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By this no more was meant, than to have shown,
680 But grant the worft; fhall women then be weigh'd
By ev'ry word that Solomon has faid?
Whofe reign indulgent God, fays Holy Writ,
Well, I'm a Woman, and as fuch must speak; Silence would fwell me, and my heart would break.
Know then, I fcorn your dull authorities, 695
I yield it up; but fince I gave my oath, 700
That this much-injur'd Knight again should see
And so has mine (she said)---I am a Queen : Her answer she shall have, I undertake; And thus an end of all dispute I make. Try when you lift; and you shall find, my Lord, It is not in our fex to break our word.
We leave them here in this heroic ftrain, And to the Knight our story turns again; Who in the garden, with his lovely May, Sung merrier than the Cuckow or the Jay: This was his fong; "Oh kind and constant be, "Conftant and kind I'll ever prove to thee."
Thus finging as he went, at last he drew 715 By easy steps, to where the Pear-tree grew : The longing dame look'd up, and spy'd her Love, Full fairly perch'd among the boughs above. She stopp'd, and fighing: Oh good Gods, she cry'd, What pangs, what fudden shoots diftend my fide? O for that tempting fruit, fo fresh, so green ; 721 Help, for the love of heav'n's immortal Queen! Help, dearest lord, and fave at once the life Of thy poor infant, and thy longing wife!
Sore figh'd the Knight to hear his Lady's
cry, 725 But could not climb, and had no servant nigh: Old as he was, and void of eye-fight too, What could, alas! a helpless husband do? And must I languish then, she said, and die, Yet view the lovely fruit before my eye? At least, kind Sir, for charity's fweet fake, Vouchsafe the trunk between your arms to take; Then from your back I might ascend the tree; Do you but stoop, and leave the rest to me. With all my foul, he thus reply'd again, 735 I'd spend my dearest blood to ease thy pain. With that, his back against the trunk he bent, She feiz'd a twig, and up the tree she went.
Now prove your patience, gentle Ladies all! Nor let on me your heavy anger fall : 740 'Tis truth I tell, tho' not in phrase refin'd; Tho' blunt my tale, yet honeft is my mind. What feats the lady in the tree might do, I país, as gambols never known to you; But fure it was a merrier fit, fhe fwore, Than in her life fhe ever felt before.
In that nice moment, lo! the wond'ring knight Look'd out, and stood restor❜d to sudden fight. Strait on the tree his eager eyes he bent, As one whofe thoughts were on his spouse in 750
But when he faw his bofom-wife fo drefs'd,
I thought your patience had been better try'd :
If this be struggling, by this holy light, 765 'Tis ftruggling with a vengeance (quoth the Knight ;)
So heav'n preferve the fight it has reftor'd,
As with these eyes I plainly faw thee whor'd ;
Whor'd by my flave----perfidious wretch! may hell
As furely feize thee, as I faw too well.
Guard me, good angels ! cry'd the gentle May,
What I have faid (quoth he) I must maintain, For by th' immortal pow'rs it feem'd too plain--By all thofe pow'rs, fome frenzy feiz'd your mind, (Reply'd the dame) are these the thanks I find? Wretch that I am, that e'er I was fo kind! She faid; a rifing figh exprefs'd her woe, The ready tears apace began to flow, And as they fell she wip'd from either eye 784 The drops (for women, when they lift, can cry.) The Knight was touch'd; and in his looks appear'd
Signs of remorse, while thus his spouse he
Madam, 'tis paft, and my short anger o'er!