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J. Wale delin
Ye sovereign Wives! give
ear and understand,
ye speed and exercise Command. Wife of Bath.
WIFE of BATH.
EHOLD the woes of matrimonial life,
And hear with rev'rence an experienc'd wife! To dear-bought wisdom give the credit due, And think, for once, a woman tells you true. In all these trials I have borne a part, I was myself the fcourge that caus'd the smart; For, fince fifteen, in triumph have I led Five captive Husbands from the Church to bed.
Chrift faw a wedding once, the fcripture fays, And faw but one, 'tis thought, in all his days; 10 Whence fome infer, whofe confcience is too nice, No pious Christian ought to marry twice.
But let them read, and fölve me, if they can, The words addrefs'd to the Samaritan:
Five times in lawful wedlock she was join'd;
Encrease and multiply, was heav'n's command, And that's a text I clearly understand.
This too, "Let men their fires and mothers leave,
Paul, knowing one could never serve our turn, Declar'd 'twas better far to wed than burn. There's danger in affembling fire and tow;
I grant 'em that, and what it means you know.
The fame Apostle too has elsewhere own'd,
No precept for Virginity he found:
'Tis but a counfel --- and we women still
Take which we like, the counsel, or our will. 35
envy not their blifs, if he or she Think fit to live in perfect chastity;