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How the first female (as the Scriptures fhow)
Brought her own spouse and all his race to woe.
How Samfon fell; and he whom Dejanire

Wrap'd in th' envenom'd fhirt, and fet on fire.
How curs'd Eryphile her lord betray'd,

And the dire ambush Clytemneftra laid.

381

But what most pleas'd him was the Cretan dame, 385
And husband-bull-oh monftrous! fie for fhame!
He had by heart, the whole detail of woe
Xantippe made her good man undergo;
How oft fhe fcolded in a day, he knew,
How many pifs-pots on the fage fhe threw;
Who took it patiently, and wip'd his head;
"Rain follows thunder :" that was all he faid.
He read, how Arius to his friend complain'd,
A fatal Tree was growing in his land,

390

395

On which three wives fucceffively had twin'd
A fliding noofe, and waver'd in the wind.
Where grows this plant (reply'd the friend) oh where?
For better fruit did never orchard bear.

Give me fome flip of this most blissful treė,

And in my garden planted fhall it be.

400

Then how two wives their lords' deftruction prove, Through hatred one, and one through too much love; That for her husband mix'd a pois'nous draught, And this for luft an am'rous philtre bought: The nimble juice foon feiz'd his giddy head, Frantic at night, and in the morning dead.

405

How

How fome with fwords their fleeping lords have

flain,

And some have hammer'd nails into their brain,
And fome have drench'd them with a deadly potion;
All this he read, and read with great devotion. 410
Long time I heard, and fwell'd, and blush'd, and

frown'd;

But when no end of these vile tales I found,
When still he read, and laugh'd, and read again,
And half the night was thus confum'd in vain ;
Provok❜d to vengeance, three large leaves I tore,
And with one buffet fell'd him on the floor.
With that my husband in a fury rofe,
And down he fettled me with hearty blows.
I groan'd, and lay extended on my fide;
Oh! thou haft flain me for my wealth (I cry'd)
Yet I forgive thee-take my last embrace—
He wept, kind foul! and ftoop'd to kifs my face;
I took him fuch a box as turn'd him blue,
Then figh'd and cry'd, Adieu, my dear, adieu !
But after many a hearty ftruggle past,

I condefcended to be pleas'd at last.
Soon as he faid, My mistress and my wife,

Do what you lift, the term of all

your

I took to heart the merits of the cause,

life:

416

420

425

And stood content to rule by wholefome laws; 430
Receiv'd the reins of abfolute command,

With all the government of house and land,
And empire o'er his tongue, and o'er his hand.

As for the volume that revil'd the dames,

434 "Twas torn to fragments, and condemn'd to flames. Now Heav'n, on all my hufbands gone, bestow Pleasures above, for tortures felt below: That reft they wish'd for, grant them in the grave, And bless those fouls my conduct help'd to fave!

THE lines of Pope, in the piece before us, are fpirited and cafy, and have, properly enough, a free colloquial air. One passage I cannot forbear quoting, as it acquaints us with the writers who were popular in the time of Chaucer. The jocofe old woman fays, that her husband frequently read to her out of a volume that contained

"Valerius, whole; and of Saint Jerome, part;
Chryfippus and Tertullian, Ovid's Art,

Solomon's Proverbs, Eloïfa's loves;

With many more than fure the Church approves."

VER. 359.

Pope has omitted a ftroke of humour; for, in the original, fhe naturally mistakes the rank and age of St. Jerome; the lines muft be tranfcribed,

་་

Yclepid Valerie and Theophraft,

At which boke he lough alway full faft;

And eke there was a clerk fometime in Rome,

A cardinal, that hightin St. Jerome,
That made a boke agenft Jovinian,
In which boke there was eke Tertullian,
Chryfippus, Trotula, and Helowis,
That was an abbefs not ferr fro Paris,
And eke the Parables of Solomon,
Ovid'is art, and bokis many a one."

In the library which Charles V. founded in France, about the year 1376, among many books of devotion, aftrology, chemistry, and romance, there was not one copy of Tully to be found, and no Latin poet but Ovid, Lucan, and Boethius; fome French translations of Livy, Valerius Maximus, and St. Auftin's City of God. He placed thefe in one of the towers, called The Tower of the Library. This was the foundation of the prefent magnificent royal library at Paris.

The tale, to which this is the prologue, has been verfified by Dryden, and is fuppofed to have been of Chaucer's own inven.

tion; as is the exquifite Vifion of the Flower and the Leaf, which has received a thousand new graces from the spirited and harmonious Dryden. It is to his Fables, (next to his Mufic Ode,) written when he was above seventy years old, that Dryden will chiefly owe his immortality; and among these, particularly to the well-conducted tale of Palamon and Arcite, the pathetic picture of Sigifmunda, the wild and terrible graces of Theodore and Honoria, and the sportive pleasantry of Cymon and Iphigenia.

These pieces of Chaucer were not the only ones that were ver fified by Pope. Mr. Harte affured me, that he was convinced by some circumftances which Fenton his friend communicated to him, that Pope wrote the characters that make the introduction to the Canterbury Tales, published under the name of Betterton.

WARTON

Dr. Warton thinks "one cannot but wonder at Pope's choice from Chaucer of these ftories, when fo many more are to be found in him more poetical." His observation on Chaucer's poems is very juft, but the fact is, Pope, by this very felection, fhewed the bent of his mind-that it was rather turned to fatire and ridicule, than to the more elevated ftrains of poetry.

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