The Philosophy of Love. [A Plea in Defence of Virtue and Truth!] A Poem in Six Cantos, with Other Poems
Religion; Love; Prosperity; FamilyTo have true love existing in the heart,
Is worth a world of wealth! It is the mine,
Whence all domestic happiness comes forth,
In every grade of life—can be produced
page 69 In rich supply, when other pleasures fail!
The yonng, the old, all its importance feel!
All other other wealth have many cank’ring cares,
Corroding to the soul; but this o’ercomes
All grievances; and can be well enjoy’d
In every circumstance: it best destroys
That painful curse of enui; which mars
Life’s pleasures;—aye, that fungus of the soul
Which marks its worthlessness, as void of love!
The happiness, brought forth from love’s own mine,
Is quite in keeping with the joys of Heaven;
It is the aid to all prosperity,
On earth, and earnest of true bliss above!
Philosophy; LoveOh! what a difference between Love in truth,
And that in wild romance. The first regards
Its honour in all words and deeds; and holds,
All like concerns, in their integrity,
Full paramount to every other good,
Which fancy paints, or proffers to bestow;—
As did the Tempter in the primal sin!
—True Love has ever reason on its side;
page 70 ’T has just views of its interests; and its worth’s
In great importance held; while using care
Where placed affections are: ’twill ever use
Its influence for purposes of good,
Whatever be the sacrifice, save that
Affecting virtue’s interests; which are held
In sacred trust, and not to be foregone!
Love; Imagination—That springing from the spirit of Romance,
No matter who is guided by its powers,
(Whether of high, or low degree of life)
Such influenced are by mere passion’s sway,
Of true-love’s nature void,—ay, void of aught
Of prudence, or due fore-thought, as regards
Likely events of sorrow, such may bring!
The impulse of the moment, all the charm;
The vagueness of the fancy thus inspires
The mind with false delights—gilded deceits!
Betraying souls; them luring, to adopt
Some questionable course, oft falsely styled
A freak of nature,—fit to be excused:
Which sober sense would turn from with disdain!
page 71 Such course meets no review, until too late;
When sorrow and regret, are all the prize!
Poetry—May now the Muse illustrate truths advanced;
By instances, which may be understood:—
Thus, first of True-love’s triumphs may she sing!
Amelia was by Henry much beloved!—
With all that true simplicity of love,
Which his attentions gain’d, she, in return,
Acknowledged the kind compliments address’d,
And own’d him as her lover. She, sincere,
No cause could see, his virtue to suspect;
No fault in his companionship could find:
Believing him to be, as he appear’d
Of upright sober habits; fit to be
A choice companion in the walks of life!—
By his attentions won, she gave consent
In holy wedlock to become his own!
—He loved her truly, as his better half!
A few days hence of preparation, meet
For the occasion, bad to be fulfilled;
—That seem’as nothing:—soon the time would come,
page 72 ’Twas posting on, when o’er her he’d rejoice.
Her sweet demeanour o’er him had a charm,
Which made him quite rejoiced her troth to gain!
Perception; SocietyAh! there was yet fault; a secret fault,
He had, which studiously he kept from view,
And which, she hitherto had not pereeived!
Indeed, had any one such fault devulged,
She would have met the tale with utter scorn,
And held its bearer as a spiteful wretch!—
But other demonstrations met her now!
Elated, somewhat, at the near approach
Of nuptial joy, forgetful of himself,
In an imprudent, or a thoughtless hour,
The first time e’er inebriate he came
Into her presence; thus he met her now!
The spell dissolved; how grieved was she to find
He was not always what she him believed,
Or what he seem’d.—She felt chagrined to see
Herself so duped! Could she such things endure?
NO!—Notwithstanding all the love she bore
Him,—with true virtue’s dignity and truth,
page 73 She made him know, ‘such conduct thus display’d
Could not meet her approval; she saw fit
Her welfare to consult, and so withdraw
The promise she had given, and do her best
His love, and former pleasures to forget!’
At such rebuke, he, smitten, from her sight
Rush’d in destraction,—self condemn’d, and vex’d
At such ungracefulness he had display’d:
Ashamed at being thus cast off, he left
The neighbourhood, as never to return;—
Yes, as by stealth he went, she knew not where,
And no more tidings of him after heard!
Forget him?—No!—’Twas quite beyond her power!
She threaten’d more than could be yet achieved;
Was not aware of her affection’s strength;
Or, that such o’er her had so firm a hold!
She felt herself so changed, as if she ’ad been
With him incorporate; now, her better half
As from her rent, leaving a painful wound.—
By night of him she dreamt; sometimes of joy
At other times of sorrow: and, by day,
page 74 Her wonder oft was, if it could be true,
That he had done some deed, not to be named,
Whose very thought would heave her breast with sighs!—
The rosy bloom, which once her cheeks adorn’d,
The blythe, and cheerful airs she ever own’d,
At length departed, like the rainbow hues
Dissolving from the view.— The cheek grew pale;
Her blytheness changed to thoughtfulness, and gloom:
Her gay attire was laid aside, for that
Betokening of mourning, and of grief!—
Suffering; MoralityMeanwhile, she felt it duty to exert
Some energy of mind, her griefs to quell:—
Thus, would she bring, by mental argument,
Opposing thoughts, as face to face, to prove
The right, or wrong, each boldly would prefer,
In causing such events that have transpired:—
As, “Was it right to charge him with such fault?”
Or, “Why could love not overlook that freak?
It might have been but trivial,—a mischance,
Which ne’er might be again!— But, versus, “Was
page 75 It right to be deceived, with seeming good,
Into a union, which might prove throughout
A scene of misery?—love extinct! because
Unable to say “NO”, before too late!—
On ruin rushing when ’tis in one’s view!—
If nothing serious have come o’er him this
May bring him to repentance; so, at length,
This check may prove a benefit indeed!
(How blest it is that love aye hopes the best!)
*Could I be blameless of a family’s woe,
(Were such to be,) caused by a drunkard’s sin;
—Whom I might be unable to reform!—
Nay, rather might be drawn into a snare?—
I rather will remain as I am Now!
Thus, would her thoughts debate; and thus her mind
Would grasp the stern conclusion; fain to strive
Against her trials sorrows to o’ercome!—
Meanwhile would others her accquaintance seek,
As candidates for her affections: but
Politely their attentions she’d decline!
page 76 No spirit had she such to entertain,
In preference to the absent one beloved!
For three years, thus, she kept herself alone:
Her duties while attending, precious sweets
She thence extracted! Comforts springing from
Time well improved much mitigates her grief:
While, oft a dear presentiment, of hope,
Would whisper in her heart, “He yet may come,
And adverse things may take another turn,
For good, and make thy lonely heart rejoice!”
She always could find something to engage
Attention; oft of kindness, as to smooth
The bedrid’s pillow, ailments to assuage:
Or, speak a word of comfort in the ear
Of such a-dying, pointing them to HIM
Who is the SAVIOUR, willing to redeem!—
Oh! who can better sympathize with woe,
Than those, who have such tasted for themselves?
Society; Home; Past—Thus did she find employment, both at home,
And round the neighbourhood; such aptly fit
To smooth th’ asperities of her own lot;
page 77 For, now they had endurable become,—
Things of the past, whose pains had pass’d away;
So that her mind was much compos’d to peace,—
A peace resembling that of sins forgiven!
The rosy bloom began to reappear
On her wan cheek, and brighter beam’d her eye;
A sober cheerfulness, like that which tells
Of heavenly thoughts within, her aspect shew’d;
As if she ’ad been to trials reconciled!—
Now, all this while, she of the absent one
Had nothing heard, either of weel or woe.
One day, up-stairs, she by her window sat,
Her needle plying, and her mind, meanwhile,
Was musing on last sunday’s sermon, which
Expounded, “how God’s providence was o’er
Creation’s works, but cheifly over man;”
When at the rattling sound of carriage wheels,
She raised her head to look,—as seldom such
The village roused,—next, saw the carriage stand
Before the house; and then she saw t’ alight,
From out the chase, in holiday attire,
page 78 A man of good appearance, who at once
With two steps lightly sprang towards the door
When loudly rang the bell. (’Twas but a glimpse
She had; so nimble was he, she no time
Had for decernment due.) “Who can this be?”
Was the first question raised within her heart;—
“Some one on business with Papa no doubt:”
Was her next thought; “one canvasing a vote,
At next elections, as the time draws near.”—
The matter thus, she settled in her mind,
And task resumed; her thoughts resuming too
Their former theme: when, lo! the chamber door
Flew open, with uncerimonious swing!
TechnologyAnd next, are she had time to rise, in act
Of courtesy, a stranger to receive,—
The true original of that photograph,
She wore upon her heart, knelt by her side!
“I come to crave forgivenese!”—he began,—
“Here’s my credential,” (as he in her hand
Placed a certificate of good report,
Of three year’s constancy, in sober life!)
page 79 “And here is this, the produce of my toils,
In three year’s business, still on the increase;”
He said, (as in her lap, he threw a bulk
Of weighty gold!) “Now, may I be forgiv’n?
Not only this intrusion, but the last
Indignity Ioffer’d to thy heart!—
See, this is the result of thy rebuke;
And that my thanks, Amelia! Let me ask,
Will you be mine? Then round her neck he flung
His arms impressing on her blushing cheek
Affections best expression!— She, o’ercome
With sweet surprize at this unlook’d-for joy,
Could only in his ear breath simple “Yea!—
But not for this thy gold, or all thou hast;
But for that principle, thou hast display’d,
In the forsaking of the evil way;
And this thy love, above all price esteem’d!”
Poetry; Philosophy*What need the Muse say further, than declare
“Here isTrue Lovetriumphant in its TRUTH!!”
—This day, three years back, should have been the time
For nuptial union; now, no time is lost
page 80 To have completed what might then have been
A good example this; to shun the woes’
Which rise from indiscretion in one’s choice,
Where fore-thought’s nill; bad habits unreform’d
At first, must prove the curse to wedded life!
SocietyMatilda was a farmer’s only child,
Grown into womanhood. She had a mind
Superior to her age, and class ’mong whom
She dwelt; and was in every respect
Both comely, modest, prudent, free from pride,
So kindly frank, and of industrious ways!—
Her Mother weak and sickly; quite unfit
Was she, the household duties to attend,
So, left all to her daughter; who with will
The work perform’d, and Mother kept at ease.
Her Father was a Yeoman, owning land,
Some hundred fertile acres, once the pride
page 81 Of all the country round for being till’d!
He once was well to do: but had of late
Grown negligent, and careless; given to drink;
And had sunk to a sad degraded state.—
The work remain,d neglected,—out of time,—
Nor call,d he in the aid of labouring men,
So that affairs to rain seem’d to go!
Matilda’s eyes were open to such things;
They grieved her much, and set her mind to work
If possible, th’ estate from wreck to save!
Society; Love; PerceptionThe neighbouring swains who some pretensions had
To her equalty in outward things,
Would all her worth acknowledge, fain would bow
Allegiance to her will: but her keen eye,
In them, decern’d what would not suit her aims:
Their habits could not be to hers conform’d;
And therefore could no favour with her gain!
But there was one, on whom she cast her eye,
A servant ploughman, active in his ways,
Sober, industrious, and of comely mein,
As manly, with an air of self-respect;
page 82 Yet unobtrusive; knowing well his place:
He also felt for her a kind regard,
But conscious, he had nought to correspond
With her estate, would no advances make!—
Though oft they pass’d each other on the road,
Yet correspondence never had begun,
Save that they blest each other in their hearts!
Though etiquette would not allow that she
Should be the first speak; while he in turn
Would dread the pain of being met with scorn,
Should he presume to offer an address;
Still in their hearts Love to’ards each other grew;
Though under check, yet time shall bring it out!
She watch’d him narrowly,—observed his ways
And saw how actively he did his work
While of such vigilance he nothing knew:
LoveHe grew the beau-ideal of her heart,
On whom she could all confidence bestow!
Thus much impressed; and on the state of things
Around her as she look’d, she felt agrieved;—
The fences out of order,—gates unhiged,—
page 83 The ditches full of weeds;—the land untill’d,—
And Father drunken,—no one to attend
To keep things right, and means are getting low—
(She felt it most heart-rending!)—prospect sad
Of wreck and ruin coming on apace!—
“Ah, this will never do!” at length she sigh’d;
“To get a servant, who no interest has
In aught he does, whom one might scarcely trust,
With no one as his master to attend,
Or give instructions needful for the work,
Would be of little use!—What must be done?”
Society; Imagination; Religion; Change; ProsperityThe matter much she ponder’do’er and o’er,
And in connection, on the ploughman thought;
For, when comparing things as they appear’d,
To what her fancy—no vain fancy this—
Would picture forth beneath the care of him
She cherish in her heart,—the ploughman George!
—She could not but feel trammel’d by the force
Of such untoward ettiquette, and sigh,
“Oh! could we come to conversation,—then
My heart would feel releived; or know the worst
page 84 Should my bold offer not accepted be!—
May Heaven bless the purpose of my heart,
In having him to work the change desired,
From ruin to prosperity and joy!”—
Such were the secret counsels of her heart;
And such her prayer, which soon met a reply!
One day she went to market to transact
Some household errand; she was cleauly clad,
Though simply, (without any view of aught
That might occur, of interesting kind:)
In russet gown, checked apron, and white hood,
With basket on her arm.—Her business done,
She homeward was returning. When, it happ’d
She saw George on the way, in his shirt sleeves,
With plough-gear on his shoulder, for repair,
Proceeding to the smithy, coming on:
And ere they met, her mind she now made up
To break through etiquette, and be the first
To speak, should be as formerly refrain,—
They met; (She stood.) “Good morning sir,” she said.
“Good moorning! Miss.” was his reply: he stood,
page 85 And on her look’d with a most kindly eye,
Pleased with the salutation!—She, in heart
Rejoiced! now courage took, and thus began:
“No doubt you think me bold to hail you thus;
But I have got a reason thus to act:
I long have wish’d to be on speaking terms
With you; and wish’d that you would first begin;
But since such has not been, I have begun,
And hope there’s no offence!”
He answer’d “I feel happy, that you have
On me bestow’d the privilege to become
Acquainted with you. Often have I felt
A mind to speak, but could not dare aspire,
Lest such presumption should be met with scorn.”
“Now that the ice is broke,” she interposed,
“I do feel more at liberty to speak,
As now a farther offer I shall make;—
(She paused, with downcast look, as mental pray’r
Her thoughts engaged; then ask’d with bated voice,
And flutt’ring heart,—her modesty thus tried!)
page 86 Would you wish to be married?—Now you look
Amazed!—But hear me farther. Long I’ve look’d
On you as one whom I could truly love;
And such as you my lands require to take
Their management: for Father is as one
Gone out of place; I’m sorry thus to speak;
Such is my case; if you will master be,
I’m willing to be mistress!—There’s my hand,
And with it have my heart!’
He took her hand
Within his fervent grip; while his eye shone
With manly feeling’s moist!—“I do accept
Your love above aught else! You make my heart
Rejoiced at such an unexpected gift!”
Was his reply:—“I’m willing to become
Your help-mate and protection;—do my best
To further all your interests as mine own!—
When may our union your convenienc suit?”
“Just now!” she said: “No time there is to lose!
If we’re agreed in other things, in this,
Let no objections be.—Then, home with me
page 87 You’ll come;—sign’d, seal’d, deliver’d as mine own,
And master of the place!”
So’ forth they weut,
Each equally rejoicod at such their hap;
While on one shoulder, he, his plough-gear bore
More lightly,— basket on his other arm,—
She in her heart thank’d Heaven for this success
Toward th’ accomplishment of all her aims;
They to the nearest magistrate applied
(Who was the ploughman’s master, thus surprised,)
For licence, and were married in due form!
All other matters soon became arranged;
Nor was she disappointed in her choice:
For, what before to ruin seem’d to tend’
Was soon transformed to order worth to see!
Her home became a place of true delight,
Despite the Father’s anger at such change;
(His petulence was short; ere three months went,
Delirium-tremens closed his life’s carreer.)
Love, hidden long, became a truthreveal’d:
And all who knew her much her courage praised!
page 88 LoveThe sickly Mothercheer’d by such a change;
Caused by her Daughter’s prudence, felt revived;
And saw her second Grand-son six months old!
To some, this may look something like romance;
But there was study deep, to find the worth
Of such a choice: and reasons good, which urged
The bold resolve;—much caution had she shewn,
Before she spoke the feelings of her heart,
And closed in with her favour’d ploughman George.
LoveMay now the Muse Love in romance pourtray:
And be such like a Pharos set on high,
To warn the wayward from the dangerous rocks,
Where others have made shipwreck of themselves!
Fair Helen was a family pet, beloved
By all the family circle, from the Sire,
Down to the youngest child, which number’d seven.
LoveShe was the eldest, and had reach’d the state
Of interesting womanhood, and shew’d
A preposessing mein, both frank and gay;
Along with such sweet looks, which best attract
Th’ admiring eye of others,—of young men,
page 89 Who now a void within themselves descry,
Inducing them to look beyond, in search
Of that companionship, which best can fill
The void discover’d;—yes’ she felt alike
The same desire en-animate her heart,
Which made her study. how she best her charms
Could make tell on admirers; thus to gain
By art, their fond attentions, as such were
The greatest good, her nature could acheive!
Education; Morality; SocietyHer parents fond felt even charm’d themselves
With her appearance; and fond hopes indulged.
That she might meet some lover of some note,
Above their sphere of life, though even that
Was of no humble grade; as fit were they
To give her education meet t’adorn
That sphere of life, they hoped she might attain—
Even the best a boarding school could give!
Yet, all the education she received
Could not put prudence in her pride-full heart;
Nor yet give grace, to conquer that self-will,
For which she was pre-emiment, above!
page 90 Her peers; for that tuition, had, was not
Of that domestic kind, which gives its strength
To check the growth of pride, that bane of worth
In ev’ry personal charm; replacing such
With sweet discretion, and humilty,
Which best alike all grades of life adorn!
But rather, such tuition gave her mind
A wayward cast she could not overcome,
Where due religious training was at fault;
Which render’d nill her school’d accomplishments.
Much of her time was spent in the pursuit
Of pleasures vain, and reading French romance;
Such, of a kind, agreeing with the bent
Of dispositions living in her heart
Uncheck’d, unqualified by sober truth!—
Education; FutureSuch a fair pourtrait of gay Helen’s mind;
And such the cultivation it received;
Such, the foundation laid, on which to rear
The simple structure of her after-life!
Of fond admirers. not a few had she:
With some, her parents would have been content,
page 91 Though in them expectations were not reach’d:—
But from them she no counsel would receive;
“The dictum of my own mind is my guide;”
She would reply, with an uncourteous air;
“And that I mean to follow!” —So she placed
Her choice upon a swain, much like herself,
For high-flown fancies,—full of self-esteem,—
As like to like are oft together drawn,
No matter what the consequence might be!
PoetryHe, high-school bred, with expectations high,
Well qualified for business life,—possess’d
Of such abilities, which made him think
Himself, as worthy of the Muse’s care.—
As Burns the Poet, much he would admire,
So would he judge himself a Poet too:
And strive to imitate his strain, as that
Should prove him of his class,—“a worthy one,”—
As mocking birds would imitate all sounds,
Which meet their ear, though from the mark, awry
Of genuine worth, and sweetness of song!
Society; LoveHis habits were not overstrict, save when
page 92 He would maintain ‘ ’twas manly to debauch;’—
’Twas‘life’ to be ’mid company of the wild,
And profligate;—and ev’n to be profane,
Was no way out of place; but quite the thing,
To be accounted ‘famous’—full of spirit!
Though such the custom of his caste and times,
Such was the one, who gain’d on her esteem:
His off-hand wit, such as it was, so pleased
Her fancy, that she thought him all-in-all,
For cleverness; and far above compare
With any other of more sober mood!
Besides, all his connections were above
The common level; he, much like herself
Well read in Novels, and could well recite
Sweet passages most pleasing to her ear,
All heart-inspiring; in full unison
With that fond ardour he for her display’d!
At such, her choice, her Parents felt aggrieved,
And would endeavour to dissuade her mind
From a connection not to be approved.—
But she, self-will’d, the more they would dissuade.
page 93 The more she’d fix upon him as her own;
While she maintain’d her mind was for herself’
And by that she’ll be guided, come what will!—
Aye! So it was at length:—the grand romance,
Of an elopement must be the result,
T’ escape the good sense of her best of friends!
(But since distinctions aim’d at, of a kind
Which worldly minds most prize; and in a way,
Which sober christian prudence would condemn;
No wonder that the fancied mark is miss’d,
Quite over-shot, the aim so much awry.
Thus were her Parents foil’d in what they hoped
From fancied promise Helen gave in charms,
And best of worldly training; when they found
Their counsels nill, where self-will reigns supreme!)
*How blind is Love romantic! when ’tis bent
On its own ruin.—’Tis as Heaven’s curse
Were in-wrought with all actions and all aims,
Though to the fancy pleasing; as to lead
Th’ infatuated victim to her doom!—
Such a Romance was pleasing to them both;
page 94 In which, to be conspicuous, they agreed
To act the living drama—beat th’ adepts
Who gay romance, as virtue, would declare
So, on a night appointed, to the arms
Of her true lover, (?) came she forth, from out
Her chamber window, as with such eclat,
Which all romantic spirits might applaud!
No wonder that the roses shed their leaves,
As she brush’d past them, ’twas as if they wept
At such untoward conduct thus display’d!
Perception; Morality; SocietyIn her own estimation, this was quite
A virtuous act: and his for gallantry,
Was not to be surpass’d; however much
For prudence, or discretion, both were void.—
How self-esteem would prompt the mind to think
Its self-will’d actions are of virtue’s class,
And worthy admiration; howe’er much
They’re reprehensive,—quite to be condemn’d!
The fond romancing lovers thought themselves
Most virtuous ones; their deed, a true-love’s act:
While others look’d upen it with disgust!
A peerless goddess, for a short time, she
Was in his estimation: still that love,
Of which he much profess’d, had not the power
To win him from his rakish habits; or
Implant new principles within him;—which
Declared the truth, or falsity it bore!
Discovering now her folly, when, too late,
Disown’d by all her friends, she felt the change;
A strange reaction on her spirits weighed,
From gaiety, to sullenness, and gloom.
Oft left alone, while he debauch’d elsewhere,
’Mid boon companions in the social club;
With business oft neglected, gone awry;
Thus, former gilded fancies disappear’d,
When not a wreck, to cheer, was left behind!
Though to her lot submissive, such had quite
A pow’rful influence o’er her, to affect
Her heart with woe’s progression! Thus brought low:—
Low in position, when compared to that
Once held:—and low circumstances:—low
In estima imation of all former friends:—
page 96 And low in spirits!—Thus subdued, and lorn,
When all comparisons were closely drawn;—
Yes sad was the result of her career:
Ere she could give a third expected birth,
She glided down into an early tomb!
Love; PhilosophySuch is but a mere sample of Romance,
And its attending consequence; though more
In varied natures, and degrees, could tell
Each its own tale of sorrows, and regrets;
But may this serve to brighten up this truth,
“When fancy, pride and self-will must combine
Their strength ’gainst reason, and experience wise,
No good can thence result!” Now let the Muse
Content with such, and haste to other themes,
Demanding due attention in this song!