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'Twas when fresh May'her early bloffom yields This clerk and I were walking in the fields. 291
so intimate, I can't tell how,
299 I vow'd, I scarce could ileep fince first I knew
him, And durit be sworn he had bewitch'd me to him; If e'er I slept, I dream'd of him alone, And dreams foretel, as learned men have shown. All this I said: but dreams, Sirs, I had none; I followed but my crafty Crony's lore, 305 Who bid me tell this lie----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 soild my locks with dust, And beat my breasts, as wretched widows---must. Before
handkerchief I spread, 311 To hide the flood of tears I did The good man's coffin to the church was borne ; Around, the neighbours, and my clerk too, mourn. But as he march'd, good gods! he ihow'd a pair Of legs and feet, fo clear, so strong, so fair! 316 Of twenty winters age he seem'd to be ; I (to lay truth) was twenty more t'ian he; But vig'rous fill, a lively buxome dame; And bad a wond'rous gift to quench a flame. 520 A conirer once, that deeply could divine, Allura me, Mars in Taurus was my fign.
As the stars order'd, such my life has been:
But to my tale: A month scarce pass’d away,
334 Nay once, by Heav'n, he ftruck
me on the face; Hear but the fact, and judge yourselves the case.
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 fo, in spite of all he swore. 340 He against this right fagely would advise, And old examples set before my eyes; Tell how the Roman matrons led their life, Of Gracchus' mother, and Duilius' wife; And chose the sermon, as, beseem'd his wit, 345 With some
grave sentence out of Holy Writ. Oft would he say, Who builds his house on fands, Pricks his blind horse across the fallow lands; Or lets his wife abroad with pilgrims roam, Deserves a fool's-cap and long ears at home. 35@ All this avail'd not: for whoe'er he be That tells my faults, I hate him mortally: And so do numbers more, I'll boldly say, Men, women, clergy, regular, and lay.
My spouse (who was, you know, to learning bred) A certain treatise oft at ev’ning read,
356 A 6
Where divers authors (whom the dev'l confound
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 fe threw; 390
Who took it patiently, and wip'd his head ;
He read, how Arius to his friend complain’d,,
prove, Thro' hatred one, and one through 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 soon seiz'd his giddy head, 405 Frantic at night, and in the morning dead. How some with swords their sleeping lords have
flain, And some have hammer'd nails into their brain, And some have drench'd them with a deadly potion; 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 consum'd in vain; Provok'd to vengeance, three large leaves I tore, And with one buffet felld him on the floor. 416 With that my husband in a fury rose, And down he fettled me with hearty blows. I groan'd, and lay extended on my fide ; Oh! thou hast llain me for my wealth, (I cry'd),
Yet I forgive thee----take my last embrace ---
But after many a hearty struggle pait,
bestow Pleasures above, for tortures felt below: That rest they wish'd for, grant them in the grave, And bless those fouls my conduct help'd to save!