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And pass his inoffenfive hours away,

In bliss all night, and innocence all day:


Tho' fortune change, his constant spouse remains, Augments his joys, or mitigates his pains.

But what fo pure, which envious tongues will fpare?

Some wicked wits have libell'd all the fair.

With matchless impudence they style a wife


The dear-bought curse, and lawful plague of life; A bofom-ferpent, a domestic evil,

A night-invafion, and a mid-day-devil.

Let not the wife these fland'rous words regard,
But curse the bones of ev'ry lying bard.


All other goods by fortune's hand are giv❜n,

A wife is the peculiar gift of heav'n.

Vain fortune's favours, never at a stay,

Like empty shadows, pafs, and glide away;
One folid comfort, our eternal wife,
Abundantly supplies us all our life :

This bleffing lafts, (if those who try, say true)
As long as heart can wifh-and longer too.



Our grandfire Adam, ere of Eve poffefs'd, Alone, and ev'n in Paradise unbless'd, With mournful looks the blissful scenes furvey'd, And wander'd in the folitary fhade:

The Maker saw, took pity, and bestow'd
Woman, the last, the best reserv'd of God.





A Wife! ah gentle deities, can he That has a wife, e'er feel adversity? Would men but follow what the fex advise, All things would profper, all the world 'Twas by Rebecca's aid that Jacob won His father's bleffing from an elder fon: Abusive Nabal ow'd his forfeit life To the wife conduct of a prudent wife: Heroic Judith, as old-Hebrews fhow, Preferv'd the Jews, and flew th' Affyrian foe : At Hefter's fuit, the perfecuting fword Was fheath'd, and Ifrael liv'd to blefs the Lord. These weighty motives, January the fage Maturely ponder'd in his riper age;


And charm'd with virtuous joys, and sober life,
Would try that christian comfort, call'd a wife. 80
His friends were fummon'd on a point so nice,"
To pass their judgment, and to give advice;
But fix'd before, and well resolv'd was he;
(As men that ask advice are wont to be.)
My friends, he cry'd (and caft a mournful look
Around the room, and figh'd before he spoke :)


Beneath the weight of threescore years I bend,
And, worn with cares, am haft'ning to my end;
How I have liv'd, alas! you know too well,
In worldly follies, which I blufh to tell;
But gracious heav'n has ope'd my eyes at last,
With due regret I view my vices past,
And, as the precept of the Church decrees,
Will take a wife, and live in holy ease.


But fince by counsel all things should be done, 95
And many heads are wiser ftill than one';
Chufe you for me, who beft fhall be content
When my defire's approv'd by your confent.
One caution yet is needful to be told,

To guide your choice; this wife must not be old:
There goes a faying, and 'twas fhrewdly faid, 101
Old fish at table, but young flesh in bed.
My foul abhors the tasteless, dry embrace
Of a stale virgin with a winter face:

In that cold season Love but treats his guest 105
With bean-ftraw, and tough forage at the best.
No crafty widows shall approach my


Those are too wife for batchelors to wed;

As fubtle clerks by many schools are made, 109 Twice-marry'd dames are mistreffes o'th' trade:

But young and tender virgins, rul'd with ease, We form like wax, and mold them as we please.

Conceive me, Sirs, nor take my fense amiss;

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'Tis what concerns my foul's eternal bliss; Since if I found no pleasure in my spouse,


As flesh is frail, and who (God help me) knows?
Then should I live in leud adultery,

And fink downright to Satan when I die.
Or were I curs'd with an unfruitful bed,
The righteous end were loft, for which I wed;
To raise
up feed to bless the pow'rs above,
And not for pleasure only, or for love.

Think not I doat; 'tis time to take a wife,
When vig'rous blood forbids a chafter life:


Those that are bleft with ftore of grace divine, 125
May live like faints, by heav'n's consent, and mine.
And fince I speak of wedlock, let me fay,
(As, thank my stars, in modest truth I may)
My limbs are active, ftill I'm found at heart,
And a new vigour springs in ev'ry part.
Think not my virtue loft, tho' time has shed



These rev'rend honours on my hoary head
Thus trees are crown'd with bloffoms white as snow,
The vital fap then rifing from below:

Old as I am, my lufty limbs appear
Like winter greens, that flourish all the



Now, Sirs, you know to what I stand inclin❜d, Let ev'ry friend with freedom speak his mind.


He faid; the reft in diff'rent parts divide; The knotty point was urg'd on either fide: Marriage, the theme on which they all declaim'd, Some prais'd with wit, and fome with reafon blam'd. Till, what with proofs, objections, and replies, Each wond'rous pofitive, and wond'rous wife, There fell between his brothers a debate,

Placebo this was call'd, and Justin that.


First to the Knight Placebo thus begun,
(Mild were his looks, and pleasing was his tone)
Such prudence, Sir, in all your words appears,
As plainly proves, experience dwells with years!
Yet you pursue fage Solomon's advice,

To work by counsel when affairs are nice :
But, with the wifeman's leave, I must protest,
So may my foul arrive at ease and rest


As ftill I hold your own advice the best. 155 Sir, I have liv'd a Courtier all my days,

And study'd their manners, and their ways;


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