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Poem by William Shenstone


Epilogue - To the Tragedy of Cleone


Well, Ladiesso 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 coachconduct 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 pastyet 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


William Shenstone's other poems:
  1. Elegy. He Describes His Early Love of Poetry, and Its Consequences
  2. Elegy. He Describes His Disinterestedness to a Friend
  3. Nancy of the Vale
  4. The Landskip
  5. The Attribute of Venus


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