Ah, Matrimony, thou art most unkind
To many of my friends, who hesitate
No single whit to hound the married state.
“What guarantee is there that thou would’st find
A woman suited to thy inmost mind?”
They ask; and then in truth I must relate
That men but seldom seem to find a mate
Well fitted to those bonds so firm that bind.
Surely thy ways must sadly be awry;
And then ’twould seem a lottery to try
Our fortune thus. Still, each must prove the flirt,
Or woman true, he finds. But how may I?
One dowry, which ’twere death to handle curt,
She even might advise me to desert.
William Blocksidge, Songs o’ the South, London: Watts, 1908, p. 52
art = (archaic) are
thou = (archaic) you
thy = (archaic) your
’twere = (archaic) a contraction of “it were”
’twould = (vernacular) a contraction of “it would”
whit = very little, a very tiny amount or part, the least amount; a bit, iota, jot, particle
would’st = would (past tense of “will”) (also spelt: wou’dst, wouldst)