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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. 21 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 apoftle too has elsewhere own'd, No precept for virginity he found: 'Tis but a counsel ---- and we women still Take which we like, the counsel, or our will. 35 I envy not their blifs, if he or she Think fit to live in perfect chastity; Pure let them be, and free from taint or vice; I, for a few flight fpots, 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 store, And give up all his fubftance to the poor; Such as are perfect, may, I can't deny; But, by your leaves, divines, fo am not I.



Full many a faint, fince firft the world began, Liv'd an unfpotted maid, in fpite 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, 50 And ufe 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 husbands I have had, Three were just tolerable, two were bad. The three were old; but rich, and fond befide, And toil'd most piteously to please their bride :. But fince their wealth (the best they had) was mine, The reft, without much lofs, I could refign. 61 Sure to be lov'd, I took no pains to please, Yet had more pleasure far than they had ease. Prefents flow'd in a-pace: with fhow'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 palfey feiz'd them when I frown'd.


Ye fov'reign wives! give ear, and understand, Thus fhall ye fpeak, and exercise command. For never was it giv'n to mortal man, To lie fo boldly as we women can: Forfwear the fact, though 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 so rich and gay ? Treated, carefs'd, where'er fhe's pleas'd to roam--I fit in tatters, and immur'd at home. Why to her house doft thou so oft repair? Art thou so am'rous? and is the so 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 beaftly bear, Then preach till midnight in your eafy chair; Cry, wives are falfe, and ev'ry woman evil, And give up all that's female to the devil,



If poor, (you fay,) fhe drains her husband's purfe; If rich, the keeps her prieft, or fomething worfe; If highly born, intolerably vain, Vapours and pride by turns poffefs her brain,

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Now gaily mad, now fourly fplenetic,
Freakish when well, and fretful when fhe's fick:
If fair, then chafte the 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 excufes the defects of face.
There fwims no goofe fo gray, 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, not 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 languish 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,
Be fure my fine complexion must be prais'd. 111
My garments always muft be new and gay,
And feats till kept upon my wedding-day.
Then must my nurse be pleas'd, and fav'rite maid;
And endless treats, and endless viûts paid, 115
To a long train of kindred, friends, allies;
All this thou fay'ft, and all thou fay'ft are lies.
On Jenkin too you caft a fquinting eye:
What! can your 'prentice raife your jealoufy?
Fresh are his ruddy cheeks, his forehead fair, 120
And like the burnish'd gold his curling hair.
But clear thy wrinkled brow, and quit thy forrow,
I'd fcorn your 'prentice, fhould you die to-morrow,



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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, 126 Have goods and body to yourfelf alone. One you fhall quit, in fpite of both your eyes---I heed not, I, the bolts, the locks, the fpies. If you had wit, you'd fay, "Go where you will, "Dear spouse, I credit not the tales they tell: "Take all the freedoms of a marry'd life; "I know thee for a virtuous, faithful wife." Lord! when you have enough, what need you




How merrily foever others fare?
Tho' all the day I give and take delight,
Doubt not, fufficient will be left at night.
"Tis but a just and rational defire,
To light a taper at a neighbour's fire.

There's danger too, you think, in rich array,
And none can long be modeft that are gay. 141
The cat, if you but finge her tabby fkin,
The chimney keeps, and fits content within;
But once grown fleek, will from her corner run,
Sport with her tail, and wanton in the fun; 145
She licks her fair round face, and frifks abroad,
To fhow her fur, 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, 150 And told 'em falfe, but Jenkin fwore 'twas true. I, like a deg, could bite as well as whine, And first complain'd, whene'er the guilt was mine. I tax'd the m oft with wenching and amours, When their weak legs fcarce dragg'd 'em out of


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155 And


And swore, the rambles that I took by night,
Were all to fpy what damfels they bedight.
That colour brought me many hours of mirth;
For all this wit is given us from our birth.
Heav'n gave to woman the peculiar grace
To fpin, 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 restless 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 fulfome love for gain we can endure;
For gold we love the impotent and old,
And heave, and pant, and kifs, and cling, for gold.
Yet with embraces curfes oft I mixt,
Then kifs'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 fheepishly you look!


Approach, my spouse, and let me kiss thy cheek; "Thou shouldft be always thus, refign'd and meek! "Of Job's great patience fince fo oft you preach, "Well fhould you practise, who fo well can teach. " "Tis difficult to do, I must allow, "But I, my dearest, will instruct you. how.






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