Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

His proper body is not his but mine;
For so said Paul, and Paul's a sound divine.

55

61

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 toil'd most piteously to please their bride ; But since their wealth (the best they had) was minë, 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 flow'd in apace: with show'rs of gold They made their court, like Jupiter of old : If I but smil'd a sudden youth they found, And a new palsy 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 lie so boldly, as we women can: Forswear the fact, though seen with both his eyes, And call your maids to witness how he lies.

65

70

Hark, old Sir Paul! ('twas thus I us'd to say)
Whence is our neighbor's wife so rich and gay
?
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 so fair?
If I but see a cousin or a friend,

Lord! how you swell and rage like any fiend!
But you reel home, a drunken beastly bear,
Then preach till midnight in your easy chair

80

Cry Wives are false, and ev'ry woman evil,
And give up all that's female to the devil.

85

If
poor (you say) she drains her husband's purse;
If rich, she keeps her priest, or something worse;
If highly born intolerably vain,

Vapors and pride by turns possess her brain;
Now gaily mad, now sourly splenetic,

90

95

Freakish when well, and fretful when she's sick :
If fair, then chaste she cannot long abide,
By pressing youth attack'd on ev'ry side;
If foul, her wealth the lusty lover lures,
Or else her wit some fool-gallant procures ;
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.
Horses (thou say'st) and asses men may try, 100
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.

105

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 still kept upon my wedding-day.

115

Then must my nurse be pleas'd, and fav'rite maid,
And endless treats, and endless visits paid
To a long train of kindred, friends, allies:
All this thou say'st, and all thou say'st are lies.
On Jenkin, too, you cast a squinting eye:
What, can your 'prentice raise your jealousy?
Fresh are his ruddy cheeks, his forehead fair, 120
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.
One you shall quit, in spite of both your eyes→→→→
I heed not, I, the bolts, the locks, the spies.
If you had wit, you'd say, '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 soever others fare?

Though all the day I give and take delight,
Doubt not sufficient will be left at night.
'Tis but a just and rational desire,

To light a taper at a neighbor's fire.

135

There's danger too, you think, in rich array, 140 And none can long be modest that are gay.

[ocr errors]

The cat, if you but singe her tabby skin,

The chimney keeps, and sits content within;
But once grown sleek, will from her corner run,
Sport with her tail, and wanton in the sun: 145
She licks her fair round face, and frisks abroad,
To show her fur, and to be caterwaul'd.

Lo thus, my friends, I wrought to my desires These three right ancient venerable sires.

I told 'em, Thus you say, and thus you do; 150
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 them out of
doors:

155

160

And swore the rambles that I took by night,
Were all to spy what damsels they bedight:
That color 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 course,
By murm'ring, wheedling, stratagem, and force,
I still 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 side,
What! so familiar with your spouse ?' (I ery'd;)

I levy'd first a tax upon his need;

Then let him-'twas a nicety indeed!

165

Let all mankind this certain maxim hold,
Marry who will, our sex is to be sold.

With empty hands no tassels you can lure,
But fulsome love for gain we can endure :
For gold we love the impotent and old,

170

And heave, and pant, and kiss, and cling, for gold. Yet with embraces curses oft I mix'd, 176

Then kiss'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 dispute I was unable,

180

Ev'n though the Pope himself had sat at table ; But when my point was gain'd, then thus I spoke : Billy, my dear! how sheepishly you look!

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Approach, my spouse! and let me kiss thy cheek; Thou should'st be always thus, resign'd and meek. • Of Job's great patience since so oft you preach, 'Well should you practise, who so well can teach. 'Tis difficult to do, I must allow,

But I, my dearest! will instruct you' how. • Great is the blessing of a prudent wife, Who puts a period to domestic strife.

One of us two must rule, and one obey;

190

• And since in man right reason bears the sway,

[ocr errors]

"Let that frail thing, weak woman, have her

The wives of all my family have rul'd

way.

195

Their tender husbands, and their passions cool'd.

Fye! 'tis unmanly thus so sigh and groan :

‹ What! would you have me to yourself alone?

« AnteriorContinuar »