« EelmineJätka »
My limbs are active, ftill I'm found at heart,
And a new vigour springs in ev'ry part.
Think not my virtue loft, tho' time has shed
These rev'rend honours on my hoary head;
Thus trees are crown'd with blossoms white as fnow,
The vital fap then rifing from below:
Old as I am, my lufty limbs appear
Like winter greens, that flourish all the year.
Now, Sirs, you know to what I ftand inclin'd,
Let ev'ry friend with freedom speak his mind.
He faid; the rest 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 some with reason 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,
(Mild were his looks, and pleafing was his tone)
Such prudence, Sir, in all your words appears,
As plainly proves, experience dwells with years!
Yet you purfue fage Solomon's advice,
To work by counsel when affairs are nice :
But with the wifeman's leave, I must proteft,
So may my foul arrive at ease and rest
As ftill I hold your old advice the best.
Sir, I have liv'd a Courtier all my days,
And study'd men, their manners, and their ways;
And have obferv'd this useful maxim ftill,
To let my betters always have their will.
Nay, if my lord affirm'd that black was white, 160
My word was this, Your honour's in the right.
Th' affuming Wit, who deems himself fo wife,
As his mistaken patron to advise,
Let him not dare to vent his dang'rous thought,
A noble fool was never in a fault.
This, Sir, affects not you, whofe ev'ry word
Is weigh'd with judgment, and befits a Lord:
Your will is mine; and is (I will maintain)
Pleafing to God, and fhould be fo to Man;
At least, your courage all the world muft praise, 170
Who dare to wed in your declining days.
Indulge the vigour of your mounting blood,
And let grey fools be indolently good,
Who, past all pleasure, damn the joys of fenfe,
With rev'rend dulnefs and grave impotence.
Justin, who filent fate, and heard the man,
Thus, with a Philofophic frown, began.
A heathen author of the first degree,
(Who, tho' not Faith, had Sense as well as we)
Bids us be certain our concerns to truft
To thofe of gen'rous principles, and juft.
The venture's greater, I'll prefume to say,
To give your perfon, than your goods away:
And therefore, Sir, as you regard your rest,
First learn your Lady's qualities at leaft:
Whether she's chaste or rampant, proud or civil
Meek as a faint, or haughty as the devil;
Whether an easy, fond, familiar, fool,
Or fuch a wit as no man e'er can rule.
'Tis true, perfection none must hope to find
In all this world, much less in woman-kind;
But if her virtues prove the larger share,
Bless the kind fates, and think your fortune rare.
Ah, gentle Sir, take warning of a friend,
Who knows too well the ftate you thus commend;
And fpight of all his praises muft declare,
All he can find is bondage, coft, and care.
Heav'n knows, I fhed full many a private tear,
And figh in filence, left the world should hear;
While all my friends applaud my blissful life,
And swear no mortal's happier in a wife ;
Demure and chafte as any veftal Nun,
The meekeft creature that beholds the fun!
But, by th' immortal pow'rs, I feel the pain,
And he that smarts has reafon to complain.
Do what you lift, for me; you must be fage,
And cautious fure; for wisdom is in Age:
But at thefe years, to venture on the fair;
By him, who made the ocean, earth, and air,
To please a wife, when her occafions call,
Would bufy the most vig'rous of us all.
And trust me, Sir, the chastest you can chufe
Will ask observance, and exact her dues.
If what I speak my noble Lord offend,
My tedious fermon here is at end.
'Tis well, 'tis wondrous well, the Knight replies, Moft worthy kinfman, faith you're mighty wife! We, Sirs, are fools; and muft refign the cause To heath'nish authors, proverbs, and old faws. He spoke with fcorn, and turn'd another way:What does my friend, my dear Placebo fay?
I fay, quoth he, by heav'n the man's to blame, To flander wives, and wedlock's holy name. At this the council rofe, without delay; Each, in his own opinion, went his With full confent, that, all difputes appeas'd,
The knight should marry, when and where he pleas'd.
Who now but January exults with joy?
The charms of wedlock all his foul employ :
Each nymph by turns his wav'ring mind poffeft,
And reign'd the short-liv'd tyrant of his breast;
While fancy pictur'd ev'ry lively part,
And each bright image wander'd o'er his heart.
Thus, in fome public Forum fix'd on high,
A Mirrour shows the figures moving by ;
Still one by one, in fwift fucceffion, pass
The gliding fhadows o'er the polish'd glass.
This Lady's charms the niceft could not blame,
But vile fufpicions had afpers'd her fame;
That was with fenfe, but not with virtue, bleft;
And one had grace, that wanted all the reft.
Thus doubting long what nymph he should obey,
He fix'd at laft upon the youthful May.
Her faults he knew not, Love is always blind,
But ev'ry charm revolv'd within his mind:
Her tender age, her form divinely fair,
Her eafy motion, her attractive air,
Her fweet behaviour, her enchanting face,
Her moving foftnefs, and majestic grace.
Much in his prudence did our Knight rejoice,
And thought no mortal could difpute his choice:
Once more in hafte he summon'd ev'ry friend,
And told them all, their pains were at an end.
Heav'n, that (faid he) inspir'd me first to wed,
Provides a confort worthy of my bed:
Let none oppofe th' election, fince on this
Depends my quiet, and my future bliss.
A dame there is, the darling of my eyes,
Young, beauteous, artless, innocent, and wife;
Chafte, tho' not rich; and tho' not nobly born, 260
Of honeft parents, and may ferve my turn.
Her will I wed, if gracious heav'n so please ;
To pass my age in fanctity and ease:
And thank the pow'rs, I may poffefs alone
The lovely prize, and share my blifs with none! 265
If you, my friends, this virgin can procure,
My joys are full, my happiness is fure.
One only doubt remains: Full oft I've heard,
By cafuifts grave, and deep divines averr'd;