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J. Wale delin
Ye sovereign Wives! give ear and understand, ye speed and exercise Command.
Wife of Bath.
WIFE of BATH.
EHOLD the woes of matrimonial life, And hear with rev'rence an experienc'd wife! To dear-bought wisdom give the credit due, And think, for once, a woman tells you true. In all these trials I have borne a part, I was myself the scourge that caus'd the smart ; For, fince fifteen, in triumph have I led Five captive husbands from the church to bed.
Christ faw a wedding once, the Scripture fays, And saw but one, 'tis thought, in all his days; 10 Whence fome infer, whose conscience is too nice, No pious Christian ought to marry twice.
But let them read, and folve me, if they can, The words addrefs'd to the Samaritan :
Five times in lawful wedlock fhe was join'd; 15 And fure the certain ftint was ne'er defin'd.
Encrease and multiply, was heav'n's command, And that's a text I clearly understand. This too, "Let men their fires and mothers leave, σε And to their dearer wives for ever cleave." 20 More wives than one by Solomon were try'd, Or else the wisest of mankind's bely'd. I've had myself full many a merry fit :; And truft in heav'n I may have many yet. For when my transitory spouse, unkind, Shall die, and leave his woeful wife behind, I'll take the next good Christian I can find. Paul, knowing one could never ferve, our turn, Declar'd 'twas better far to wed than burn. There's danger in affembling fire and tow; 30 I grant'em that, and what it means you know. The fame Apostle too has elsewhere own'd, No precept for Virginity he found:
"Tis but a counsel-and we women still Take which we like, the counfel, or our will. 35 I envy not their blifs, if he or she
Think fit to live in perfect chastity;
· Pure let them be, and free from taint or vice;
I, for a few flight fpots, am not so nice.
Heav'n calls us diff'rent ways, on these bestows
Full many a Saint, fince first the world began,
For fo faid Paul, and Paul's a found divine. 55
Know then, of those five hufbands I have had,
The reft, without much lofs, I could refign.