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But fince their wealth (the best they had) was mine,
The reft, without much lofs, I could refign.
Sure to be lov'd, I took no pains to please,
Yet had more Pleasure far than they had Eafe.
Prevents flow'd in apace: with show'rs of gold,
They made their court, like Jupiter of old.
If I but fmil'd, a fudden youth they found,"
And a new palsy seiz'd them when I frown'd.
Ye fov'reign wives! give ear and understand,
Thus fhall ye speak, and exercise command.
For never was it giv'n to mortal man,
To lie fo boldly as we women can :
Forfwear the fact, tho' 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 dost thou so oft repair?
Art thou fo am'rous ? and is fhe fo 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 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.
If poor (you fay) fhe drains her husband's purfe;
If rich, fhe keeps her prieft, or fomething worse;
If highly born, intolerably vain,
Vapours and pride by turns poffefs her brain,
Now gayly mad, now fourly fplenetic,
Freakish when well, and fretful when fhe's fick.
If fair, then chalte fhe cannot long abide,
By preffing youth attack'd on ev'ry fide:
If foul, her wealth the lufty lover lures,
Or else her wit fome fool-gallant procures,
Or elfe fhe dances with becoming grace,
Or shape excuses the defects of face.
There fwims no goofe fo grey, but foon or late
She finds fome honest 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, nor 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 languifh on my face,
Your tongue with constant flatt'ries feed my ear,
And tag each fentence with, My life! my dear!
If by ftrange chance, a modest blush be rais'd,
Be fure my fine complexion must be prais'd.
My garments always must be new and gay,
And feasts ftill kept upon my wedding-day.
Then must my nurfe be pleas'd, and fav'rite maid;
And endless treats, and endless vifits paid,
To a long train of kindred, friends, allies;
All this thou fay'ft, and all thou fay'st are lies.
On Jenkin too you caft a fquinting eye:
What can your 'prentice raise your jealousy?
Fresh are his ruddy cheeks, his forehead fair,
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.
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,
Have goods and body to yourself alone.
One you shall quit, in spite of both your eyes
I heed not, I, the bolts, the locks, the fpies.
If had wit, you'd say,
you will, 130 "Dear fpoufe, I credit not the tales they tell: "Take all the freedoms of a married life; "I know thee for a virtuous, faithful wife."
Lord! when you have enough, what need you care 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, 140
And none can long be modest that are gay.
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;
She licks her fair round face, and frisks abroad,
To fhew 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,
I told 'em false, but Jenkin swore 'twas true.
I, 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;
And fwore 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 giv'n us from our birth.
Heav'n gave to women the peculiar grace
To spin, 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 kiss, and cling, for gold.
Yet with embraces, curfes oft I mix'd,
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,
Fv'n tho' the Pope himself had fat at table.
But when my point was gain'd, then thus I fpoke,
"Billy, my dear, how fheepishly you look ?
Approach, my fpoufe, and let me kifs thy cheek; "Thou should'st be always thus, refign'd and meek! "Of Job's great patience fince fo oft you preach, 186 "Well fhould you practise, who fo well can teach. "'Tis difficult to do, I muft allow,
"But I, my deareft, will inftruct you how. "Great is the blefling of a prudent wife, "Who puts a period to domeftic strife. "One of us two muft rule, and one obey; "And fince in man right reafon bears the fway, "Let that frail thing, weak woman have her way. "The wives of all my family have rul'd "Their tender hufbands, and their paffions cool'd.
Fy, 'tis unmanly thus to figh and groan;
What! would you have me to yourself alone? "Why take me, Love! take all and ev'ry part!
"Here's your revenge! you love it at your heart. 200 "Would I vouchfafe to fell what nature gave, "You little think what custom I could have.
"But fee! I'm all your own-nay hold-for shame! "What means my dear-indeed-you are to blame." Thus with my first three Lords I past my life; 205 A very woman, and a very wife.
What fums from these old spouses I could raise,
Procur'd young husbands in my riper days.
Tho' past my bloom, not yet decay'd was I,
Wanton and wild, and chatter'd like a pie.
In country-dances ftill I bore the bell,
And fung as fweet as ev`ning Philomel.
To clear my quailpipe, and refresh my foul,
Full oft I drain'd the spicy nut-brown bowl;
Rich luscious wines, that youthful blood improve, 215
And warm the fwelling veins to feats of love:
For 'tis as fure, as cold engenders hail,
A liqu'rish mouth must have a lech'rous tail;
Wine lets no lover unrewarded go,
As all true gamefters by experience know.
But oh, good Gods! whene'er a thought I caft
On all the joys of youth and beauty past.
To find in pleasures I have had my part,
Still warms me to the bottom of my heart.
This wicked world was once my dear delight;
Now all my conquefts, all my charms good night!
The flour confum'd, the beft that now I can,
Is e'en to make my market of the bran.
My fourth dear spouse was not exceeding true;
He kept, 'twas thought, a private Mifs or two: