« AnteriorContinuar »
Jul. To wait upon myself! Must I bear this ?
I could tear out my eyes, that bade you woo me,
And bite my tongue in two, for saying yes !
Duke. And, if you should, 'twould grow again.
I think, to be an honest yeoman's wife
(For such, my would-be duchess, you will find me)
You were cut out by nature.
Jul. You will find, then,
That education, sir, has spoilt me for it.
Why! do you think I'll work ?
Duke. I think 'twill happen, wife.
Jul. What! Rub and scrub Your noble palace clean ?
Duke. Those taper fingers Will do it daintily.
Jul. And dress your victuals ? (If there be any).-0! I could go mad!
Duke. And mend my hose, and darn my nightcaps neatly; Wait, like an echo, till you're spoken to
Jul. Or, like a clock, talk only once an hour?
Duke. Or, like a dial; for that quietly Performs its work, and never speaks at all.
Jul. To feed your poultry and your hogs !—0, monstrues!
And, when I stir abroad, on great occasions,
Carry a squeaking tithe-pig to the vicar;
Or jolt with higgler's wives the market trot,
To sell your eggs and butter !
Duke. Excellent !
How well you sum the duties of a wife !
Why, what a blessing I shall have in you !
Jul. A blessing!
Duke. When they talk of you and me, Darby and Joan shall no more be remembered; We shall be happy!
Ju! Shall we?
Duke. Wondrous happy! 0, you will make au admirable wife !
jul. I'll make a vixen!
Jul. A very vixen!
Duke. O, no! We'll have no vixens.
Jul. I'll not bear it!
I'll to my father's !-
Duke. Gently; you forget
You are a perfect stranger to the road.
Jul. My wrongs will find a way, or make one !
You stir not hence, except to take the air;
And then I'll breathe it with you.
Jul. What I-confine me?
Duke. 'Twould be unsafe to trust you get abroad.
Jul. Am I a truant schoolboy ?
Duke. Nay, not so;
But you must keep your bounds.
Jul. And, if I break them,
Perhaps, you'll beat me.
Duke. Beat you!
The man that lays his hand upon a woman,
Save in the way of kindness, is a wretch
Whom 'twere gross flattery to name a coward.
I'll talk to you, lady, but not beat you.
Jul. Well, if I may not travel to my father,
I may write to him, surely !-And I will —
If I can meet within your spacious dukedom,
Three such unhoped-for miracles, at once,
As pens, and ink, and paper.
Duke. You will find them
In the next room. A word before you go.
You are my wife, by every tie that's sacred;
The partner of my fortune and
Jul. Your fortune!
Duke. Peace !-No fooling, idle woman! Beneath the attesting eye of Heaven I've sworn To love, to honor, cherish, and protect you.
No human power can part us. What remains, then ?
To fret, and worry and torment each other,
And give a keener edge to our hard fate,
By sharp upbraidings, and perpetual jars ?-
Or, like a loving and a patient pair
(Waked from a dream of grandeur, to depend
Upon their daily labor for support),
To soothe the taste of fortune's lowliness
With sweet consent, and mutual fond endearment?
Now to your chamber,—write whate'er you please;
But pause before you stain the spotless paper
With words that may inflame, but cannot heal!
Jul. Why, what a patient worm you take me for!
Duke. I took you for a wife; and, ere I've done, l'll know you for a good one.
Jul. You shall know me
For a right woman, full of her own sex;
Who, when she suffers wrong, will speak her anger;
Who feels her own prerogative, and scorns,
By the proud reason of superior man,
To be taught patience, when her swelling heart
Cries out revenge!
Duke. Why, let the flood rage on!
There is no tide in woman's wildest passion
But hath an ebb.-I've broke the ice, however.
Write to her father !-She may write a folio;
But, if she send it !'Twill divert her spleen,
The flow of ink may save her blood-letting.
Perchance she may have fits !—They are seldom mortal
Save when the doctor's sent for.
Though I have heard some husbands say, and wisely,
A woman's honor is her safest guard,
Yet there's some virtue in a lock and key. [Locks the door
So, thus begins our honey-moon.— 'Tis well !
For the first fortnight, ruder than March winds,
She'll blow a hurricane. The next, perhaps,
Like April, she way wear a changeful face
Of storm and sunshine; and, when that is past,
She will break glorious as unclouded May;
And, where the thorns grew bare, the spreading blossoms
Meet with no lagging frost to kill their sweetness.
Whilst others, for a month's delirious joy,
Buy a dull age of penance, we, more wisely,
Taste first the wholesome bitter of the cup,
That after to the very lees shall relish;
And, to the close of this frail life, prolong
The pure delights of a well-governed marriage.
The story so charmingly told in the following lines of Tennyson, 18 said to have had a foundation in the actual history of an old English family. It presents a scene the exact opposite of that in the Exercise preceding; seeing that here an humble, unaspiring spirit is suddenly surprised into social position and circumstances undesired and overpowering. For a Note on Tennyson, see Exercise LVIII.
In her ear he whispers gayly,-
“If my heart by signs can tell,
Maiden, I have watched thee daily,
And I think thou lov'st me well.”
She replies, in accents fainter, -
“There is none I love like thee."
He is but a landscape painter,
And a village maiden she.
He to lips, that fondly falter,
Presses his, without reproof;
Leads her to the village altar,
And they leave her father's roof.
“I can make no marriage present;
Little can I give my wife;
Love will make our cottage pleasant,
And I love thee more than life.”
They, by parks and lodges going,
See the lordly castles stand;
Summer woods, about them blowing,
Made a murmur in the land.
From deep thought himself he rouses,
Says to her that loves him well,-
“Let us see these handsome houses,
Where the wealthy nobles dwell.”. So she goes, by him attended,
Hears him lovingly converse, Sees whatever fair and splendid
Lay betwixt his home and hers; Parks with oak and chestnut shady,
Parks and ordered gardens great; Ancient homes of lord and lady,
Built for pleasure and for state.
All he shows her makes him dearer;
Evermore she seems to gaze
On that cottage, growing nearer,
Where they twain will spend ther days. O, but she will love him truly;
He shall have a cheerful home; She will order all things duly,
When beneath his roof they come Thus her heart rejoices greatly,
Till a gateway she discerns, With armorial bearings stately,
And beneath the gate she turns,