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I've had myself full many a merry fit;
And trust in Heav'n I may have many yet.
For when my transitory spouse, unkind,
Shall die, and leave his woeful wife behind,

I'll take the next good Christian I can find. n? Paul, knowing one could never serve our turn, Declar'd 'twas better far to wed than burn.

There's danger in assembling fire and tow; 30
I grant 'em that, and what it means you know.
The same apostle 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

1 envy not their bliss, 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 slight spots, 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 sell his store,
And give up all his substance to the poor;
Such as are perfect, may, I can't deny ;
But, by your leaves, divines, so am not I.

45 Full many a faint, fince first the world began, Liv'd an unspotted maid, in spite of man: Let such (a God's name) with fine wheat be fed, And let us honest wives eat barley-bread. For me, I'll keep the post asiign’d by Heav'n, 50 And use 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. 55


Know then, of those five husbands I have had,
Three were just tolerable, two were bad.
The three were old; but rich, and fond beside,
And toild most piteously to please their bride :.
But since their wealth (the best they had) was mine,
The rest, without much loss, I could refign. 61 .
Sure to be lov’d, I took no pains to please,
Yet had more pleasure far than they had ease.

Presents flow'd in a-pace: with ow'rs of gold
They made their court, like Jupiter of old, 65
If I but smild, a sudden youth they found,
And a new palsey seiz'd them when I frown'd.

Ye sov’reign wives! give ear, and understand,
Thus shall ye speak, and exercise command.
For never was it giv’n to mortal man, 70
To lie so boldly as we women can:
Forswear the fact, though seen with both his eyes,
And call your maids to witness how he lies.

Hark, old Sir Paul; ('twas thus I usd to fay);
Whence is our neighbour's wife so rich and gay?
Treated, caress’d, where'er she's pleas'd to roam---
I fit in tatters, and immur'd at home.
Why to her house dost thou so oft repair?
Art thou so am'rous ? and is the so fair?
If I but fee a cousin or a friend,

8 Lord! how you swell,


But you reel home, a drunken beastly bear,
Then preach till midnight in your easy chair;
Cry, wives are false, and ev'ry woman evil,
And give up all that's female to the devil. 85

If poor, (you say,) ine drains her husband's purse;
If rich, the keeps her prieit, or something worse ;
If highly born, intolerably vain,
Vapours and pride by turns poffefs her brain,

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Now gaily mad, now sourly splenetic,
Freakish when well, and fretful when she's fick:
If fair, then chaste the cannot long abide,
By pressing youth attack'd on ev'ry fide;
If foul, her wealth the lufty lover lures,
Or else her wit fome fool-gallant procures, 95
Or elfe fhe dances with becoming grace,
Or shape excuses the defects of face.
There swims no goose so gray, but foon or late
She finds some honest gander for her mate.

Horfes (thou fay'it) and affes, men may try,
And ring fufpected vetels ere they buy :
But wives a random choice, untry'd they take,
They dream in courtihip, but in wedlock wake:
Then, not till then, the veil's remov'd away,
And all the woman glares in open day. 105

You tell me, to preserve your wife's good grace, Your eyes must always languish on my face, Yoar tongue with constant tiatt’ries feed my ear, And tag each sentence with, My life! my

dear! If, by Itrange chance, a modest blush be rais’d, Be sure my fine complexion must be prais’d. III My garments always must be new and gay, And feasts still kept upon my wedding-day. Then must my nurie be pleas’d, and fav’rite maid; And endless treats, and endless viiits paid, 115 To a long train of kindred, friends, allies; All this thou say'ft, and all thou say’lt are lies.

On Jenkin too you cast a squinting eye: What can your 'prentice raise your jealousy? Fresh are his ruddy cheeks, his forehead, fair, 120 And like the burnih'd gold his curling hair. Bat clear tly wrinkled brow, and quit thy forrow, I'd fcorn your 'prentice, should you die to-morrow,

Why Why are thy chests all lock'd ? on what design? Are not thy worldly goods and treasure mine? Sir, I'm' no fool: nor Hall you, by St John, 126 Have goods and body to yourself alone. One you snall quit, in spite of both your eyes---I heed not, I, the bolts, the locks, the spies. If you had wit, you'd say, “Go where you will,

, « Dear spouse, I credit not the tales they tell: “ Take all the freedoms of a marry'd life; 132 I know thee for a virtuous, faithful wife.”. Lord! when you have enough, what need you


How merrily soever others fare?

135 Tho' all the day I give and take delight, Doubt not, sufficient will be left at night. 'Tis but a juit 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 modest that are gay. 141 The cat, if you but finge her tabby skin, The chimney keeps, and sits 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 frisks abroad, To show her fur, and to be catterwaw’d.

Lo thus,, my friends, I wrought to my desires These three right ancient venerable fires. I told 'em, Thus you say, and thus you do, 150 And told 'em false, but Jenkin swore 'twas true. 1, like a dog, could bite as well as whine, And first complain’d, whene'er the guilt was mine. I tax'd them oft with wenching and amours, When their weak legs scarce dragg’d 'em out of doors;

155 And

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And swore, the rambles that I took by night, Were all to spy what damsels 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

160 To fpin, to weep, and cully human race. By this nice conduct, and this prudent course, By murm’ring, wheedling, stratagem, and force, I still prevail'd, and would be in the right, Or curtain-lectures made a restless night. 165 If once my husband's arm was o'er my side, What! so 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, 170 Marry who will, our sex is to be sold. With empty hands taffels

you can lure, But fulsome 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 curses oft I mixt,

176 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 dispute I was unable, 180 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 spouse, and let me kiss thy cheek; Thou shouldst be always thus, resign’d and meek! “Of Job's great patience fince so oft you preach, “ Well should you practise, who so well can teach, 66 'Tis difficult to do, I must allow, “But I, my dearest, will instruct you how.


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