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That colour brought me many hours of mirth;
For all this wit is giv'n us from our birth.
Heav'n gave to woman the peculiar grace
To spin, to weep, and cully human race.
By this nice conduct, and this prudent course,
By murm'ring, wheedling, ftratagem, and force,
I ftill prevail'd, and would be in the right,
Or curtain-lectures made a reftless night.
If once my
husband's arm was o'er my fide,
What! fo familiar with your spouse? I cry'd:
I levied first a tax upon his need;
Then let him-'twas a nicety indeed!
Let all mankind this certain maxim hold,
Marry who will, our fex is to be fold.
With empty hands no taffels you can lure,
But fulfom love for gain we can endure;
For gold we love the impotent and old,
And heave, and pant, and kiss, and cling, for gold.
Yet with embraces, curfes oft I mixt,
Then kiss'd again, and chid and rail'd betwixt.
Well, I may make my will in peace, and die,
For not one word in man's arrears am I.
To drop a dear difpute I was unable,
Ev'n tho' the Pope himself had sat at table.
But when my point was gain'd, then thus I spoke,
"Billy, my dear, how sheepishly you look ?
"Approach, my fpoufe, and let me kifs thy check;
"Thou should it be always thus, refign'd and meek!
"Of Job's great patience since so oft you preach, "Well should you practife, who so well can teach. ""Tis difficult to do, I must allow,
"But I, my deareft, will inftruct you how. "Great is the bleffing of a prudent wife, "Who puts a period to domestic ftrife. "One of us two must rule, and one obey; "And fince in man right reason bears the sway, "Let that frail thing, weak woman, have her way. "The wives of all my family have rul'd "Their tender hufbands, and their paffions cool'd. "Fye, 'tis unmanly thus to figh and groan; "What! would you have me to yourself alone? Why take me, Love! take all and ev'ry part! "Here's your revenge! you love it at your heart.200 "Would I vouchsafe to sell what nature gave, "You little think what cuftom I could have. "But fee! I'm all your own -nay hold for shame! "What means my dear-indeed - you are to
Thus with my first three Lords I paft my life; 20; A very woman, and a very wife. What fums from these old spouses I could raise, Procur'd young hufbands in my riper days. Tho' paft my bloom, not yet decay'd was I, Wanton and wild, and chatter'd like a pye. In country dances ftill I bore the bell, And fung as fweet as ev'ning Philomel.
To clear my quail-pipe, and refresh my foul,
Full oft I drain'd the spicy nut-brown bowl;
Rich lufcious wines, that youthful blood improve,
And warm the fwelling veins to feats of love:
For 'tis as fure, as cold ingenders hail,
A liqu'rish mouth muft have a lech'rous tail;
Wine lets no lover unrewarded go,
As all true gamefters by experience know.
But oh, good Gods! whene'er a thought I cast
On all the joys of youth and beauty paft,
To find in pleasures I have had my part,
Still warms me to the bottom of my heart.
This wicked world was once my dear delight; 225
Now all my conquefts, all my charms good night!
The flour confum'd, the best that now I can,
Is e'en to make my market of the bran.
My fourth dear spouse was not exceeding true;
He kept 'twas thought, a private Mifs or two: 230
But all that score I paid-as how? you'll fay,
Not with my body, in a filthy way:
But I fo drefs'd, and danc'd, and drank, and din'd;
And view'd a friend, with eyes fo very kind,
As ftung his heart, and made his marrow fry,
With burning rage, and frantick jealousy.
His foul, I hope, enjoys eternal glory,
For here on earth I was his purgatory.
Oft, when his fhoe the most severely wrung,
He put on carelefs airs, and fat and fung.
How fore I gall'd him, only heav'n could know,
And he that felt, and I that caus'd the woe.
He dy'd, when laft from pilgrimage I came,
With other goffips, from Jerufalem;
And now lies buried underneath a Rood,
Fair to be feen, and rear'd of honest wood.
A tomb indeed, with fewer sculptures grac'd,
Than that Maufolus' pious widow plac'd,
Or where infhrin'd the great Darius lay;
But coft on graves is merely thrown away.
The pit fill'd up, with turf we cover'd o'er ;
So blefs the good man's foul, I fay no more.
Now for my fifth lov'd Lord, the last and best;
(Kind heav'n afford him everlasting reft)
Full hearty was his love, and I can fhew,
The tokens on my
ribs in black and blue;
Yet, with a knack, my heart he could have won,
While yet the smart was fhooting in the bone.
How quaint an appetite in women reigns!
Free gifts we fcorn, and love what costs us pains : 260
Let men avoid us, and on them we leap;
A glutted market makes provision cheap.
In pure good will I took this jovial spark,
Of Oxford he, a moft egregious clerk.
He boarded with a widow in the town,
A trufty goffip, one dame Alifon.
Full well the fecrets of my foul she knew,
Better than e'er our parish Priest could do.
To her I told whatever could befall :
Had but my husband pifs'd against a wall,
Or done a thing that might have coft his life,
She- and my niece — and one more worthy wife,
Had known it all: what moft he would conceal,
To these I made no fcruple to reveal.
Oft has he blufh'd from ear to ear for fhame, 275
That e'er he told a fecret to his dame.
It fo befel in holy time of Lent,
That oft a day I to this goffip went;
(My husband, thank my ftars, was out of town)
From house to house we rambled up and down. 280
This clerk, myself, and my good neighbour Alfe,
To fee, be feen, to tell, and gather tales.
Vifits to ev'ry Church we daily paid,
And march'd in ev'ry holy masquerade,
The Stations duly, and the Vigils kept;
Not much we fafted, but scarce ever flept.
At Sermons too I fhone in fcarlet gay.
The wafting moth ne'er fpoil'd my beft array;
The cause was this, I wore it ev'ry day.
'Twas when fresh May her early bloffoms yields, This Clerk and I were walking in the fields. We grew fo intimate, I can't tell how, I pawn'd my honour and engag'd my vow, If e'er I laid my husband in his urn, That he, and only he, should serve my turn.