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We grew

'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,
I pawn'd my honour, and engag'd my vow,
If e'er I laid my husband in his urn,
That he, and only he, should serve my turn. 295
We straight struck hands, the bargain was agreed;
I still have thifts against a time of need:
Che mouse that always truits to one poor hole,
Can never be a moufe of

any
soul.

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.

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As the stars order'd, such my life has been:
Alas, alas, that ever love was fin!
Fair Venus gave me fire, and sprightly grace, 325
And Mars assurance, and a dauntless face.
By virtue of this pow'rful constellation,
I follow'd always my own inclination.

But to my tale: A month scarce pass’d away,
With dance and long we kept the nuptial day. 330
All I poffess'd I gave to his command,
My goods and chattles, money, house, and land:
But oft repented, and repent it still;
He prov'd a rebel to my sov'reign will:

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

Where divers authors (whom the dev'l confound
For all their lies) were in one volume bound.
Valerius, whole; and of St. Jerome, part;
Chryfippus and Tertullian, Ovid's art, 360
Solomon's proverbs, Eloisa's loves;
And many more than sure the church approves.
More legends were there here, of wicked wives,
Than good, in all the Bible and saints lives.
Who drew the lion vanquiih'd ? 'Twas a man, 365
But could we women wiite as scholars can,
Men Ahould fand mark’d with far more wickedness,
T'han all the fons of Adam could redress.
Love seldom haunts the breast where learning lies,
And Venus sets ere Mercury can rise. 370
Those play the scholars who can't play the men,
And use that weapon which they have, their pen;
When old, and past the relih of delight,
Then down they fit, and in their dotage write,
That not one ivoman keeps her marriage-vow. 375
(This by the way, but to my purpose now).
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 Samson fell; and he whom Dejanire 381
Wrapp'd in th' invenom'd shirt, and set on fire.
How curs'd Eryphile her lord betray'd,
And the dire ambush Clytæmneftra laid. 384
But what most pleas'd him was the Cretan Dame,
And husband-bull----oh, monstrous! 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 fe threw; 390

Who

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 succeflively had twin'd 395.
A sliding noofe, and waver'd in the wind.
Where grows this plant, (reply'd the friend, oh
For better fruit did never orchard bear. [where?
Give me some slip of this most blissful tree,
And in my garden planted fall it be. 400
Then how two wives their lord's destruction

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

a

425

Yet I forgive thee----take my last embrace ---
He wept, kind soul! and stoop'd to kiss my face;
I took him such a box as turn'd him blue,
Then figh’d, and cry'd, Adieu, my dear, adieu !

But after many a hearty struggle pait,
I condescended to be pleas'd at last.
Soon as he said, My mistress and my wife,
Do what thou list, the term of all your life :
I took to heart the merits of the cause,
And stood content to rule by wholesome laws; 430
Receiv'd the reins of absolute command,
With all the government of house and land,
And empire o'er his tongue, and o'er his hand.
As for the volume that revil'd the dames, 434
'Twas torn to fragments, and condemn'd to flames.
Now Heav'n on all

my
husbands

gone,

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!

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