On Domestic Manners

ON DOMESTIC MANNERS .

( UNFINISHED .)

I.

Meek Honour, female shame,
O! whither, sweetest offspring of the sky,
From Albion dost thou fly;
Of Albion's daughters once the favourite fame?
O beauty's only friend,
Who giv'st her pleasing reverence to inspire;
Who selfish, bold desire
Dost to esteem and dear affection turn;
Alas, of thee forlorn
What joy, what praise, what hope can life pretend?

II.

Behold; our youths in vain
Concerning nuptial happiness inquire:
Our maids no more aspire
The arts of bashful Hymen to attain;
But with triumphant eyes
And cheeks impassive, as they move along,
Ask homage of the throng.
The lover swears that in a harlot's arms
Are found the self-same charms,
And worthless and deserted lives and dies.

III.

Behold; unbless'd at home,
The father of the cheerless household mourns:
The night in vain returns,
For Love and glad Content at distance roam;
While she, in whom his mind
Seeks refuge from the day's dull task of cares,
To meet him she prepares,
Through noise and spleen and all the gamester's art,
A listless, harass'd heart,
Where not one tender thought can welcome find.

IV.

'Twas thus, along the shore
Of Thames, Britannia's guardian Genius heard,
From many a tongue preferr'd,
Of strife and grief the fond invective lore:
At which the queen divine
Indignant, with her adamantine spear,
Like thunder sounding near,
Smote the red cross upon her silver shield,
And thus her wrath reveal'd;
(I watch'd her awful words and made them mine.)
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