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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,
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;
This bleffing lafts, (if those who try, say true)
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
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,
Beneath the weight of threescore years I bend,
But fince by counsel all things should be done, 95
To guide your choice; this wife must not be old:
In that cold season Love but treats his guest 105
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;
'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?
And fink downright to Satan when I die.
Think not I doat; 'tis time to take a wife,
Those that are bleft with ftore of grace divine, 125
These rev'rend honours on my hoary head
Old as I am, my lufty limbs appear
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,
To work by counsel when affairs are nice :
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;