« EelmineJätka »
The Maker faw, took pity, and bestow'd
Woman, the laft, the beft referv'd of God.
A Wife! ah gentle deities, can he
That has a wife, e'er feel adverfity?
Would men but follow what the fex advise,
All things would profper, all the world grow
"Twas by Rebecca's aid that Jacob won
His father's bleffing from an elder fon:
Abufive Nabal ow'd his forfeit life
To the wife conduct of a prudent wife :
Heroic Judith, as old Hebrews fhow,
Preferv'd the Jews, and flew th' Affyrian foe:
At Hefter's fuit, the perfecuting fword
Was fheath'd, and Ifrael liv'd to blefs the Lord.
These weighty motives, January the fage
Maturely ponder'd in his riper age;
And charm'd with virtuous joys, and sober life,
Would try that christian comfort, call'd a wife. 80
His friends were fummon'd on a point so nice,
To pass their judgment and to give advice;
But fix'd before, and well refolv'd was he;
(As men that ask advice are wont to be.)
My friends, he cry'd (and caft a mournful look Around the room, and figh'd before he spoke :)
Beneath the weight of threefcore years I bend,
And worn with cares, am haft'ning to my end;
How I have liv'd, alas! you know too well,
In worldly follies, which I blush to tell;
But gracious heav'n has ope'd my eyes at last,
With due regret I view my vices past,
And, as the precept of the Church decrees,
Will take a wife, and live in holy cafe.
But since by counsel all things should be done, 95
heads are wiser ftill than one;
Chufe for me,
who beft shall be content
When my defire's approv'd by your confent.
One caution yet is needful to be told,
To guide your choice; this wife muft not be old:
There goes a saying, and 'twas fhrewdly faid, 101
Old fish at table, but young flesh in bed.
My foul abhors the taftelefs, dry embrace
Of a stale virgin with a winter face:
In that cold feafon Love but treats his gueft 105
With bean-straw, and tough forage at the beft.
No crafty widows fhall approach my bed;
Thofe are too wife for batchelors to wed;
As fubtle clerks by many fchools are made,
Twice-marry'd dames are mistreffes o'th' trade:
But young and tender virgins, rul'd with eafe,
We form like wax, and mold them as we please.
Conceive me, Sirs, nor take my sense amifs;
'Tis what concerns my foul's eternal bliss;
Since if I found no pleasure in my spouse, 115
As fleth is frail, and who (God help me) knows?
Then should I live in leud adultery,
And fink downright to Satan when I die.
Or were I curs'd with an unfruitful bed,
The righteous end were loft, for which I wed;
feed to blefs the pow'rs above,
And not for pleasure only, or for love.
Think not I doat; 'tis time to take a wife,
When vig'rous blood forbids a chaster life:
Those that are bleft with ftore of grace divine, 125
May live like faints, by heav'n's confent, and mine.
And fince I speak of wedlock, let me fay,
(As, thank my stars, in modeft truth I may)
My limbs are active, ftill I'm found at heart,
And a new vigour fprings 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 bloffoms 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 reft 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 fome with reafon blam'd,
Till, what with proofs, objections, and replies,
Each wond'rous pofitive, and wond'rous wife,
There fell between his brothers a debate, 145
Placebo this was call'd, and Juftin 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
Yet you purfue fage Solomon's advice,
To work by counsel when affairs are nice:
But with the wifeman's leave, I must protest,
So may my foul arrive at eafe and reft
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 have obferv'd this useful maxim still,
To let my betters always have their will.
Nay, if my lord affirm'd that black was white,
My word was this, Your honour's in the right.
Th' affuming Wit, who deems himself so 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 should be fo to Man;
At least, your courage all the world must praise,
Who dare to wed in your declining days. 171
Indulge the vigour of your mounting blood,
And let grey fools be indolently good,
Who, past all pleasure, damn the joys of sense,
With rev'rend dulness and grave impotence. 175
Juftin, 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 Senfe as well as we)
Bids us be certain qur concerns to truft
To those of gen'rous principles, and just.