The air is charged with amatory numbers—
Soft madrigals, and dreamy lovers' lays.
Peace, peace, old heart! Why waken from its slumbers
The aching memory of the old, old days?
Time was, when Love and I were well acquainted.
Time was when we walked ever hand in hand,
A saintly youth, with worldly thought untainted—
None better loved than I in all the land!
Time was, when maidens of the noblest station.
Forsaking even military men,
Would gaze upon me, rapt in adoration—
Ah me, I was a fair young curate then!
Had I a headache? sighed the maids assembled;
Had I a cold? welled forth the silent tear;
Did I look pale? then half a parish trembled;
And when I coughed all thought the end was near!
I had no care no—jealous doubts hung o'er me—
For I was loved beyond all other men.
Fled gilded dukes and belted earls before me—
Ah me, I was a pale young' curate then!
(At the conclusion of the ballad, Mrs. Partlet comes forward with Constance.)
|Mrs. P.||(r. c.) Good day, reverend sir.|
|Dr. D.||(l. c.) Oh, good Mrs. Partlet, I am glad to see you. And your little daughter, Constance! Why, she is quite a little woman, I declare!|
|Con. (c.)||(Aside.) Oh, mother, I cannot speak to him!|
|Mrs. P.||Yes, reverend sir, she is nearly eighteen, and as good a girl as ever stepped. (Aside to Dr. D.) Ah sir, I'm afraid I shall soon lose her!|
|Dr. D.||(Aside to Mrs. P.) Dear me, you pain me very much. Is she delicate?|
|Mrs. P.||Oh, no, sir—I don't mean that—but young girls look to get married.|
|Dr. D.||Oh, I take you. To be sure. But there's plenty of time for that.|
Four or five years hence, Mrs. Partlet, four or five years hence.
But when the time does come, I shall have much pleasure in marrying her myself——
|Con.||(Aside.) Oh mother!|
|Dr. D.||To some strapping young fellow in her own rank of life.|
|Con.||(In tears.) He does not love me!|
|Mrs. P.||I have often wondered, reverend sir (if you'll excuse the liberty), that you have never married.|
|Dr. D.||(Aside). Be still, my fluttering heart!|
|Mrs. P.||A clergyman's wife does so much good in a village. Besides that, you are not so young as you were, and before very long you will want somebody to nurse you, and look after your little comforts.|