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In this scene of earthly things Not one good unmixed springs. That which had to Martha proved A sweet consolation, moved Different feelings of regret In the mind of Margaret. She, whose love was not less dear, Nor affection less sincere To her friend, was, by occasion Of more distant habitation, Fewer visits forc'd to pay her, When no other cause did stay her ; And her Mary living nearer, Margaret began to fear her, Lest her visits day by day Martha's heart should steal away. That whole heart she ill could spare her, Where till now she'd been a sharer. From this cause with grief she pined, Till at length her health declined. All her chearful spirits flew, Fast as Martha gather'd new; And her sickness waxed sore, Just when Martha felt no more.
Mary, who had quick suspicion Of her alter'd friend's condition, Seeing Martha's convalescence Less demanded now her presence, With a goodness, built on reason, Chang'd her measures with the season ; Turn'd her steps from Martha's door, Went where she was wanted more ; All her care and thoughts were set Now to tend on Margaret. Mary living 'twixt the two, From her home could oft'ner go, Either of her friends to see, Than they could together be.
Truth explain'd is to suspicion Evermore the best physician. Soon her visits had the effect; All that Margaret did suspect, From her fancy vanish'd clean ; She was soon what she had been, And the colour she did lack To her faded cheek came back. Wounds which love had made her feel, Love alone had power to heal.
Martha, who the frequent visit Now had lost, and sore did miss it, With impatience waxed cross, Counted Margaret's gain her loss : All that Mary did confer On her friend, thought due to her.. In her girlish bosom rise Little foolish jealousies, Which into such rancour wrought, She one day for Margaret sought; Finding her by chance alone, She began, with reasons shown, To insinuate a fear Whether Mary was sincere; Wish'd that Margaret would take heed Whence her actions did proceed. For herself, she'd long been minded Not with outsides to be blinded ; All that pity and compassion, She believ'd was affectation ; In her heart she doubted whether Mary car'd a pin for either. She could keep whole weeks at distance, And not know of their existence, While all things remain'd the same ; But, when some misfortune came,
Then she made a great parade
With such speeches, smoothly made, She found methods to persuade Margaret (who, being sore From the doubts she'd felt before, Was prepared for mistrust) To believe her reasons just; Quite destroy'd that comfort glad, Which in Mary late she had ; Made her, in experience' spite, Think her friend a hypocrite, And resolve, with cruel scoff, To renounce and cast her off.
See how good turns are rewarded !
All their comfort, and their stay-
Two long years did intervene
maid in face does carry A resemblance strong of Mary.”