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you; and, should I marry Sir William, it is only because I chuse rather to make myself unhappy than my father.
Welf. Superior goodness! Surely he will not make you miserable, who are so afraid of making him so ! And he is too wise to think all happiness confined to greatness.
Observe the fragrant blushing Rose,
Tho' in the humble vale it spring,
As in the garden of a king :
I will go this instant to him, and try how far I can prevail. I hope your wishes will be in my favour.
Bessy. Go. I dare not wish, lest they should be too much so. For how strongly soever I may be determined to obey my father, I fear lest love should steal away my heart in spite of duty.
SCENE II. Bethnal Green.
Enter the Blind BEGGAR led in by a Boy.* Beggar. So, boy, we are at our journey's end I find: come, stay by me, there's a good boy. Sing thine accustom'd song.
Boy. O yes. For, if it delights you to hear it, it delights me to sing it, and it often makes the passengers stop to listen to it, and then few pass on without giving us at least a trifle.
* See the Editor's Preface, p. 202.
Relieve a Beggar, blind and old,
Who charity doth crave;
In comely curls do wave;
Your sight and wealth to save, '
[During this Song Passengers enter and listen ; and, the Song being done, some give money and pass on.]
A PASSENGER crosses the Stage.
Pass. I have nothing for you, friend. One cannot stir a step without being plagued with the cant of beggars. 'Tis an infamous thing in a trading country, that the poor are not some way or other employed. (Exit.
Beggar. I am afraid that some of the rich are em:ployed full as ill; and, what is still worse, the poor are not the only beggars. Wants, real or imaginary, reach all states; and, as some beg in rags, there are some not asham'd to beg even in lace and velvet. How large a proportion of mankind are beggars in some shape
* This stanza is taken from one which was repeated by Mr. GUTHRIE TO BISHOP PERCY, as the only one which
one which he remembered of a much older Ballad on the story of the Blind Beggar than that given by Bp. P. It is preserved in the Introduction to the Ballad,
or other !'those only are scandalous ones, who beg by impudence what they should earn by merit.
If honest and free from offence ;
How many would beggars commence !
Divines might apply for more grace,
Young soldiers for prudence might call ;
Enter a Second PASSENGER. - Beggar. Pray, Sir! Old and blind
2nd. Pass. Indeed, friend, there are old and distressed enough about me, with whose distresses and honesty I am acquainted, to take all I can spare, without giving to casual beggars. .
[Exit. Beggar. Alas! I doubt it not.*
Enter a Third PASSENGER. L. Beggar. Pray remember the blind!
3 Pass. So, neighbour, you are got to your old seat this afternoon.
* Io a Note to the Song of The Beggar Girl, printed in the third volume of my Collection, (p. 304) it is there said, that " The Edi“ ditor does not, hy any means, wish to inculcate alms-giving to “ beggars as a general principle. On the contrary, he thinks ihat " the general rule should be not to give; but he, who makes no ex'“ ceptions to this rule, as society is now circumstanced, will fail to “ relieve many real objects of charity.” To these sentiments (writ. ten upwards of four years ago) I still acquiesce ; though I have heard many strong arguments for a more rigid conduct towards strol. ling beggars, and wish to refer the reader to EDINGTON: A Novel. By Richard Hey, Esq. Vol. I. Ch. 11. in which the subject is placed in a very striking point of view,
In the present instance, real, or supposed, History is represented to the reader, or hearer; and the propriety of giving or with hold. ing alms is recommended to his cousideration.
Beggar. Is not that my neighbour Greenfield ? : 3 Pass. Ay.
Beggar. You have been in town, I suppose, what news?
3 Pass. I hear none, but that the Earl of Essex is dead this morning.
Beggar. The Earl of Essex dead! That's greater news to me than you imagine.
3 Pass. I hope it is not bad. Beggar. No.
3 Pass. Here's my Lord Ranby seems to be coming this way; as if he wanted to speak with you. .
Beggar. Does he? Well, I am prepar'd for him. This worthy man is one of those who has the goodness, because he thinks me poor, to solicit me to prostitute my daughter, and sell her virtue for his borrow'd gold.
3 Pass. Very charitable truly! and I don't doubt but you'll thank him as he deserves. Good bye. Beggar. I wish you a good walk. [Exit Pass.
Enter Lord Ranby.
Ranby. Well, honest beggar, have you thought of the proposals I made when I saw you last?
Beggar. Yes, I have thought of you and your proposals, with contempt.
Ranby. With contempt!
Ranby. Hark ye, old fellow, were it not for your daughter, your age should not protect your insolence.
Beggar. And, were it not for my age and condition, young fellow, your quality should not detain me to hear your insolence! Nor should your true character remain unknown to those whom it might concern. I'd have thee know, proud lord, my birth is at least equal to thine; and, tho' now a beggar, I have not yet disgrac'd my family, as thou hast done. Go home, young man, and pay your debts, it will more become you than this infamous errand.
Ranby. 'Tis very well :: but I shall perhaps make you repent this freedom.
Beggar. Repent your own follies, child; no honest freedom ought to be repented of.
Ranby. You are a brave fellow!
Ranby. The old wretch confounds me so, I don't know what to say. [Aside. I shall take a course with you, Sir, for this impudence.
Beggar. An idle course you have taken all your life; be wise and mend it.
Ranby. Why should I talk to such a creature? I must have his daughter however; and, since fair means won't prevail, foul must..
[Exit. Beggar. What strange creatures are the greatest part of mankind! What a composition of contradictions ! Always pursuing happiness, yet generally thro' such ways as lead to misery: admiring every virtue in others, indulging themselves in every vice: fond of fame, yet labouring for infamy. In so bad a world, the loss of sight is not really so great an evil as it may be apprehended.
Tho' darkness still attends me,
It aids internal sight ;
As blush to see the light.
No gilded fop offends,
Kind darkness me befriends..
Henceforth no useless wailings,
I find no reason why;
Are all as blind as l.