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The Maker faw, took pity, and bestow'd

Woman, the laft, the best referv'd of God.


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A Wife! ah gentle deities, can he

That has a wife, e'er feel adverfity?

Would men but follow what the sex 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 show,
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 fo 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 :)


I bend,

Beneath the weight of threescore years
And worn with cares, am hast'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 ease.


But fince by counsel all things should be done, 95

And many heads are wifer ftill than one;

Chufe for me,


who best 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 must not be old:
There goes a faying, and 'twas fhrewdly faid, 101
Old fish at table, but young flesh in bed.
My foul abhors the tasteless, dry embrace
Of a stale virgin with a winter face:

In that cold feason Love but treats his guest 105
With bean-ftraw, and tough forage at the best.
No crafty widows shall approach my bed;
Those are too wife for batchelors to wed;
As fubtle clerks by many schools are made,
Twice-marry'd dames are mistreffes o'th' trade:


But young and tender virgins, rul'd with ease,
We form like wax, and mold them as we please.
Conceive me, Sirs, nor take, my fense amifs;
'Tis what concerns my foul's eternal blifs;
Since if I found no pleasure in my spouse, 115
As flesh 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;
To raife
feed to blefs the pow'rs above,
And not for pleasure only, or for love.

12 L

Think not I doat; 'tis time to take a wife,
When vig'rous blood forbids a chafter life:
Those that are bleft with store of grace divine, 125
May live like faints, by heav'n's consent, and mine.

And fince I speak of wedlock, let me say,
(As, thank my stars, in modest 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 stand 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,
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 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 inen, 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,
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, whose 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.

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 thofe of gen'rous principles, and just.


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