Port Talbot Poems in the Montreal Scribbler

By Adam Hood Burwell



A Paraphrase from the Economy of Human Life, humbly inscribed     to the fair readers of The Scribbler.

Daughter of love! give ear! ’tis prudence calls;
She asks thee to attend to her instructions:
Then let her precepts sink deep in thy heart,
And there deposit thou the words of truth:
So shall the charms that dignify thy mind,


Add lustre to thy form; and like the rose,
Thy beauty shall retain its sweetness, when
Its bloom is wither’d. In the spring of life,
The morning of thy days, when all thy charms
Conspire to draw the gaze of men upon thee,


Whose eager eyes enkindle with desire,
And nature prompts the meaning of their looks,
Ah! hear with caution their seducing words;
Guard well thy heart, nor listen to the tongue,
That drops the pleasant manna of persuasion.


Remember thou art made —not for the slave
Of passions vehement and base, to yield
To all th’ incitements of unlawful love;
But for the nearest bosom friend of man,
His dear companion, to assist him in


The rugged ways of life, to soothe him with
Thy tenderness, and recompense his cares
With al the soft endearments of affection.
     O, who is she that wins the heart of man,
Subdues to love, and reigns within his breast?


Lo! yonder, she is maiden sweetness walks,
In all the blooming loveliness of youth,
With innocence the inmate of her bosom,
And “downcast modesty” upon her cheek.
At home, her thrifty hand employment finds;


Her foot delighteth not to gad abroad;
Her mantle, neatness, o’er her shoulders throws,
And temperance her daily table spreads:
Humility and meekness, as a crown
Of glory, circle and adorn her head:


Her voice is melody, and from her lips
Drop the mild answers of ingenuous truth;
Submission and obedience are the lessons
Of all her actions; **peace and happiness [Page 52]
Are her reward. Before her, walketh prudence,


And handmaid virtue, at her right, attends;
Her eye beams softness, gentleness, and love;
Discretion plants her sceptre on her brow;
And in her presence, the licentious tongue
Is mute with reverence, and dumb with awe.


When busy scandal marks his victim, if
Goodnatured charity guide not her speech,
The seal of silence watches on her lip:
Her breast, the mansion is of goodness, whence
Her generous heart suspects no ill of others.


Happy the man, that shall possess thy love!
Happy the child, to whom thou shalt be mother!
     She rules her house, therefore therein is peace:
Commands with judgment, and she is obey’d:
Domestic cares engross her whole attention,


In which her mind is actively employed;
While elegance join’d with frugality,
Display her prudent management; her husband
Sees himself honour’d in his house, and hears
Her praises with ineffable delight:


Her children’s minds bend to her wise direction:
She moulds their manners, by her own example;
Her word informs them in the paths of duty;
Her eye directs, and joyful, they obey:
She speaks —her servants fly; commands —’tis done;


Because, deep in their hearts, she writes the law
Of love, which addeth wings unto their feet:
She bears prosperity with equal mind;
She healeth sorrow, with the balm of patience;
She binds misfortune with the words of love;


While her fond husband trusts to her his heart,
And hides his secrets in her faithful bosom.
Happy the man, that hath made her his wife!
Happy the child, that calleth her his mother!




Port Talbot, U.C. [Page 53]


* This poem appeared in The Scribbler (Montreal), II, 353-355, (5 December, 1822). [back]

** [The Poet’s Note]:
       “Start not, my fair one, woman lovely is,
       But in meek, unpresuming, loveliness.” [back]