Euripides

Alcestis,

 438 BC

Admetus, you see the things I suffer;
And now before I die, I mean to tell you what I wish,
Since you must love these children no less than I.
Let them be masters in my house;
Marry not again and set a stepmother over them,
A woman harsher than I, who in her jealousy
Will lift her hand against my children and yours.
Ah! Not this, let not this be, I entreat you!
The new stepmother hates the first wife’s children,
The viper itself is not more cruel.
The son indeed finds a strong rampart in his father—
But you, my daughter,
How shall you live your virgin life out in happiness?
How will you fare with your father’s new wife?
Ah! Let her not cast evil report upon you
And thus wreck your marriage in the height of your youth!
You will have no mother, O my child, to give you in marriage,
To comfort you in childbed when none is tenderer than a mother!
Farewell! Live happy!
You, my husband, may boast you had the best of wives;
And you, my children, that you lost the best of mothers!

Eliza Haywood

The Female Spectator,

 1745

Children are apt, on the first mention of the father’s marrying again, to conceive a hatred for the person intended for his wife—they run over in their minds all the possible disadvantages she may occasion to them, and then fix themselves in a belief that the worst they can imagine will certainly befall them.

The woman, on the other hand, thinking it natural for them to be displeased with the power about to be given her over them, assures herself that they are so, concludes all the respect they treat her with is forced, and returns it too often either with a haughty sullenness, or such an indifference as makes them see they are suspected by her—both parties being thus prepared for animosity, they no sooner came together than the flame breaks out.

These sorts of conjunctions can never be rendered happy, without all the parties concerned in them are endued with a greater share of good sense and good nature than is ordinarily to be found; for if any one of them happens to be repugnant, the peace of the other will infallibly be destroyed, and contention spread itself by degrees through the whole family.

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