightly Curricle and pair,
Or the groom with the high-bred mare.
Nor must the dear Adonis stint her,
To one grand Fete through one long winter ;
But, by the splendour of each treat,
To lay all Fashion at her feet.


Thus did her flatt’ring hopes go on
From seventeen years to twenty-one :
But no Adonis yet appears,
And all her hopes were turn’d to fears.
— Instead, an ancient, tatter’d Beau,
Who totter’d on threescore, or so,
Resolv’d to close his rakish Life,
With a young fashionable wife.
Amelia caught his gloting eye,
And heard his fond Idolatry ;
When all that could her pride content,
In figure, wealth, and settlement,
Was placed at her supreme command,
To bribe the Fair to yield her hand.


Amelia conn’d the matter o’er,
Sigh’d twenty-one, and then threescore.
The offer she would say is fair,
But then there ‘s no Adonis there ;
And for Adonis should I stay,
‘Till all my Beauties fade away ;
Should I refuse the offer’d Lot
I might e’en live to be forgot.
— Besides, my dear, prolific mother
Gave me five Sisters, and a Brother ;
So that my Dower will ne’er invite
A match beyond a country Knight ; —
My Fortune may not e’en inspire
The Courtship of a mortgag’d Squire.
— All things consider’d, ’twill be wise
My love-lorn hopes to sacrifice,
And take Sir John, let who will flout him,
With all his wealth and years about him ;
Nay, should the Veteran not survive
The day when I am twenty-five,
So wealthy, and yet handsome still,
I shall have Lovers at my will,
And stand a better chance to find
A young Adonis to my mind : —
But that the world may not upbraid me,
It is my mother shall persuade me ;
And thus to give the matter weight,
I for a week will hesitate.


This interval Mamma employs
To influence her Daughter’s choice,
And urges in a different way
The self-same reasons ev’ry day.


‘ I own, my Dear, it is too true,
‘ Sir John ‘s a horrid form to view,
‘ But he pays nobly for the pride
‘ Of having such a lovely Bride,
‘ And in the matrimonial dish,
‘ We can’t have all that we can wish :
‘ Let Fortune cook it how it will,
‘ There will be something wanting still.
‘ — A proverb oft the truth displays,
‘ And think jon what this proverb says —
You’d better be an old marts darling
Than hear a young marts constant snarling.
‘ He says, indeed, he ‘s but threescore,
‘ But I know that He ‘s something more ;
‘ While from the Life which he has past,
‘ The Doctors say he cannot last.
‘ It seems, that more than half the year
‘ He has the Gout, and can’t appear ;
‘ At least, his limping form is seen,
‘ Shelter’d within a gilded screen.
‘ In this same calculating age,
‘ When Int’rest is the growing rage,
‘ A prospect, with such golden views,
‘ It would be madness to refuse.
‘ There ‘s many a Dutchess cannot prove
‘ Such splendid marks of gen’rous Love
‘ As he proposes : — count them o’er,
‘ And tell me, would you wish for more.
‘ Envy may scoff, and some may smile,
‘ But think on what you ’11 gain the while.
‘ Few, few, among the world’s gay throng
‘ Will say, dear Girl, you ‘ve acted wrong,
‘ If you with prudence play your part,
‘ Nor let the world corrupt your heart,
‘ When as a Widow you appear
‘ With twice three thousand pounds a year,
‘ And all the fine things which the pride
‘ Of doting Love, will give beside.
‘ My counsel is, the proffer’d boon
‘ Should be receiv’d this afternoon :
‘ This moment let your mother write
‘ To ease the gallant, surf’ ring Knight j
‘ To tell him, that at length, you yield,
‘ And leave him Master of the field ;
‘ But, to conclude this long debate,
‘ Think, think on his precarious state,
‘ The bus’ness must not be delay ‘d,
‘ Or e’er the settlements are made,
‘ He to that region may be flown
‘ Where Marriages are never known.’


‘Twas done : — In haste the forms proceed ;
The Lawyers all are doubly fee’d ;
The Fashion-shops work night and day,
To furnish out the rich array,
That young Amelia might be seen,
The image of the Cyprian queen ;
When, ‘mid Idalian rites she moves,
Surrounded by th’ admiring Loves ;
Such costly jewels now appear
To shine and dangle in her ear,
To bind her arms, and deck her hair,
To make the fairest look more fair,
Such as a Sultan seldom gave
To the Seraglio’s fav’rite Slave.
In short, it was the tempting store
Of am’rous wealth at sixty-four.


At length arriv’d th’ appointed Day,
When all, but Emily, were gay.
Still her pale lips, however loth,
To the old Bridegroom plight their troth ;
While he affects a simp’ring grace,
Or calls a smirk into his face.
Thus, as she saw him by her stand,
And felt his chilly, palsied hand,
The humbling tear bedew’d her eyes,
And mourn’d her own sad sacrifice :
Nor could she draw a faint supply
Of Comfort, e’en from Vanity.
In spite of all her splendid show,
She inly curs’d the gilded woe ;
And, in the secret of her mind,
Call’d Death — the Union to unbind ;
Nor call’d in vain. — In surplice drest,
At once the Bridesman and the Priest,
‘Twas Death who at the Altar heard
The inward wish that she preferr’d;
And when the sacred knot was tied,
The Bridegroom in a moment died,
And left her, as she just had pray’d —
A widow’d Bride, a married Maid.


She now her gawds to sables turns,
And in all due Apparel mourns.
But though, by some good folks ’tis said,
That marriages in Heaven are made,
She thinks, to make the Proverb even,
That they are sometimes loos’d in Heaven.