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CHAU CE R. BEHOL

you true.

EHOLD the woes of matrimonial life,

And hear with rey'rence an experienc'd wife! To dear-bought wisdom give the credit due, And think, for once, a woman tells In all these trials I have borne a part,

5 I was myself the scourge that caus’d the smart; For, since fifteen, in triumph have I led Five captive husbands from the church to bed.

Christ saw a wedding once, the Scripture says, And faw but one, 'tis thought, in all his days; IO Whence some infer, whose conscience is too nice, No pious Christian ought to marry twice.

But let them read, and solve me, if they can, The words address'd to the Samaritan : Five times in lawful wedlock she was join'd; 15 And sure the certain stint was ne'er defin'd,

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Encrease and multiply, was heav'n's command, And that's a text I clearly understand. 'This too, “Let men their fires and mothers leave,

And to their dearer wives for ever cleave.
More wives than one by Solomon were try'd,
Or else the wisest of mankind's bely'd.
I've had myself full many a merry fit ;
And trust in heav'n I may have many yet,

,
For when my transitory spouse, unkind,
Shall die, and leave his woeful wife behind,
I'll take the next good Chrisțian I can find.

Paul, knowing one could never serve our turn, Declar'd 'twas better far to wed than burn. There's danger in assembling fire and tow; 30 I grant 'em that, and what it

you

know. The fame Apostle too has elsewhere own'd, No precept for Virginity he found: 'Tis but a counsel -- and we women still Take which we like, the counsel, or our will.

35 I envy not their bliss, if he or she Think fit to live in perfect chastity ; Pure let them be, and free from taint of vice; I, for a few slight spots, am not so nice. Heav'n calls us diff'rent ways, on these bestows 40 One proper gift, another grants to those: Not ev'ry man's oblig'd to fell his store, And give up all his substance to the poor ;

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Such as are perfect, may, I can't deny;

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But, by your leave, Divines, fo am not I. 45

Full many a Saint, fince first the world began,
Liv'd an unspotted maid, in spite of man:
Let such (a God's name) with fine wheat be fed,
And let us honest wives eat barley bread.
For me, I'll keep the post affign’d by heav'n, 50
And use the copious talent it has giv’n:
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.

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Know then, of those five husbands I have had,
Three were just tolerable, two were bad.
The three were old, but rich and fond beside,
And toild most piteously to please their bride:
But since their wealth (the best they had) was mine,
The rest, without much loss, I could resign.
Sure to be lov'd, I took no pains to please,
Yet had more Pleasure far than they had Ease,

Presents fow'd in apace : with show'rs of gold,
They made their court, like Jupiter of old.
If I but smild, a sudden youth they found,
And a new pally seiz'd them when I frown'd.

Ye sov’reign wives ! give ear, and understand,
Thus shall ye speak, and exercise command.
For never was it giv’n to mortal man,
To lye so boldly as we women can:

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Forswear the fact, tho' seen 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? 75
Treated, caress’d, where'er she's pleas'd to roam
I sit in tatters, and immur'd at home.
Why to her house dost thou so oft repair ?
Art thou so am'rous ? and is she fo fair ?
If I but see a cousin or a friend,

80 Lord ! how you swell, 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 ev'ry woman evil, And give up all that's female to the devil. If

poor (you say) The drains her husband's purse; If rich, she keeps her prieft, or something worse; If highly born, intolerably vain, Vapours and pride by turns poffefs her brain, Now gayly mad, now sourly splenetic, Freakish when well, and fretful when she's fick, If fair, then chaste the cannot long abide, By presfing youth attack'd on ev'ry fide: If foul, her wealth the lusty lover lures, Or else her wit some fool-gallant procures, 95 Or else she dances with becoming grace, Or shape excuses the defects of face, There swims no goose so grey, but soon or late, She finds some honest gander for her mate.

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Horses (thou say'ft) and affes, men may try,
And ring suspected vessels 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. ? IOS

"You tell me, to preserve your wife's good grace,
Your eyes must always languish on my face,
Your tongue with constant flatt'ries feed my ear,
And tag each sentence with, My life! My dear!
If by strange chance, a modest blush be rais’d, 110
Be sure 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 nurse be pleas'd, and fav’rite maid ;
And endless treats, and endless visits paid, 115
To a long train of kindred, friends, allies ;
Al this thou fay'ft, and all thou fay'st are lyes.

On Jenkin too you cast a squinting eye:
What! can your prentice raise your jealousy?
Fresh are his ruddy cheeks, his forehead fair, I20
And like the burnish'd gold his curling hair.
But clear thy wrinkled brow, and quit thy sorrow,
I'd scorn your prentice, should you die to-morrow.

Why are thy chests all lock'd? on what design?
Are not thy worldly goods and treasure mine? 125
Sir, I'm no fool: nor shall you, by St. John,
Have goods and body to yourself alone.

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