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Whence fome infer, whofe confcience is too nice,
No pious Chriflian ought to marry twice.
But let them read, and folve me, if they can,
The words addrefs'd to the Samaritan:
Five times in lawful wedlock fhe was join'd; 15
And fure the certain ftint was ne'er defin'd.
"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 elfe the wifeft of mankind's bely'd.
I've had myself full many a merry fit ;
And truft in Heav'n I may have many yet.
For when my tranfitory spouse, unkind,
Shall die, and leave his woeful wife behind,
I'll take the next good Chriftian I can find.
Paul, knowing one could never ferve our turn,
Declar'd 'twas better far to wed than burn.
There's danger in affembling fire and tow;
grant 'em that, and what it means you know. The fame Apostle too has elsewhere own'd, No precept for Virginity he found :
'Tis but a counfel-and we women still
Take which we like, the counfel, or our will.
I envy not their blifs, if he or fhe
Think fit to live in perfect chastity;
Pure let them be, and free from taint or vice;
I, for a few flight spots, am not so nice.
Heav'n calls us diff'rent ways, on these bestows
One proper gift, another grants to those :
Not every man's oblig'd to fell his flore,
And give up all his fubftance to the poor;
Such as are perfect, may, I can't deny;
But, by your leaves, Divines, fo am not I.
Full many a Saint, fince firft the world began,
Liv'd an unspotted maid, in spite of man :
Let fuch (a God's name) with fine wheat be fed,
And let us honeft wives eat barley-bread.
For me, I'll keep the poft affign'd by heav'n,
And use the copious talent it has giv'n :
Let my good fpoufe 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 most piteously to please their bride:
But fince their wealth (the best they had) was mine, 60
The reft, 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 Ease.
Presents 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 witnefs how he lies.
Hark, old Sir Paul! ('twas 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!
you reel home, a drunken beaftly bear,
Then preach till midnight in your easy 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 prieft, or fomething 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 preffin 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 excuses the defects of face.
There fwims no goofe fo grey, but foon or late,
She finds fome honest gander for her mate.
Horses (thou fay'it) and affes men may try,
And ring fufpected veffels ere they buy:
But wives, a random choice, untry'd they take,
They dream in courtship, but in wedlock wake;
Then, not till then, the veil's remov'd away,
And all the woman glares in open day.
You tell me, to preferve your wife's good grace,
Your eyes must always languifh on my face,
Your tongue with conftant flatt'ries feed my ear,
And tag each sentence with, My life! my dear!
If by ftrange chance, a modeft blush be rais'd,
Be fure my fine complexion must be prais'd.
My garments always must be new and gay,
And feafts ftill kept upon my wedding-day.
Then must my nurse be pleas'd, and fav'rite maid;
And endless treats, and endless vifits paid,
To a long train of kindred, friends, allies;
All this thou fay'st, and all thou fay'st are lies.
On Jenkin too you caft a squinting eye:
What can your 'prentice raife your jealoufy?
Fresh are his ruddy cheeks, his forehead fair,
And like the burnish'd gold his curling hair.
But clear thy wrinkled brow, and quit thy forrow,
I'd fcorn your 'prentice, should 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 fpite 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? 135
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,
And none can long be modeft 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 fhow her furr, and to be catterwaw❜d.
Lo thus, my friends, I wrought to my defires
These three right ancient venerable fires.
I told 'em, Thus you fay, and thus you do,
And told 'em falfe, but Jenkin fwore 'twas true.