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And will you fo, reply'd the Queen, indeed ? Now, by my mother's foul it is decreed, 656 She fhall not want an anfwer at her need. For her, and for her daughters, I'll engage, And all the fex in each fucceeding age; Art fhall be theirs to varnifh an offence, And fortify their crimes with confidence. Nay, were they taken in a strict embrace, Seen with both eyes, and pinion'd on the place; All they shall need is to protest and swear, Breathe a foft figh, and drop a tender tear; 665 Till their wife husbands, gull'd by arts like thefe, Grow gentle, tractable, and tame as geefe.


What tho' this fland'rous Jew, this Solomon, Call'd women fools, and knew full many a one; The wiser wits of later times declare, 670 How conftant, chaste, and virtuous women are: Witness the martyrs, who refign'd their breath, Serene in torments, unconcern'd in death; And witness next what Roman authors tell, How Arria, Portia, and Lucretia fell.


But fince the facred leaves to all are free, And men interpret texts, why fhould not we?

By this no more was meant, than to have fhown, That fov'reign goodness dwells in him alone Who only Is, and is but only One.


But grant the worst; fhall women then be weigh'd

By ev'ry word that Solomon has faid?
What tho' this King (as ancient story boasts)]
Built a fair temple to the Lord of Hosts;
He ceas'd at laft his Maker to adore,
And did as much for Idol gods, or more.
Beware what lavish praises you confer
On a rank leacher and idolater;


Whose reign indulgent God, fays Holy Writ, Did but for David's righteous fake permit; 690 David, the monarch after heav'n's own mind, Who lov'd our fex, and honour'd all our kind.

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
Your idle wits, and all their learned lyes.
By heav'n, those authors are our fex's foes,
Whom, in our right, I must and will oppose.

Nay (quoth the King) dear Madam, be not wroth:

İ yield it up; but fince I gave my oath, 700

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That this much-injur'd Knight again should see;
It must be done---I am a King, faid he,
And one, whofe faith has ever facred been---


And so has mine (she said)---I am a Queen : Her answer she shall have, I undertake; And thus an end of all difpute 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 conftant be, "Conftant and kind I'll ever prove to thee."

Thus finging as he went, at last he drew 715 By eafy fteps, 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, the cry'd,



pangs, what fudden fhoots diftend my fide? O for that tempting fruit, fo fresh, fo 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 fervant nigh: Old as he was, and void of eye-fight too, What could, alas! a helpless husband do? And must I languish then, fhe faid, and die, Yet view the lovely fruit before my eye? At least, kind Sir, for charity's sweet fake, Vouchsafe the trunk between your arms to take; Then from your back I might afcend the tree; Do you but stoop, and leave the reft 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: '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 pass, as gambols never known to you; But fure it was a merrier fit, she swore, Than in her life the ever felt before.



In that nice moment, lo! the wond'ring knight Look'd out, and stood restor❜d to fudden fight. Strait on the tree his eager eyes he bent, As one whofe thoughts were on his spouse in759


But when he faw his bofom-wife fo drefs'd,
His rage was such as cannot be exprefs'd;
Not frantic mothers when their infants die,
With louder clamours rend the vaulted sky : 754
He cry'd, he roar'd, he ftorm'd, he tore his hair;
Death! hell! and furies! what doft thou do there!
What ails my Lord? the trembling dame re-

I thought your patience had been better try'd ;
Is this your love, ungrateful and unkind,
This my reward for having cur'd the blind? 760
Why was I taught to make my husband see,
By ftruggling with a man upon a Tree?
Did I for this the pow'r of magic prove?
Unhappy wife, whofe crime was too much love!

If this be struggling, by this holy light, 765 'Tis ftruggling with a vengeance (quoth the Knight;)

So heav'n preserve the fight it has restor❜d,

As with thefe eyes I plainly faw thee whor'd ;

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