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And truft me, Sir, the chastest you can chuse
My tedious fermon here is at an end.
'Tis well, 'tis wondrous well, the Knight replies, Most worthy kinfman, faith you're mighty wise! We, Sirs, are fools; and must resign the cause To heath'nish authors, proverbs, and old faws. He spoke with scorn, and turn'd another way:What does my friend, my dear Placebo fay!
I fay, quoth he, by heav'n the man's to blame, To flander wives, and wedlock's holy name.
At this the council rofe, without delay; Each, in his own opinion, went his way; With full confent, that, all difputes appeas'd,
The Knight should marry, when and where he pleas'd.
Who now but January exults with joy?
The charms of Wedlock all his foul employ:
Each nymph by turns his wav'ring mind poffest, 230
That was with fenfe, but not with virtue, bleft: 240
Her faults he knew not, Love is always blind,
Much in his prudence did our Knight rejoice, 250 And thought no mortal could dispute his choice: Once more in haste he summon'd ev'ry friend, And told them all, their pains were at an end. Heav'n, that (faid he) infpir'd me first to wed, Provides a confort worthy of my bed: Let none oppose th' election, fince on this Depends my quiet, and my future blifs.
A dame there is, the darling of my eyes, Young, beauteous, artless, innocent, and wife; Chafte, though not rich; and tho' not nobly born,
may parents, and ferve
Her will I wed, if gracious heav'n fo please;
VER. 261. May serve my turn.] One of Dryden's familiar, colloquial terms, happily used; as alfo verfe 286. Dryden, among other excellencies of a varied ftyle, was happy in the ufe of fuch terms.
And thank the pow'rs, I may poffefs alone
The lovely prize, and fhare my blifs with none! 265
One only doubt remains: Full oft, I've heard, By cafuifts grave, and deep divines averr'd; That 'tis too much for human race to know The blifs of heav'n above, and earth below. Now fhould the nuptial pleasures prove fo great, To match the bleffings of the future state, Those endless joys were ill exchang'd for thefe; Then clear this doubt, and fet my mind at ease. 275 This Juftin heard, nor could his fpleen controul, Touch'd to the quick, and tickled at the foul. Sir Knight, he cry'd, if this be all you dread, Heav'n put it past your doubt, whene'er you And to my fervent pray'rs fo far confent, That ere the rites are o'er, you may repent!
Good heav'n, no doubt, the nuptial state approves, Since it chastises still what best it loves.
Then be not, Sir, abandon'd to despair;
Seek, and perhaps you'll find
the fair, 285
among the fair,
One, that may do your business to a hair;
But prove the scourge to lafh you on your way:
Provided ftill, you moderate your joy,
So faid, they rofe, nor more the work delay'd; The match was offer'd, the proposals made.
The parents, you may think, would foon comply;
Nor was it hard to move the Lady's mind ;
I pass each previous fettlement and deed,
Forth came the Priest, and bade th' obedient wife Like Sarah or Rebecca lead her life:
Then pray'd the pow'rs the fruitful bed to bless,
And made all fure enough with holiness.
And now the palace-gates are open'd wide,
The guests appear in order, fide by fide,
The breathing flute's foft notes are heard around,
These touch the vocal ftops, and those the trembling
Not thus Amphion tun'd the warbling lyre,
Nor Joab the founding clarion could infpire,
And lovely Venus, Goddess of delight,
Shook high her flaming torch in open fight,
Full many an age old Hymen had not spy'd
The beauteous dame fate smiling at the board,
And darted am'rous glances at her Lord.