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Before my face my handkerchief I fpread, 311 To hide the flood of tears I did---not fhed. The good man's coffin to the Church was born; Around, the neighbours, and my clerk, too,
But as he march'd, good Gods! he show'd a pair
Of legs and feet, fo clean, so strong, fo fair! 316
Of twenty winters age he feem'd to be;
I (to fay truth) was twenty more than he;
But vig'rous ftill, a lively buxom dame;
And had a wond'rous gift to quench a flame. 320
A Conj'ror once, that deeply could divine,
Affur'd me, Mars in Taurus was my fign.
As the stars order'd, fuch my life has been :
Alas, alas, that ever love was fin!
Fair Venus gave me fire, and fprightly grace, 325
And Mars affurance, and a dauntless face.
By virtue of this pow'rful conftellation,
I follow'd always my own inclination.
But to my tale: A month scarce pass'd away,
With dance and fong we kept the nuptial day. 330
All I poffefs'd I gave to his command,
My goods and chattels, money, house, and land:
But oft repented, and repent it still;
He prov'd a rebel to my fov'reign will:
Nay once by heav'n he struck me on the face ; 335
Hear but the fact, and judge yourselves the case-
Stubborn as any
Lionefs was I;
And knew full well to raise my voice on high;
As true a rambler as I was before,
And would be fo, in fpite of all he fwore. 340
He, against this right fagely would advise,
And old examples fet before my eyes;
Tell how the Roman matrons led their life,
Of Gracchus' mother, and Duilius' wife;
And close the sermon, as beseem'd his wit, 345
With fome grave fentence out of Holy Writ.
Oft would he fay, who builds his house on fands,
Pricks his blind horfe across the fallow lands,
Or lets his wife abroad with pilgrims roam,
Deferves a fool's-cap and long ears at home. 350
All this avail'd not; for whoe'er he be
That tells my faults, I hate him mortally :
And fo do numbers more, I'll boldly fay,
Men, women, clergy, regular, and lay.
My fpoufe (who was, you know, to learning
A certain treatise oft at ev'ning read,
Where divers Authors (whom the dev❜l confound
For all their lyes) were in one volume bound.
Valerius, whole; and of St. Jerome, part;
Chryfippus and Tertullian, Ovid's Art,
Solomon's Proverbs, Eloïfa's loves;
And many more than fure the Church approves.
More legends were there here, of wicked wives,
Than good, in all the Bible and Saints-lives.
Who drew the Lion vanquish'd? 'Twas a Man.
But could we women write as scholars can, 366
Men should stand mark'd with far more wicked-
Than all the fons of Adam could redress.
Love feldom haunts the breaft where Learning lies,
And Venus fets ere Mercury can rise.
Those play the scholars who can't play the men,
And use that weapon which they have, their pen;
When old, and past the relish of delight,
Then down they fit, and in their dotage write,
That not one woman keeps her marriage-vow.
(This by the way, but to my purpose now.) 376
It chanc'd my husband, on a winter's night, Read in this book, aloud, with strange delight, How the first female (as the Scriptures show) Brought her own spouse and all his race to woe. How Samfon fell; and he whom Dejanire 381 Wrap'd in th' envenom'd shirt, and set on fire.
How curs'd Eryphile her lord betray'd,
And the dire ambush Clytemnestra laid. 384
But what most pleas'd him was the Cretan dame,
And husband-bull--oh monftrous! fie for fhame!
He had by heart, the whole detail of woe
Xantippe made her good man undergo;
How oft she scolded in a day, he knew,
How many piss-pots on the sage she threw ; 390
Who took it patiently, and wip'd his head;
Rain follows thunder: that was all he faid.
He read, how Arius to his friend complain'd, A fatal Tree was growing in his land, On which three wives fucceffively had twin'd 395 A sliding noose, and waver'd in the wind. Where grows this plant (reply'd the friend) oh where ?
For better fruit did never orchard bear.
Give me some flip of this most blissful tree,
And in my garden planted fhall it be.
Then how two wives their lords' deftruction prove,
Thro' hatred one, and one thro' too much love; That for her husband mix'd a pois'nous draught, And this for luft an am'rous philtre bought : The nimble juice foon feiz'd his giddy head, 405 Frantic at night, and in the morning dead.
How fome with fwords their fleeping lords have flain,
And fome have hammer'd nails into their brain, And some have drench'd them with a deadly po409 All this he read, and read with great devotion. Long time I heard, and fwell'd, and blush'd, and frown'd;
But when no end of these vile tales I found,
When still he read, and laugh'd and read again,
And half the night was thus confum'd in vain ;
Provok'd to vengeance, three large leaves I tore,
And with one buffet fell'd him on the floor. 416
With that my husband in a fury rofe,
And down he settled me with hearty blows.
I groan'd, and lay extended on my fide;
Oh! thou haft flain me for my wealth (I cry'd)
Yet I forgive thee---take my last embrace--- 421
He wept, kind foul! and stoop'd to kifs
I took him fuch a box as turn'd him blue,
Then figh'd and cry'd, Adieu, my dear, adieu!
But after many a hearty struggle past, 425 I condescended to be pleas'd at last. Soon as he faid, My mistress and my wife, Do what you lift, the term of all your life : I took to heart the merits of the cause,
And stood content to rule by wholesome laws; 430