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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 moft piteously to please their bride:
But fince their wealth (the best they had) was mine, 60
The rest, 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.
Prefents flow'd in apace: with fhow'rs of gold,
They made their court, like Jupiter of old.
If I but fmil'd, a fudden youth they found,
And a new palfy feiz'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! ('was thus I us'd to fay) Whence is our neighbour's wife fo rich and gay? 75 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 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 eafy chair;
Cry, Wives are false, and every woman evil,
And give up all that's female to the devil.
If poor (you fay) fhe drains her husband's purse;
If rich, fhe keeps her priest, or something 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 she's fick.
If fair, then chaste she 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 else she dances with becoming grace,
Or fhape excufes the defects of face.
There swims no goofe fo grey, but foon or late,
She finds fome honeft gander for her mate.
Horses (thou fay'ft) and affes men may try, 100
And ring suspected 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 preserve 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 strange chance, a modest blush be rais'd, 110
Be fure my fine complexion must be prais'd.
My garments always must be new and gay,
And feasts still kept upon my wedding-day.
Then must my nurse be pleas'd, and fav'rite maid;
And endless treats, and endless vifits paid, 115
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 burnifh'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? 125
Sir, I'm no fool; nor fhall you, by St. John,
Have goods and body to yourself alone.
One you fhall quit, in spite of both your eyes—
I heed not, I, the bolts, the locks, the spies.
you had wit, you'd fay, "Go where you will, 130 "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 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 desire,
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 skin,
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 show her furr, and to be catterwaw'd.
Lo thus, my friends, I wrought to my defires
These three tight ancient venerable fires.
I told 'em, Thus you fay, and thus you do,
And told 'em falfe, but Jenkin fwore 'twas true.
I, like a dog, could bite as well as whine,
And firft complain'd, whene'er the guilt was mine.
I tax'd them oft with wenching and amours,
When their weak legs fcarce dragg'd 'em out of doors;
And swore the rambles that I took by night,
Were all to spy 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 woman the peculiar grace
To spin, to weep, and cully human race.
By this nice conduct, and this prudent courfe,
By murm'ring, wheedling, ftratagem, and force,
I still prevail'd, and would be in the right,
Or curtain-lectures made a restlefs night.
If once my husband's arm was o'er my fide,
What! so familiar with your spouse? I cry'd:
I levied first a tax upon his need;
Then let him-'twas a nicety indeed!
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.
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 mixt,
To drop a dear dispute I was unable,
Ev'n tho' the Pope himself had fat at table.
But when my point was gain'd, then thus I fpoke,
"Billy, my dear, how sheepishly you look?
Approach, my spouse, and let me kifs thy cheek! "Thou should'st be always thus, refign'd and meek! "Of Job's great patience fince so oft you preach, "Well fhould you practise, who so well can teach. " 'Tis difficult to do, I must allow,
"But I, my dearest, will inftru&t you how.
"Great is the bleffing of a prudent wife,
"Who puts a period to domeftic ftrife.