Page images

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,
"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 fpoufe, unkind,
Shall die, and leave his woeful wife behind,
I'll take the next good Christian I can find.

Paul, knowing one could never ferve 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.
I envy not their bliss, 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 40
One proper gift, another grants to those:
Not ev'ry man's oblig'd to fell his ftore,
And give up all his substance 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 moft piteously to please their bride: But fince their wealth (the best they had) was mine, The reft, without much lofs, I could refign, Sure to be lov'd, I took no pains to please, Yet had more Pleasure far than they had Eafe. Prefents flow'd in apace: with show'rs of gold, They made their court, like Jupiter of old. 65 If I but fmil'd, a fudden 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 exercise command. For never was it giv'n to mortal man, To lye fo boldly as we women can: Forfwear the fact, tho' feen 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 she'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 eafy chair; Cry, wives are false, and ev'ry woman evil, And give up all that's female to the devil.


If poor (you fay) fhe drains her husband's purse;
If rich, fhe keeps her prieft, or fomething worse;
If highly born, intolerably vain,
Vapours and pride by turns poffefs her brain,
Now gayly mad, now fourly fplenetic,

Freakish when well, and fretful when she's fick.
If fair, then chafte she cannot long abide,
By preffing youth attack'd on ev'ry fide:
If foul, her wealth the lufty lover lures,
Or elfe her wit fome fool-gallant procures,
Or elfe the dances with becoming grace,
Or fhape excuses 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 languifh on my face,
Your tongue with conftant flatt'ries feed my ear,
And tag each fentence with, My life! my dear!
If by ftrange chance, a modeft blush be rais'd,
Befure my fine complexion must be prais'd.
My garments always must be new and gay,
And feafts ftill 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 burnifh'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 defign?
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.
One you shall quit, in spite of both your eyes -
I heed not, I, the bolts, the locks, the fpies.



I 20

If you had wit, you'd fay, "Go where you will, 130 "Dear spouse, I credit not the tales they tell : "Take all the freedoms of a married life; "I know thee for a virtuous, faithful wife."

Lord! when you have enough, what need you care How merrily foever others fare? 135 Tho' all the day I give and take delight, Doubt not, fufficient will be left at night. "Tis but a juft and rational defire, To light a taper at a neighbour's fire.

There's danger too, you think, in rich array, 140 And none can long be modeft that are gay. The Cat, if you but finge her tabby skin, The chimney keeps, and fit content within ; But once grown fleek, will from her corner run, Sport with her tail, and wanton in the fun ; She licks her fair round face, and frisks abroad, To fhew her furr, and to be catterwaw'd.


Lo thus, my friends, I wrought to my defires
These three right ancient venerable fires.
I told 'em, Thus you fay, and thus you do,
I told 'em falfe, but Jenkin fwore 'twas true.
I, like a dog, could bite as well as whine,
And first complain'd, whene'er the guilt was mine.
I tax'd them oft with wenching and amours,


When their weak legs fcarce dragg'd 'em out of doors;
And fwore the rambles that I took by night,
Were all to fpy what damfels they bedight.


« EelmineJätka »