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What tho' this King (as ancient story boasts)
Built a fair Temple to the Lord of hosts;
He ceas'd at laft his Maker to adore,
And did as much for Idol gods, or more.
Beware what lavish praises you confer
On a rank leacher and idolater;
Whofe reign indulgent God, fays holy writ,
Did but for David's righteous fake permit ;
David, the monarch after heav'n's own mind,
Who lov'd our fex, and honour'd all our kind.
Well, I'm a Woman, and as fuch muft fpeak; Silence would fwell me, and my heart would break. Know then, I fcorn your dull authorities, 695 Your idle wits, and all their learned lyes. By heav'n, thofe authors are our fex's foes, Whom, in our right, I muft and will oppofe. Nay (quoth the King) dear Madam, be not wroth: I yield it up; but fince I gave my oath, That this much-injur'd Knight again fhould fee: It must be done -I am a King, faid he, And one, whofe faith has ever facred been.
We leave them here in this heroic ftrain, And to the Knight our ftory turns again;
And fo has mine (fhe faid) — I am a Queen :705 Her answer the fhall have, I undertake; And thus an end of all dispute I make. Try when you lift; and you shall find, my Lord, It is not in our fex to break our word.
Who in the garden, with his lovely May,
Sung merrier than the Cuckow or the Jay:
This was his fong; "Oh kind and conftant be,
"Conftant and kind I'll ever prove to thee." 715
Thus finging as he went, at last he drew
By easy steps, to where the Pear-tree
The longing dame look'd up, and spy'd her Love
Full fairly perch'd among the boughs above.
She stopp'd, and fighing: Oh good Gods, fhe cry'd,
What pangs, what fudden fhoots diftend
O for that tempting fruit, so fresh, so green;
Help, for the love of heav'n's immortal Queen!
Help, dearest lord, and fave at once the life
Of thy poor infant, and thy longing wife!
So figh'd the Knight to hear his Lady's cry,
But could not climb, and had no fervant nigh:
Old as he was, and void of eye-fight too,
What could, alas! a helpless husband do?
And muft I languish then, she said, and die,
Yet view the lovely fruit before my eye ?
At least, kind Sir, for charity's fweet fake,
Vouchsafe the trunk between your arms to take;
Then from your back I might afcend the tree;
but ftoop and leave the reft to me.
With all my foul, he thus reply'd again,
I'd spend my dearest blood to eafe thy pain.
With that his back against the trunk he bent,
She feiz'd a twig, and up the tree she went.
Now prove your patience, gentle ladies all!
Nor let on me your heavy anger fall:
'Tis truth I tell, tho' not in phrase refin'd;
Tho' blunt my tale, yet honeft is my mind.
What feats the lady in the Tree might do,
I pafs, as gambols never known to you;
But fure it was a merrier fit, fhe swore,
Than in her life the ever felt before.
In that nice moment, lo! the wond'ring knight
Look'd out, and ftood reftor'd to fudden fight.
Strait on the tree his eager eyes he bent,
As one whose thoughts were on his spouse intent;
But when he saw his bofom-wife fo drefs'd,
His rage was fuch as cannot be exprefs'd:
Not frantic mothers when their infants die,
With louder clamours rend the vaulted sky:
He cry'd, he roar'd, he storm'd, he tore his hair;
Death! hell! and furies! what doft thou do there?
What ails my lord? the trembling dame reply'd; I thought your patience had been better try'd: Is this your love, ungrateful and unkind, This my reward for having cur'd the blind? Why was I taught to make my husband fee, By ftruggling with a Man upon a Tree? Did I for this the pow'r of magic prove? Unhappy wife, whose crime was too much love? 765 If this be ftruggling, by this holy light,
'Tis ftruggling with a vengeance (quoth the Knight)
So heav'n preserve the fight it has restor'd,
As with thefe eyes I plainly faw thee whor'd;
Whor'd by my flave-perfidious wretch! may hell
As furely feize thee, as I faw too well.
Guard me, good Angels! cry'd the gentle May, Pray heav'n, this magic work the proper way! Alas, my love! 'tis certain, could you fee, You ne'er had us'd thefe killing words to me: 775 So help me, fates, as 'tis no perfect fight, But fome faint glimm'ring of a doubtful light.
What I have faid (quoth he) I must maintain,
For by th' immortal pow'rs it feem'd too plain —
By all thofe pow'rs, fome frenzy feiz'd you mind,
(Reply'd the dame) are thefe the thanks I find?
Wretch that I am, that e'er I was fo kind!
She faid; a rifing figh exprefs'd her woe,
The ready tears apace began to flow,
And as they fell fhe wip'd from either eye
The drops (for women, when they lift, can cry.)
The Knight was touch'd; and in his looks appear'd Signs of remorse, while thus his fpouse he chear'd. Madam, 'tis paft, and my fhort anger o'er; Come down, and vex your tender heart no more: Excufe me, dear, if aught amifs was said, For, on my foul, amends fhall foon be made: Let my repentance your forgiveness draw, By heav'n, I fwore but what I thought I saw.
Ah my lov'd lord! 'twas much unkind (fhe cry'd) On bare fufpicion thus to treat your bride.
But till your fight's establish'd for a while,
Imperfect objects may your fenfe beguile.
Thus when from sleep we firft our eyes display,
The balls are wounded with the piercing ray,800
And dufky vapours rife, and intercept the day.
So juft recov'ring from the shades of night,
Your fwimming eyes are drunk with fudden light,
Strange phantoms dance around, and skim before
Then, Sir, be cautious, nor too rafhly deem; 805 Heav'n knows how feldom things are what they feem!
Confult your reason, and you foon fhall find
"Twas you were jealous, not your wife unkind:
Jove ne'er spoke oracle more true than this,
None judge fo wrong as those who think amifs.810
With that she leap'd into her Lord's embrace,
With well-diffembled virtue in her face.
He hugg'd her close, and kiss'd her o'er and o'er,
Disturb'd with doubts and jealoufies no more:
Both, pleas'd and bless'd, renew'd their mutual vows,
A fruitful wife, and a believing spouse.
Thus ends our tale, whofe moral next to make,
Let all wife husbands hence example take;
pray, to crown the pleasure of their lives,
To be fo well deluded by their wives.