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Poem by Phoebe Cary
Oh, but to fade, and live we know not where, To be a cold obstruction and to groan! This sensible, warm woman to become A prudish clod; and the delighted spirit To live and die alone, or to reside With married sisters, and to have the care Of half a dozen children, not your own; And driven, for no one wants you, Round the pendant world; or worse than worse Of those that disappointment and pure spite Have driven to madness: ’Tis too horrible! The weariest and most troubled married life That age, ache, penury, or jealousy Can lay on nature, is a paradise To being an old maid. That very time I saw, (but thou couldst not,) Walking between the garden and the barn, Reuben, all armed; a certain aim he took At a young chicken standing by a post, And loosed his bullet smartly from his gun, As he would kill a hundred thousand hens. But I might see young Reuben’s fiery shot Lodged in the chaste board of the garden fence, And the domesticated fowl passed on, In henly meditation, bullet free. My father had a daughter got a man, As it might be, perhaps, were I good-looking, I should, your lordship. And what’s her residence? A hut my lord, she never owned a house, But let her husband, like a graceless scamp, Spend all her little means,—she thought she ought,— And in a wretched chamber, on an alley, She worked like masons on a monument, Earning their bread. Was not this love indeed?
Phoebe Cary's other poems:
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