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'Tis true, perfection none must hope to find 190
In all this world, much lefs in woman-kind;
But if her virtues prove the larger share,
Bless the kind fates, and think your fortune rare.
Ah, gentle Sir, take warning of a friend,
Who knows too well the ftate you thus commend;
And spight of all his praises must declare, 196
All he can find is bondage, cost, and care.
Heav'n knows, I shed full many a private tear,
And figh in filence, left the world fhould hear:
While all my friends applaud my blissful life, 200
And swear no mortal's happier in a wife;
Demure and chafte as any veftal Nun,
The meekeft creature that beholds the fun!
But, by th' immortal powers, I feel the pain,
And he that smarts has reason to complain. 205
Do what you lift, for me; you must be sage,
And cautious fure; for wifdom is in Age:
But at these years to venture on the fair!
By him, who made the ocean, earth, and air,
To please a wife, when her occafions call, 210
Would bufy the most vig'rous of us all.
And trust me, Sir, the chastest you can chuse
Will afk obfervance, and exact her dues,
If what I fpeak my noble Lord offend,
My tedious fermon here is at an end.
'Tis well, 'tis wondrous well, the Knight replies, Most worthy kinsman, faith you're mighty wife! We, Sirs, are fools; and must resign the cause To heath'nish authors, proverbs, and old faws.. He spoke with scorn, and turn'd another way :--What does my friend, my dear Placebo say? 221
I fay, quoth he, by heav'n the man's to blame,
To flander wives, and wedlock's holy name.
At this the council rofe, without delay;
Each, in his own opinion, went his way; 225
With full confent, that, all disputes appeas'd,
The knight should marry, when and where he
Who now but January exults with joy?
The charms of Wedlock all his foul employ :
Each nymph by turns his wav'ring mind poffeft,
And reign'd the short-liv'd tyrant of his breast;
Whilst fancy pictur'd every lively part,
And each bright image wander'd o'er his heart.
Thus, in some publick Forum fix'd on high,
A Mirrour shows the figures moving by;
Still one by one, in fwift fucceffion, pass
The gliding shadows o'er the polish'd glass.
This Lady's charms the nicest could not blame,
But vile suspicions had afpers'd her fame ;
ies, That was with sense, but not with virtue, bleft:
And one had grace, that wanted all the reft. 241
Thus doubting long what nymph he should obey,
He fix'd at last upon the youthful May.
Her faults he knew not, Love is always blind,
But ev'ry charm revolv'd within his mind: 245
age, her form divinely fair,
Her easy motion, her attractive air,
Her fweet behaviour, her enchanting face,
Her moving softness, and majestic grace.
Much in his prudence did our Knight rejoice,
And thought no mortal could difpute his choice:
Once more in hafte he summon'd ev'ry friend,
And told them all, their pains were at an end.
Heav'n, that (faid he) inspir'd me first to wed,
Provides a confort worthy of my bed:
Let none oppofe th' election, fince on this
Depends my quiet, and my future bliss.
A dame there is, the darling of my eyes,
Young, beauteous, artlefs, innocent, and wife;
Chaste, tho' not rich; and tho' not nobly born,
Of honeft parents, and may ferve my turn. 261
Her will I wed, if gracious heav'n so please;
To pass my age in fanctity and ease:
And thank the pow'rs, I may possess alone
The lovely prize, and share my blifs with none!
If you, my friends, this virgin can procure, 266
My joys are full, my happiness is sure.
One only doubt remains: Full oft, I've heard, By cafuifts grave, and deep divines averr'd; That 'tis too much for human race to know 270 The blifs of heav'n above, and earth below. Now should the nuptial pleasures prove fo great, To match the bleffings of the future state, Those endless joys were ill exchang'd for thefe; Then clear this doubt, and fet my mind at ease.
This Juftin heard, nor could his spleen controul, 276 Touch'd to the quick, and tickled at the soul. Sir Knight, he cry'd, if this be all you dread, Heav'n put it paft your doubt, whene'er you wed; And to my fervent pray'rs fo far confent, 280 That ere the rites are o'er, you may repent! Good heav'n, no doubt, the nuptial state approves, Since it chastises still what beft it loves.
Then be not, Sir, abandon'd to despair; Seek, and perhaps you'll find among the fair, One, that may do your business to a hair; 286
Not ev'n in wish, your happiness delay,
But prove the scourge to lash you on your way:
Then to the skies your mounting foul fhall go,
Swift as an arrow foaring from the bow! 290
Provided still, you moderate your joy,
Nor in your pleasures all your might employ,
Let reason's rule your strong defires abate,
Nor please too lavishly your gentle mate.
Old wives there are, of judgment most acute, 295
Who folve these questions beyond all dispute;
Confult with thofe, and be of better cheer;
Marry, do penance, and dismiss your fear.
So faid, they rofe, nor more the work delay'd;
The match was offer'd, the proposals made.
The parents, you may think, would foon comply;
The Old have int'reft ever in their eye.
Nor was it hard to move the Lady's mind ;
When fortune favours, ftill the Fair are kind.
I pass each previous settlement and deed, 305
Too long for me to write, or you to read ;
Nor will with quaint impertinence difplay
The pomp, the pageantry, the proud array.
The time approach'd, to Church the parties went,
At once with carnal and devout invent :
Forth came the Prieft, and bade th' obedient wife
Like Sarah or Rebecca lead her life: