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ODE XIV.

ON

MARRIAGE.

Rang's by all-ruling Heaven's design,
Low sinks this ball, a mass supine ;

The stars high-blazing roll.
Nor lives a wretch of frantic brain,
Who dares with impious rage maintain,

That chance directs the whole.

Yet nations wide adopt this plan:
Chance classes all degrees of man,

Unknown in Nature's state;
And the mere accident of birth
Marks who shall rule or till the earth,

Th' ignoble or the great.

While such the consecrated springs,
Whence proudly issue lords and kings,

Why sleeps the parent's care?
Anxious to match the generous steed,
Where Strength and Beauty stamp the breed,

Regardless of his heir,

But to no favour'd race confin'd,
The virtues of our nobler kind

All ranks alike may claim ;
Issue as fair, and brave, and wise,
As the high lineage of the skies,

May bless an humble dame.

. The charm that softens manly grace, The ray that beams in woman's face,

The sympathy of mind,
Denote (whate'er their various lot,
Whether a palace or a cot)

The mates by heaven design'd.

But peevish Age, and gloomy Pride,
And churlish Av’rice, dare divide

Those links which powerful draw
Toʻunion dear, congenial loves :
The sire condemns what God approves,

And Tyranny is law.

Far other maxims form’d our state:
All orders, mixt of low and great,

Compose the harmonious frame. Firm hath the mighty fabric stood, And Britain boasts her mingled blood

In many a deathless name.

Free should the sons of freedom wed
The naid by equal fondness led,

Nor, heaping wealth on wealth,
Youth pine in age's wither'd arms,
Deformity polluting charms,

And Sickness blasting Health.

But house for house, and grounds for grounds,
And mutual bliss in balanc'd pounds,

Each parent's thought employ:
These, summ’d by Wingate's solid rules,
Let fools, and all the sons of fools,

Count less substantial joy!

And yet no niggard care confines
The child indulg'd.-Lo! India's mines

Flame in the daughter's dress:
As gorgeous shines the lavish son;
No Luxury refus'd but one-

Domestic happiness.

The victim comes in rich attire,
Dragg’d trembling by her ruthless sire ;

Thy child, O monster, såve!
Better the sacrificing knife,
Plung'd in her bosom, end that life

Thy fatal passion gave.

With torch inverted Hymen stands;
The furies wave their livid brands,

Wild Horror, pale Dismay.
Soft Pity drops the melting tear;
And lustful satyrs grinning leer,

Sure of their destin'd prey.

Compell'd, the falt'ring priest slow-ties
The knot of plighted perjuries,

For spotless truth ordain'd.
More fitly had some Daemon fell,
Some minister of sin and hell,

The sacred rites profan'd.

Go, wedded pair! all blithe and gay
Young virgins strew the flow'ry way,
And crown your

festal

gate. Inyok'd the genial powers attend : So shall a hapless line descend,

Heir to your wretched fate.

Unheir'd, a mass of barren earth,
No monster of amphibious birth

Transmits a future race.
Shall then an angel's form, conjoin'd
With all that sinks the brutal kind,

Perpetuate man's disgrace?
Vol. XIII,

1

Yet Nature will assert her claim :
Thine, rigid Father! thine the blame,

If injur'd Beauty stray :
Thou shouldst have heard the Lover's voice,
Approv'd and sanctify'd the choice,

Nor curs'd the bridal day.

Welcom’d by thee, chaste Love had shed
His blessings o'er that dismal bed,

Now wrapt in guilt and fear.
The lisping babe had bless'd thy age,
Now tanght, with more than infant-rage,

To chide thy loitering bier.

Hence all those baleful evils flow,
Which swell the tide of human woe,

And blot th’ Almighty's plan ;
Taint ev'ry source of pure delight,
Break ev'ry band that shou'd unite

The soul of man to mail,

Blank bastardy with blazon'd crest,
And harlots in patrician vest,

Triumphant Vice proclaim.
The high-born virgin, mimic, tries
Those arts which taught ihe low to rise,

From Poverty, thro'shame.

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