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A poem by James Parkerson

An Address, &c.;

Title:     An Address, &c.;
Author: James Parkerson [More Titles by Parkerson]

Believe me, Sir; I do these lines impart
With every pang that can corrode the heart;
Bring to your mind a dismal scene late past,
And let that guilty Amour be your last.
Think of my friend that was of late so gay,
By your vile arts dishonour’d and away;
From every joy that animates this life,
The tender mother and the happy wife.
A husband’s frowns, a father’s burning tears,
For Stella’s folly much increase their cares.
A brother mourns, in solitude forlorn,
To hear his Stella meet reproof and scorn:
In tears he cries, my sister’s late disgrace
Will plant a stigma on the female race.
Those friends so late that used to Stella stray,
Now bend their courses far another way.
She mourns in privacy her honour flown,
And sighs to find illicit scenes are known.
These sorrowing truths I feelingly renew,
And know, oh guilty man! they rise from you.
Can all your wealth lost honour ever gain?
That, Sir, is scorn’d—it is the impious stain
You’ve brought on Stella, to the end of life,
And robs her all the comforts of a wife.
Abandon’d man you must atone for all,
Ere life is o’er on God for mercy call.
Your mind is harass’d by reflection’s gale,
That oft to you its bitterness exhale:
Tempted by folly every scene pursue,
That dissipation can expose to view.
The softer pleasures that enrich the mind,
That learning dictates, from you lag behind;
Its cruel sport that bears a sov’reign sway,
To them and such like them you waste the day.
Know, Sir, that wealth an’t given to us here,
To bring to infamy the British fair.
Too much, I fear, you wanton hours employ,
The needy woman daily to decoy.
Too many wantons now disgrace this Isle,
Whose bad example off the young beguile;
I hope that plans to stop them will increase,
And her that now is wretched rest in peace.
Your gen’rous family will ever gain,
Affection’s tribute while we life retain:
Pure is the vine, except a leaf or two,
Soon they’ll decay and be no more in view.
Disgrac’d, disown’d, to foreign lands they’ll fly,
The censur’d objects of the Deity.
Wealth cannot stop the torrent of reproach,
Tho’ screen’d from Britons by a gaudy coach;
Its inmate oft tho’ clad in rich array,
Meets hoots and hisses as he rides away;
Till spleen, that canker of the human heart,
Makes him oft wish he could from life depart.
It is a scourge offended laws can’t give,
The worst of torments whilst its object live;
Sometimes it stops our vices as they rise,
While chaster thoughts the wav’ing mind supplies.
Oft does a parent with paternal care,
His only Daughter with affection rear;
Soon as the time arrives his cares to pay,
A vile seducer takes his gem away;—
Wafts her to infamy of every kind,
Then leaves the object with a tortur’d mind.
Still does her heart with pure affection burn,
Wish to a father’s roof again to turn;—
Just at that period—lucre tempts again,
And the weak vessel totters on the main:
She reels, she sinks, from chaste affections view,
To taste the draught of bitterness anew.
Some vile procuress with a demon’s skill,
In a short period gains her to her will;
Till grown familiar to a harlot’s life,
Quote inebriety to banish strife;
Becomes familiar to a vicious plan,
Adds to the charmers in the siren’s den;
To liquor fly to banish thoughts of home,
And nightly forc’d for ways and means to roam.
Sweet health is banish’d and she finds too late,
Some dismal bridewell soon must be her fate;
All means are fled, the staff of life to gain,
To bridewell hurried with remorse and pain.
A pass is granted,—to her father sent,
Where she is foster’d from the element.
A tender parent kiss the long lost child,
Assures forgiveness tho’ by grief turn’d wild.
Soon as the mind to calmer scenes invite,
He bless the hour that brought his lost to sight.
A scene like this came lately to my ear,
I know the parent and his worth revere.
Frequent do parents cause the great distress,
That on their daughters unexpected press.
The mother drains her pockets very low,
That Miss may make a gaudy flippant show;
To country balls she often bends her way,
And is allowed with cards and dice to play.
View but the manners of the modern belle,
And see if they don’t levity foretell:
The bosom oft appears too much in view,
Sweet modesty is forc’d to bid adieu:
To her chaste dictates she cannot attend,
Indeed they do not deem her as a friend.
Mark how they roll their lively eyes about,
Just like her Ladyship when at a rout.
A piece of music next the parlour grace,
While vanity is striding on apace:
So swift she flies that almost time outrun;
By her manœuvres oft the fair’s undone;
Miss cannot look on any but a squire,
Or dress’d up coxcombs, only them admire;
An honest farmer’s son they call a clown,
Likes none but puppies living in a town;
Such creatures, soon as wedded, only strive
How to jog on and keep the game alive:
Careless who suffers if they can but live,
Wanting still more than prudent parents give;
All wishes gratified,—in hopes that Miss
Will soon enjoy the matrimonial bliss.
A prudent living man is known to say,
For me such bawbles dress too fine and gay;
She’d squander money much against my will,
In paying milliner’s enormous bill.
Such conduct in a parent may be wise,
Where good estates can all his wants supplies;
The ill effects that rise from such a plan,
Is were stern poverty assails the man.
Parents there are who often live this way,
Although two shillings in the pound can’t pay.
Soon as their creditors do sharply press,
The lovely maidens feel extreme distress;
No lover then to sooth the drooping eye,
When poverty is seen from them they fly:
Unfit to baffle with the frowns of life,
And greatly more so for to be a wife.
Then does the wealthy Libertine succeed,
Furnish their pockets known to be in need;
Takes Miss from home to grace a chaise and pair,
While the unhappy parents nurse despair.

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James Parkerson's poem: Address, &c;