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On receiving from the Right Honourable the
Lady FRANCÉS SHIRLEY a standish and two
WIFE OF BATH.
And hear with rev’rence an experienc'd wife!
5 I was myself the scourge that caus’d the smart ; For, since fifteen, in triumph have I led Five captive husbands from the church to bed.
Christ saw a wedding once, the Scripture says; And faw but one, 'tis thought, in all his days; 10 Whence fome infer, whose conscience is too nice, No pious Christian ought to marry twice.
But let them read, and folve me, if they can, The words address'd to the Samaritan: Five times in lawful wedlock the was join'd; 15 And sure the certain stint was ne'er defin’d.
Increase and multiply, was Heav'n's command, And that's a text I clearly understand.
“ Let men their fires and mothers leave “ And to their dearer wives for ever cleave.” 20 More wives than one by Solomon were try'd, Or else the wiseft of mankind's bely'd. VOL. II. А
I've had myself full many a merry fit;
Paul, knowing one could never serve our turn,
I envy not their bliss, if he or she Think fit to live in perfect chastity; Pure let them be, and free from taint or vice; I, for a few flight spots, am not so nice. Heav'n calls us diff'rent ways, on these bestows 40 One proper gift, another grants to those : Not ev'ry man's oblig'd to sell his store, And give up all his substance to the
poor; Sach as are perfect, may, I can't deny ; But, by your leaves, divines, so am not I.
45 Full many a saint, fince first the world began, Liv'd an unfpotted maid, in spite of man: Let such (a God's name) with fine wheat be fed, And let us honest wives eat barley-bread. For me, I'll keep the poit assign’d by Heav'n, 50 And use the copious talent it has giv’n: Let my good spouse pay tribute, do me right, And keep an equal reck’ning ev'ry night: His proper body is not his, but mine; For so said Paul, and Paul's a found divine. 55
Know then, of those five husbands I have had,
Presents flow'd in a-pace: with ihow'rs of gold
Ye fov'reign wives! give ear, and understand,
Hark, old Sir Paul; ('twas thus I us’d to say);
you reel home, a drunken beastly bear,
If poor, (you say,) the drains her husband's purse;
Now gaily mad, now fourly splenetic,
90 Freakish when well, and fretful when she's fick: If fair, then chaste the cannot long abide, By pressing youth attack'd on ev'ry side; If foul, her wealth the lufty lover lures, Or else her wit fome fool-gailant procures, 95 Or else the dances with becoming grace, Or shape excuses the defects of face. T.:ere swims no goose so gray, but foon or late She finds some honeit gander for her mate.
Horses (thou say'st) and asses, men may try, And ring suspected vefsels ere they buy: But wives a random choice, untry'd they take, They dream in courtship, but in wedlock wake: Then, not till then, the veil's remov'd away, And all the woman glares in open day. 105
You tell me, to preserve your wife's good grace, Your eyes must always languish on my face, Your tongue with constant tlatt’ries feed my ear, And tag each sentence with, My life! my
dear! If, by itrange chance, a modest blush be rais'd, Be sure my fine complexion must be prais'd. ili My garments always must be new and gay, And feasts still kept upon my wedding-day, Then must my nurse be pleas’d, and fav’rite maid; And endless treats, and endless visits paid, 115 To a long train of kindred, friends, allies; All this thou fay'st, and all thou say'st are lies.
On Jenkin too you cast a fquinting eye: What! can your 'prentice raise your jealousy? Fresh are his ruddy cheeks, his forehead fair, 120 And like the burnih'd gold his curling hair. But clear thy wrinkled brow, and quit thy sorrow, I'd fcorn your 'prentice, should you die to-morrow.