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My spouse (who was, you know, to learning bred) A certain treatise oft at evening read, Where divers authors (whom the devil confound For all their lies!) were in one volume bound. Valerius, whole ; and of St. Jerome, part; Chrysippus and Tertullian, Ovid's Art, Solomon's Proverbs, Eloïsa's loves; And many more than sure the church approves. More legions were there here of wicked wives, Than good in all the Bible and saints' lives. Who drew the lion vanquish'd ? 'twas a man. But could we women write as scholars can, Men should stand mark'd with far more wickedness Than all the sons of Adam could redress. Love seldom haunts the breast where learning lies, And Venus sets ere Mercury can rise. Those play the scholars, who can't play the men, And use that weapon which they have, their pen; When old, and past the relish of delight, Then down they sit, and in their dotage write, That not one woman keeps her marriage vow. (This by the way; but to my purpose now.)
It chanced my husband on a winter's night,
He had by heart the whole detail of woe
He read, how Arius to his friend complain'd, A fatal tree was growing in his land, On which three wives successively had twined A sliding noose, and waver'd in the wind. "Where grows this plant,' replied the friend, oh where? For better fruit did never orchard bear: Give me some slip of this most blissful tree, And in my garden planted shall it bę.'
Then how two wives their lords' destruction provc, Through hatred one, and one through too much love: That for her husband mix'd a poisonous draught, And this for lust an amorous philtre bought: The nimble juice soon seized his giddy head, Frantic at night, and in the morning dead. How some with swords their sleeping lords have
slain, And some have hammer'd nails into their brain, And some have drench'd them with a deadly potion; All this he read, and read with great devotion. Long time I heard, and swell’d, and blush'd, and
But after many a hearty struggle pass’d,
I tuok to heart the merits of the cause,
Now, Heaven, on all my husbands gone, bestow
THE FIRST BOOK OF
STATIUS HIS THEBAIS.
Translated in the Year 1703.
ARGUMENT. Edipus, king of Thebes, having hy mistake slain lue
father Laius, and married his mother Jocasta, put out his own eyes, and resigned the realm to his sons, Eteocles and Polynices. Being neglected by them, he makes his prayer to the fury Tisiphone, to sow debate betwixt the brothers. They agree at last to reign singly, cach a year by turns, and the first lot is obtained by Eteocles. Jupiter, in a council of the gods, declares his resolution of punishing the Thebans, and Argives also, by means of a marriage between Polynices and one of the daughters of Adrastus, king of Argos Juno opposes, but to no effect; and Mercury is sent on a message to the Shades, to the ghost of Laius, who is to appear to Eteocles, and provoke him to break the agreement. Polynices in the mean time departs from Thebes by night, is overtaken by a storm, and arrives at Argos; where he meets with Tydeus, who had fled from Calydon, having killed his brother. Adrastus entertains them, having received an oracle from Apollo that his daughter should be married to a boar and a lion, which he understands to be meant of these strangers, by whom the hides of those beasts were worn, and who arrived at the time when he kept an annual feast in honour of that god. The rise of this solemnity he relates to his guests, the loves of Phæbus and Psa mathe, and the story of Chorebus. He inquires, and is made acquainted with their descent and quali. ty. The sacrifice is renewed, and the book concludes
with a hymn to Apollo. The translator hopes he need not apologize for his choice
of this piece, which was made almost in his childhood : but, finding the version better than he expected, he gave it some correction a few years afterwards.
STATIUS HIS THEBAIS. FRATERNAL rage the guilty Thebes alarms, The alternate reign destroy'd by impious arms, Demand our song; a sacred fury fires My ravish'd breast, and all the muse inspires. O goddess ! say, shall I deduce my rhymes From the dire nation in its early times, Europa's rape, Agenor's stern decree, And Cadmus searching round the spacious sea ? How with the serpent's teeth he sowed the soil, And reap'd an iron harvest of his toil? Or how from joining stones the city sprung, While to his harp divine Amphion sung? Or shall I Juno's hate to Thebes resound, Whose fatal rage the unhappy monarch found? The sire against the son his arrows drew, O’er the wide fields the furious mother flew, And while her arms a second hope contain, Sprung from the rocks, and plunged into the main
But wave whate'er to Cadmus may belong,
Muse! the barrier of thy song
How twice he tamed proud Ister's rapid flood,
Yet stay, great Cæsar! and vouchsafe to reign
The time will come, when a diviner flame