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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Georgian Verse. 1909.

The Second Marriage

Samuel Bishop (1731–1795)

‘THEE, Mary, with this ring I wed,’

So, fourteen years ago, I said—

Behold another ring!—‘For what?’

‘To wed thee o’er again—why not?’

With that first ring I married Youth,

Grace, Beauty, Innocence, and Truth;

Taste long admir’d, sense long rever’d,

And all my Molly then appear’d.

If she, by merit since disclosed,

Prove twice the woman I suppos’d,

I plead that double merit now,

To justify a double vow.

Here then, to-day, (with faith as sure,

With ardour as intense and pure,

As when, amidst the rites divine,

I took thy troth, and plighted mine),

To thee, sweet girl, my second ring

A token, and a pledge, I bring;

With this I wed, till death us part,

Thy riper virtues to my heart;

These virtues, which, before untry’d,

The wife has added to the bride;

Those virtues, whose progressive claim

Endearing wedlock’s very name,

My soul enjoys, my song approves,

For Conscience’s sake, as well as Love’s.

For why?—They show me every hour,

Honour’s high thought, affection’s power,

Discretion’s deed, sound Judgment’s sentence,

And teach me all things—but Repentance.