Advice to a Young Lady Lately Married
Dear Peggy, since the single state
You've left, and chose yourself a mate;
Since metamorphosed to a wife,
And bliss or woe's ensured for life,
A friendly muse the way would show
To gain the bliss, and miss the woe.
But first of all, I must suppose
You've with mature reflection chose;
And this premised, I think you may
Here find to married bliss the way.
Small is the province of a wife,
And narrow is her sphere in life;
Within that sphere to move aright
Should be her principal delight;
To guide the house with prudent care,
And properly to spend and spare;
To make her husband bless the day
He gave his liberty away;
To form the tender infant mind:
These are the tasks to wives assigned;
Then never think domestic care
Beneath the notice of the fair;
But matters every day inspect,
That naught be wasted by neglect.
Be frugal plenty round you seen,
And always keep the golden mean.
Be always clean, but seldom fine,
Let decent neatness round you shine;
If once fair decency be fled,
Love soon deserts the genial bed.
Not nice your house, though neat and clean;
In all things there's a proper mean.
Some of our sex mistake in this,
Too anxious some, some too remiss.
The early days of wedded life
Are oft o'ercast by childish strife;
Then be it your peculiar care
To keep that season bright and fair;
For then's the time by gentle art
To fix your empire in his heart.
With kind, obliging carriage strive
To keep the lamp of love alive;
For should it through neglect expire,
No art again can light the fire.
To charm his reason dress your mind,
Till love shall be with friendship joined;
Raised on that basis, 'twill endure,
From time and death itself secure.
Be sure you ne'er for power contend,
Nor try by tears to gain your end;
Sometimes the tears which cloud your eyes
From pride and obstinacy rise.
Heaven gave to man superior sway,
Then heaven and him at once obey.
Let sullen frowns your brow ne'er cloud;
Be always cheerful, never loud;
Let trifles never discompose
Your features, temper, or repose.
Abroad for happiness ne'er roam;
True happiness resides at home;
Still make your partner easy there
(Man finds abroad sufficient care).
If everything at home be right,
He'll always enter with delight;
Your converse he'll prefer to all
Those cheats the world does pleasure call;
With cheerful chat his cares beguile,
And always meet him with a smile.
Should passion e'er his soul deform,
Serenely meet the bursting storm;
Never in wordy war engage,
Nor ever meet his rage with rage.
With all our sex's softening art
Recall lost reason to his heart;
Thus calm the tempest in his breast,
And sweetly soothe his soul to rest.
Be sure you ne'er arraign his sense;
Few husbands pardon that offence;
'Twill discord raise, disgust it breeds,
And hatred certainly succeeds.
Then shun, O shun that fatal shelf,
Still think him wiser than yourself;
And if you otherwise would b'lieve,
Ne'er let him such a thought perceive.
When cares invade your partner's heart,
Bear you a sympathising part,
And kindly claim your share of pain,
And half his troubles still sustain;
From morn to noon, from noon to night,
To see him pleased your chief delight.
But now, methinks, I hear you cry,
‘Shall she pretend, O vanity!
To lay down rules for wedded life,
Who never was herself a wife?’
I own you've ample cause to chide,
And blushing throw the pen aside.
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