« EelmineJätka »
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 scourge 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 Scripture says,
And faw but one, 'tis thought, in all his days;
Whence fome infer, whose confcience is too nice,
No pious Chriftian ought to marry twice.
But let them read, and folve me, if they can,
The words addrefs'd to the Samaritan:
Five times in lawful wedlock fhe was join'd;
And fure the certain ftint was ne'er defin'd.
Encrease 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.
More wives than one by Solomon were try'd,
Or elfe the wifeft of mankind's bely'd.
I've had myself full many a merry fit;
And truft in heav'n I may have many yet,
For when my tranfitory spouse, unkind,
Shall die, and leave his woeful wife behind,
I'll take the next good Chriftian I can find.
Paul, knowing one could never serve our turn,
Declar'd 'twas better far to wed than burn.
There's danger in assembling 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 counsel - and we women still
Take which we like, the counsel, or our will.
I envy not their blifs, if he or she
Think fit to live in perfect chastity;
Pure let them be, and free from taint of vice;
I, for a few flight spots, am not so nice.
Heav'n calls us diff'rent ways, on these bestows
One proper gift, another grants to those :
Not ev'ry man's oblig❜d to fell his store,
And give up all his fubftance to the poor ;
Such as are perfect, may, I can't deny ;
But, by your leave, Divines, fo am not I.
Full many a Saint, fince first the world began,
Liv'd an unfpotted maid, in spite of man:
Let fuch (a God's name) with fine wheat be fed,
And let us honeft wives eat barley bread.
For me, I'll keep the poft affign'd by heav'n,
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 fo faid Paul, and Paul's a found divine.
Know then, of those five hufbands I have had,
Three were just tolerable, two were bad.
The three were old, but rich and fond befide,
And toil'd most piteously to please their bride:
But fince their wealth (the best they had) was mine,
The rest, without much loss, I could refign.
Sure to be lov'd, I took no pains to please,
Yet had more Pleasure far than they had Ease.
Presents flow'd in apace: with fhow'rs of gold,
They made their court, like Jupiter of old.
If I but fmil'd, a sudden youth they found,
And a new palfy feiz'd them when I frown'd.
Ye fov'reign wives! give ear, and understand,
Thus fhall ye speak, and exercife command.
For never was it giv'n to mortal man,
To lye fo boldly as we women can:
Forfwear the fact, tho' seen with both his eyes,
And call your maids to witness how he lies.
Hark, old Sir Paul! ('twas thus I us'd to fay)
Whence is our neighbour's wife fo rich and gay? 75
Treated, carefs'd, where'er fhe's pleas'd to roam-
I fit in tatters, and immur'd at home.
Why to her house dost thou so oft repair ?
Art thou fo am'rous? and is fhe fo fair?
If I but fee a coufin or a friend,
Lord! how you fwell, and rage like any fiend!
But you reel home, a drunken beastly bear,
Then preach till midnight in your easy chair ;
Cry, wives are falfe, and ev'ry woman evil,
And give up all that's female to the devil.
If poor (you fay) fhe drains her husband's purfe;
If rich, fhe keeps her priest, or something worse;
If highly born, intolerably vain,
Vapours and pride by turns poffefs her brain,
Now gayly mad, now fourly splenetic,
Freakish when well, and fretful when she's fick.
If fair, then chafte fhe cannot long abide,
By preffing youth attack'd on ev'ry fide:
If foul, her wealth the lufty lover lures,
Or else her wit fome fool-gallant procures,
Or elfe fhe dances with becoming grace,
Or fhape excufes the defects of face.
There fwims no goofe fo grey, but foon or late,
She finds fome honeft gander for her mate.
Horfes (thou fay'ft) and affes, men may try,
And ring fufpected veffels ere they buy:
But wives, a random choice, untry'd they take,
They dream in courtship, but in wedlock wake:
Then, nor till then, the veil's remov'd away,
And all the woman glares in open day.
You tell me, to preferve your wife's good grace,
Your eyes must always languish on my face,
Your tongue with constant flatt'ries feed my ear,
And tag each sentence with, My life! My dear!
If by ftrange chance, a modest blush be rais'd,
Be fure my fine complexion must be prais❜d.
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 vifits paid,
To a long train of kindred, friends, allies;
All this thou fay'ft, and all thou fay'st are lyes.
On Jenkin too you caft a fquinting eye:
What! can your prentice raise your jealousy?
Fresh are his ruddy cheeks, his forehead fair,
And like the burnish'd gold his curling hair.
But clear thy wrinkled brow, and quit thy forrow,
I'd fcorn your prentice, fhould you die to-morrow.
Why are thy chefts all lock'd? on what design?
Are not thy worldly goods and treasure mine?
Sir, I'm no fool: nor fhall you, by St. John,
Have goods and body to yourself alone.