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1 Heigho! I'm wond'rous dull; in truth I'm wond'rous sad
2 Little amusement, and the weather bad;
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3 What shall I do? I'll write Come, ready friend
4 I mean my pen Good folks, I pray attend:
5 Still at a loss, I do not wish to teaze;
6 My muse, assist me teach me how to please
7 My thoughts are free then, fancy, take thy range
8 I'll write my wish no choice pshaw, how I change!
9 Critics, be dumb I will the thought impart,
10 That some kind youth may bid for Anna's heart:
11 He who aspires this little heart to gain,
12 Some decent share of merit must attain;
13 Serene religion must his actions guide,
14 Bright truth, nice honor, o'er his mind preside;
15 Prudence to guide him thro' life's busy scene,
16 Never extravagant, nor ever mean;
17 Let him have sense designing men to see,
18 Enough to rule himself and govern me;
19 To feel for human kind a generous soul,
20 To me devoted, but polite to all;
21 His temper kind of that I must be sure
22 A husband's frown I never could endure;
23 To female weakness mild reproof impart,
24 But with indifference never chill the heart;
25 No foolish fondness should he ever shew,
26 But love refin'd, within his bosom glow;
27 His manner easy, gen'rous, void of art,
28 Let ev'ry word flow candid from the heart;
29 His person pleasing, in his taste refin'd,
30 A face the index of an honest mind;
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31 To jealousy he never must give way,
32 Trust to my honour, and I'll not betray;
33 No flatt'ring fribble shall my hand obtain,
34 Where much is said, there little can remain;
35 A man for riches I can never prize,
36 Let kindness grant what adverse fate denies;
37 I wish not wealth, nor titles do I claim,
38 Only let goodness mark his honest name;
39 To little errors I will kindly bend;
40 His wish, my law, I never will contend;
41 And, should he stray (as none faultless be)
42 Prudence shall veil it; for I will not see:
43 A youth like this to share the cares of life,
44 Shall find in me a kind and faithful wife.
45 Ambitious females in their wealth may glee,
46 Love, worth, and honor, form the heart for me.
47 Methinks ye frown I hear ye loud exclaim,
48 "To hope so much a female is to blame;
49 " In modern days, do you expect to find
50 "Grace, worth, and goodness, with firm honor join'd?
51 " But if so high are your pretensions, tell
52 "What do you boast? in what do you excel?"
53 In great sincerity I now step forth,
54 Confess my merit humble as my worth;
55 I boast no beauty I no graces claim,
56 And all my portion is, a spotless name;
57 Sincere and artless Man exert your skill,
58 With prudent fondness make me what you will.
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59 Blushing, methinks, I hear it said, "No more!
60 " No other claim! truly your merit's poor. "
61 Yet, in life's varying maze, I hope to meet
62 Some kindred heart, unpractis'd in deceit.
63 To prove the tender friend companion wife,
64 Will be the sweetest care of Anna's life;
65 With temper mild, and innocently gay,
66 Submissive gentleness she'll ever pay.
67 My friends, adieu! my hour is past away.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): The CHOICE; or, DULL HOUR PAST.
Genres: heroic couplet

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Source edition

Kelly, Isabella, 1759-1857. Collection of Poems and Fables on Several Occasions. London: W. Richardson, 1794, pp. 5-8. 72p. (ESTC T122123) (Page images digitized from a copy at the British Library.)

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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.

Other works by Isabella Kelly (née Fordyce)