Jane Cave, “On the Marriage of a Lady, to whom the Author was Bride-Maid”


“On the Marriage of a LADY, to whom the Author was Bride-Maid”


As the light bark on the tempestuous sea,
Toss’d to and fro, from dangers never free;
Dismay’d with fear, and mov’d with ev’ry blast,
Till in a port her anchor’s firmly cast;
So oft is mov’d Man’s fluctuating mind,                                          5
Till it in wedlock a safe anchor find;
Here, if the soul but meets her destin’d mate,
Her joys are full, her happiness compleat.

Be this your happy lot, my lovely friend,
Whose nuptial rites I this glad morn attend;                                  10
Whose humble, gentle mind for peace was born,
Whom virtue, love, and innocence adorn.
Celestial graces dignify thy soul,
While pure religion all thy ways controul.
These noble virtues, which in thee abound,                                   15
Are haply in thy lov’d PHILANDER found.
His heart sincere, his temper soft and mild,
Nor torn by anger, nor with art beguil’d.
Such gentle hearts alone should join their hands,
And find that Hymen’s chains are silken bands.                             20
Their emulation’s not who’ll reign supreme,
But who shall love the most, —be most serene.
Remote from vanity and worldly toys,
Each seeks with each for more substantial joys.
Tranquillity shall in their borders dwell,                                           25
Nor discord once approach their peaceful cell,
But mutually each other’s grief they’ll bear,
As mutually each other’s joys will share.

Thus, thus, my friend, may you for ever prove,
The soft delight of harmony and love;                                              30
May ev’ry blessing you can ask of Heav’n,
To constitute your happiness be giv’n.
If Heav’n bestows, with joy receive the prize,
If Heav’n withholds, ’tis best what Heav’n denies.
Thus sweetly may you pass your future life,                                    35
Nor once repent that you became a wife;
That you declin’d the pleasing name of B——M,
And that alone preferr’d of H—RAG—M.


16 PHILANDER Pastoral name for a male lover.

20 Hymen “In Greek and Roman mythology: The god of marriage, represented as a young man carrying a torch and veil” (OED).

37-38 B—M…H—RAG—M Identified in a later edition as “Bloom” and “Harragoom” respectively (Poems on Various Subjects, Entertaining, Elegiac, and Religious, fourth edition [Bristol, 1794], p. 21). Neither name appears in the lengthy list of subscribers included with the 1783 first edition.

Source: Poems on Various Subjects: Entertaining, Elegiac, and Religious (Winchester, 1783), pp. 21-24.  [Google Books]

Edited by Audry Hernandez

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