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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 fex advise,
And charm'd with virtuous joys, and sober life,
My friends, he cry'd (and cast a mournful look
But gracious heav'n has ope'd my eyes at last,
In that cold season Love but treats his guest 105
Then should I live in leud adultery,
And fink downright to Satan when I die.
Think not I doat; 'tis time to take a wife,
And fince I fpeak of wedlock, let me fay, (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 fhed Thefe rev'rend honours on my hoary head: Thus trees are crown'd with bloffoms white as
The vital fap then rifing from below.
He faid; the reft in diff'rent parts divide; The knotty point was urg'd on either fide: 140
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, 145 Placebo this was call'd, and Justin that.
First to the Knight Placebo thus begun, (Mild were his looks, and pleasing 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,
151 To work by counsel when affairs are nice : But, with the wife man's leave, I must protest, So may my foul arrive at ease and rest, As still I hold your own advice the best. 155.
Sir, I have liv'd a Courtier all my days, And study'd men, their manners, and their ways; And have observ'd this useful maxim still, 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 so wise, As his mistaken patron to advise,
Let him not dare to vent his dang'rous thought, A noble fool was never in a fault. 165
This, Sir, affects not you, whose ev'ry word
Who, past all pleasure, damn the joys of sense,
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 Sense as well as we) Bids us be certain our concerns to truft 180 To those of gen'rous principles, and just. The venture's greater, I'll prefume to say, To give your perfon, than your goods away : And therefore, Sir, as you regard your reft, First learn your Lady's qualities at least : 185 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.