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At Sermons too I fhone in scarlet gay,
The wafting moth ne'er spoil'd my best array;
The cause was this, I wore it ev'ry day.
'Twas when fresh May her early bloffoms yields, This Clerk and I were walking in the fields. 291 We grew fo intimate, I can't tell how,
I pawn'd my honour, and engag'd my vow,
If e'er I laid husband in his urn,
That he, and only he, should serve my turn. 295
We strait ftruck hands, the bargain was agreed;
I still have shifts against a time of need:
The mouse that always trufts to one poor hole,
Can never be a mouse of any foul.
I vow'd, I scarce could fleep fince first I knew him, 300 And durft be fworn he had bewitch'd me to him; If e'er I flept, I dream'd of him alone,
And dreams foretel, as learned men have shown:
All this I faid; but dreams, Sirs, I had none :
I follow'd but my crafty Crony's lore,
Who bid me tell this lye---and twenty more.
Thus day by day, and month by month we past; It pleas'd the Lord to take my spouse at last. I tore my gown, I foil'd my locks with duft, And beat my breafts, as wretched widows--muft.
Before my face handkerchief I spread, 311
my 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, so clean, so strong, so fair! 316
Of twenty winters age he feem'd to be;
I (to fay truth) was twenty more than he;
But vig'rous still, 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 pafs'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 cafe. Stubborn' as any Lioness was I;
And knew full well to raise my voice on high;
As true a rambler as I was before,
And would be so, in spite of all he fwore. 340
He, against this right fagely would advife,
And old examples fet before my eyes;
Tell how the Roman matrons led their life,
Of Gracchus' mother, and Duilius' wife;
And clofe the fermon, as befeem'd his wit, 345
With fome grave fentence out of Holy Writ.
Oft would he fay, who builds his houfe 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;
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 redrefs.
Love feldom haunts the breaft where Learning lies,
And Venus fets ere Mercury can rife.
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 shame!
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 fage 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 fliding noose, and waver'd in the wind.
Where grows this plant (reply'd the friend) oh
For better fruit did never orchard bear.
Give me some slip of this most blissful tree,
And in my garden planted shall 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.