Imatges de pÓgina
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"It is an anxious happiness, it is a fearful thing,
When first the maiden's small white hand puts on the golden ring;
She passeth from her father's house unto another's care;
And who may say what troubled hours, what sorrows wait her there?
Ah! love and life are mysteries, both blessing and both blest ;
And yet how much they teach the heart of trial and unrest !”


HERE is, doubtless, in
the marriage contract a
powerful influence, affect-
ing character for better

or worse, and the after condition either for happiness or misery.

It necessarily demands, from those who are anxious


for moral rectitude, much consideration, and much of caution as to the manner in which their affections are fixed, and on whom their choice is made. It must almost amount to an impossibility, in the married state, that the husband should be happy unless the wife be happy also; nor can the wife be happy unless her partner shares with her not only the pleasures, but the ills of life. Some exceptions to this rule may exist, but in this country the exceptions must be

very rare indeed. In all countries in which society is well organized, the State invariably takes cognizance of the marriage contract,-regulating, without intruding,—protecting, without dictating,-and properly so; for marriage places one human being more completely under the power of another than any other relation in life. It is clear, then, that laws are required for the protection of those só exposed to injury, knowing, as we do, that during courtship there is generally a persevering endeavour to conceal the real character.

In Jeremy Taylor's “ Marriage Ring” there are many very exquisite passages bearing on this subject, an extract from which will not

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