A Dialogue.

1 A Country Gentleman of late,
2 Of honest fame and good estate,
3 Who with a Sober virtuous Wife,
4 For many Years had led his life;
5 Walk'd in the Fields to take the Air,
6 And chanc'd to meet his Neighbour there,
7 A Gentleman of good degree,
8 Polite, and gay, of humour free;
9 Who long had been to love inclin'd,
10 But ne'er cou'd fix his wav'ring mind,
11 And being met at his desire,
12 They to his Neighbouring house retire;
13 A Rural Seat, which for long Space
14 Had gone in the Paternal race,
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15 There in the Hall they both regale
16 With generous Wine and Nappy Ale,
17 Until the Evening being come,
18 The Guest talk'd of Returning home.
19 My Dearest Wife will think, said he,
20 That Some mishap has fall'n on me.
21 His friend reply'd, with scornful air,
22 I thank my Stars I've no such care;
23 Long, as I please, abroad I stay,
24 And Seldom ask what time of day:
25 I game and quaff away the Night,
26 And reel to Bed at Morning light;
27 Thus I pursue my pleasure free,
28 And have no Wife to rail at me:
29 Such fatal Curbs I cannot bear,
30 And therefore took a prudent care,
31 To Shun the Matrimonial Snare.
32 His friend reply'd with chearful voice
33 I never did repent my choice,
34 I wou'd not have the Golden Chain,
35 Of Hymen be unlink'd again.
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36 Nor wou'd I leave my Dearest Wife,
37 To gain the greatest good of life:
38 Long as I please abroad I bide,
39 And do not fear my Wife will chide,
40 For she is So obliging, I
41 Take pleasure in her company:
42 Her kind advice she doth impart,
43 And by her prudence gains my heart;
44 While you abroad unsettled roam
45 For want of such a Spouse at home;
46 Tis an unhappy life you lead,
47 No faithful Friend in time of need:
48 Thus, Shou'd you die, you'd leave no Son,
49 To take your place when you are gone.
50 That's more, my friend, than you do know
51 I may have Sons and Daughters too,
52 Without the trouble of a Wife
53 I can enjoy the Sweets of life,
54 To marry I shall make no haste,
55 Variety doth please my taste,
56 Your counsel doth not please my mind,
57 Because I hate to be confin'd.
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58 It may indeed, my friend, be So,
59 You may have Sons and Daughters too,
60 But if you have, you must be blam'd,
61 And of your Offspring be asham'd,
62 While Sober men their Children prize,
63 Your Progeny you Basterdize,
64 Of such you have no cause to boast;
65 Your race extinct, and name quite lost;
66 For while you thus with harlots rove
67 You never know the Sweets of love,
68 Nor taste those comforts that attend
69 A Virtuous Wife, and faithful friend,
70 When I with any crosses meet
71 I to my Dearest Spouse retreat,
72 Whose prudent counsel has the Art
73 To ease my care, and chear my heart,
74 She doth all ways and means improve
75 To rule the House in Peace and love
76 Her mild commands and gentle Sway
77 Her Servants willingly obey;
78 Thus by her prudent management,
79 My life's a Scene of true content.
80 Indeed, my Friend, if this be so,
81 You are the happiest Man I know.
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82 For you enjoy I plainly find,
83 The Phoenix of the Female kind;
84 Surely there are but very few
85 Cou'd justly boast as now you do,
86 If I cou'd meet with such a Wife,
87 Myself wou'd chuse a marry'd life.
88 My Friend, if I may speak my mind,
89 As Virtuous Wives are hard to find,
90 I think it equally as true,
91 That loving Husbands are so too
92 I wish that man wou'd know his place,
93 As Lord of the created race,
94 Vicegerent of this spacious ball,
95 A Shining light observ'd by all;
96 Wise in his conduct he wou'd be,
97 A Pattern to his Family,
98 And by his own Example lead
99 His Spouse the path wherein to tread:
100 Wou'd he to her himself approve,
101 And ever bear a constant love,
102 I am persuaded we shou'd find
103 Most Women virtuous, just and kind.
104 In bodies natural, we see
105 If once the Head distemper'd be,
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106 The curious fabrick feels the Smart,
107 And bears by Sympathy a part;
108 In bodies Politick the Same,
109 Then can we think our Wives to blame,
110 If they shou'd blindly venture on
111 Those vicious ways ourselves have gone;
112 But where strict virtue bears the Sway,
113 That virtue cannot lead astray.
114 When mild reproofs have little force
115 To check a Husband's vicious course,
116 A Wife provok'd, with rage and fear,
117 May utter truth he hates to hear.
118 But now before I make an end,
119 Let me advise you as a friend,
120 To chuse a Consort that may be
121 A blessing to your Family.
122 But let not wealth or grandeur move
123 To wed with one you cannot love,
124 No doubt but you a Girl may find
125 To bring you Gold and please your mind;
126 But if it otherwise should prove
127 Set Money by and wed for love,
128 A Pleasant, chaste, and comely Dame,
129 Of good descent and honest fame;
130 All other Objects banish quite
131 And fix on her your whole delight;
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132 Let words and actions still commend
133 Yourself to be her faithful friend;
134 Then be assur'd you'll not complain
135 Of want of due respect again.
136 My friend, shou'd I be rul'd by you,
137 I to all joys must bid adieu
138 And that which most of all does grieve,
139 My old companions I must leave,
140 Those jovial Sparks I plainly See
141 Offensive to a Wife will be,
142 And if they shou'd not, I confess
143 My trouble will be ne'er the less;
144 For when they at my House appear
145 I of my brows shall Stand in fear;
146 Therefore I think I must go on
147 To live as I've already done.
148 If jealousy your mind possess,
149 You'll ne'er be happy I confess,
150 But Sure with care you may prevent,
151 The causes of such discontent,
152 If you are constant in your love,
153 Your Wife will hardly ever rove,
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154 And for your jovial Company,
155 Whate'er you have been let them See,
156 To virtue's rules your Strict conformity.
157 If they their wicked courses hold,
158 You friendship quickly will grow cold,
159 If they reform the case is clear,
160 Of them you need not stand in fear;
161 And thus you may prevent all Strife
162 And lead a Sweet contented life.
163 My loving friend, I plainly See
164 Good counsel you have given me,
165 And now my friend, I freely own,
166 My former courses past and gone,
167 Did for a moment please the mind,
168 But leave a bitter Sting behind;
169 Altho' my bloom of life be past,
170 I hope I shall reform at last.
171 But first my care shall be apply'd
172 To chuse a virtuous loving Bride,
173 And So behave to her that we
174 May live in love and unity,
175 So may we find our Joys increase,
176 For Virtue's ways are paths of peace.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): The HAPPY HUSBAND, And The OLD BATCHELOR. A Dialogue.
Author: Mary Collier
Genres: dialogue

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Source edition

Collier, Mary, c.1690-c.1762. Poems, on Several Occasions, by Mary Collier, Author of the Washerwoman's Labour, with some remarks on Her Life. Winchester: Printed by Mary Ayres; for the Author. MDCCLXII., 1762, pp. []-40. 68p. (ESTC T125590)

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Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. This ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.