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So featly tripp'd the light-foot ladies round,

The knights so nimbly o'er the greensward bound, That scarce they bent the flowers, or touch'd the ground.

The dances ended, all the fairy train

For pinks and daisies search'd the flowery plain;
While, on a bank reclined of rising green,
Thus, with a frown, the king bespoke his queen:
"Tis too apparent, argue what you can,
The treachery you women use to man:

A thousand authors have this truth made out,
And sad experience leaves no room for doubt.
'Heaven rest thy spirit, noble Solomon,
A wiser monarch never saw the sun;
All wealth, all honours, the supreme degree
Of earthly bliss, was well bestow'd on thee!
For sagely hast thou said: "Of all mankind,
One only just and righteous hope to find:

He ceased at last his Maker to adore,
And did as much for idol-gods, or more.
Beware what lavish praises you confer
On a rank lecher and idolater;

Whose reign, indulgent God, says holy writ,
Did but for David's righteous sake permit;
David, the monarch after Heaven's own mind,
Who loved our sex, and honour'd all our kind.

'Well, I'm a woman, and as such must speak;
Silence would swell me, and my heart would break
Know then, I scorn your dull authorities,
Your idle wits, and all their learned lies.
By Heaven, those authors are our sex's foes,
Whom, in our right, I must and will oppose.'
'Nay,' quoth the king, dear madam, be not wroth;
I yield it up; but since I gave my oath,

That this much-injured knight again should see,
It must be done-I am a king,' said he,

But shouldst thou search the spacious world around, And one, whose faith has ever sacred been.
Yet one good woman is not to be found."

And so has mine,' said she,-I am a queen;

'Thus says the king who knew your wicked- Her answer she shall have, I undertake;

ness:

The son of Sirach testifies no less.

So may some wildfire on your bodies fall,
Or some devouring plague consume you all;
As well you view the lecher in the tree,
And well this honourable knight you see:
But since he's blind and old (a helpless case,)
His squire shall cuckold him before your face.
'Now, by my own dread majesty I swear,
And by this awful sceptre which I bear,
No impious wretch shall 'scape unpunish'd long,
That in my presence offers such a wrong.
I will this instant undeceive the knight,
And in the very act restore his sight;
And set the strumpet here in open view,
A warning to these ladies, and to you,
And all the faithless sex, for ever to be true.'
'And will you so,' replied the queen, 'indeed?
Now, by mother's soul, it is decreed,
She shall not want an answer at her need.
For her, and for her daughters, I'll engage,
And all the sex in each succeeding age!
Art shall be theirs, to varnish an offence,
And fortify their crime with confidence.
Nay, were they taken in a strict embrace,
Seen with both eyes, and pinion'd on the place;
All they shall need is to protest and swear,
Breathe a soft sigh, and drop a tender tear;
Till their wise husbands, gull'd by arts like these,
Grow gentle, tractable, and tame as geese.
What though this slanderous Jew, this Solomon,
Call'd women fools, and knew full many a one;
The wiser wits of later times declare,

How constant, chaste, and virtuous, women are:
Witness the martyrs, who resign'd their breath,
Serene in torments, unconcern'd in death,
And witness next what Roman authors tell,
How.Arria, Portia, and Lucretia fell.

'But, since the sacred leaves to all are free, And men interpret texts, why should not we?

By this no more was meant, than to have shown,

That sovereign goodness dwells in him alone
Who only is, and is but only One.

And thus an end of all dispute I make.
Try when you list; and you shall find, my lord,

It is not in our sex to break our word.'

We leave them here in this heroic strain,
And to the knight our story turns again;
Who in the garden, with his lovely May,
Sung merrier than the cuckow or the jay:
This was his song; 'Oh, kind and constant be,
Constant and kind I'll ever prove to thee.'

Thus singing as he went, at last he drew
By easy steps, to where the pear-tree grew :
The longing dame look'd up, and spied her love
Full fairly perch'd among the boughs above.
She stopp'd and sighing: 'Oh, good gods!' she cried,
'What pangs, what sudden shoots, distend my side!
O for that tempting fruit, so fresh, so green :
Help, for the love of heaven's immortal queen!
Help, dearest lord, and save at once the life
Of thy poor infant, and thy longing wife!'

Sore sigh'd the knight to hear his lady's cry,
But could not climb, and had no servant nigh:
Old as he was, and void of eye-sight too,
What could, alas! a helpless husband do?
And must I languish then,' she said, 'and die,
Yet view the lovely fruit before my eye?
At least, kind sir, for charity's sweet sake,
Vouchsafe the trunk between your arms to take,
Then from your back I might ascend the tree;
Do you but stoop, and leave the rest to me.'

'With all my soul,' he thus replied again :
I'd spend my dearest blood to ease thy pain.'
With that, his back against the trunk he bent,
She seized a twig, and up the tree she went.

Now prove your patience, gentle ladies all!
Nor let on me your heavy anger fall:
'Tis truth I tell, though not in phrase refined;
Though blunt my tale, yet honest is my mind.
What feats the lady in the tree might do,

I pass, as gambols never known to you;
But sure it was a merrier fit, she swore,
Than in her life she ever felt before.

In that nice moment, lo! the wondering knight
Look'd out, and stood restored to sudden sight.

But grant the worst; shall women then be weigh 1 Straight on the tree his eager eyes he bent,

By every word that Solomon has said?

What though this king (as ancient story boasts)
Built a fair temple to the Lord of Hosts;

As one whose thoughts were on his spouse
But when he saw his bosom-wife so dress
His rage was such as cannot be express'd

intent

Not frantic mothers, when their infants die, With louder clamours rend the vaulted sky: He cried, he roar'd, he storm'd, he tore his hair: 'Death! hell! and furies! what dost thou do there?' 'What ails my lord?' the trembling dame replied; 'I thought your patience had been better tried: Is this your love, ungrateful and unkind, This my reward for having cured the blind? Why was I taught to make my husband see, By struggling with a man upon a tree? Did I for this the power of magic prove? Unhappy wife, whose crime was too much love!' 'If this be struggling, by his holy light, 'Tis struggling with a vengeance,' quoth the knight; 'So Heaven preserve the sight it has restored, As with these eyes I plainly saw thee whored; Whored by my slave-perfidious wretch! may hell As surely seize thee, as I saw too well!'

'Guard me, good angels!' cried the gentle May, 'Pray Heaven, this magic work the proper way! Alas, my love! 'tis certain, could you see, You ne'er had used these killing words to me: So help me, Fates, as 'tis no perfect sight, But some faint glimmering of a doubtful light.'

'What I have said,' quoth he, 'I must maintain,
For by the immortal powers it seem'd too plain.'-
'By all those powers, some frenzy seized your mind,'
Replied the dame: 'are these the thanks I find?
Wretch that I am, that e'er I was so kind,'
She said: a rising sigh express'd her woe,
The ready tears apace began to flow,
And, as they fell, she wiped from either eye,
The drops; (for women, when they list, can cry.)
The knight was touch'd, and in his looks appear'd
Signs of remorse, while thus his spouse he cheer'd:
'Madam, 'tis pass'd, and my short anger o'er;
Come down, and vex your tender heart no more:
Excuse me, dear, if aught amiss was said,
For, on my soul, amends shall soon be made
Let my repentance your forgiveness draw.
By Heaven, I swore but what I thought I saw.'
'Ah, my loved lord! 'twas much unkind,' she cried,
'On bare suspicion thus to treat your bride.
But, till your sight 's establish'd, for a while,
Imperfect objects may your sense beguile.
Thus when from sleep we first our eyes display,
The balls are wounded with the piercing ray,
And dusky vapours rise, and intercept the day.
So, just recovering from the shades of night,
Your swimming eyes are drunk with sudden light,
Strange phantoms dance around, and skim before
your sight:

Then, sir, be cautious, nor too rashly deem.
Heaven knows how seldom things are what they seem!
Consult your reason, and you soon shall find
'Twas you were jealous, not your wife unkind:
Jove ne'er spoke oracle more true than this,
None judge so wrong as those who think amiss.'
With that she leap'd into her lord's embrace,
With well-dissembled virtue in her face.
He hugg'd her close, and kiss'd her o'er and o'er,
Disturb'd with doubts and jealousies no more:
Both, pleased and bless'd, renew'd their mutual vows,
A fruitful wife, and a believing spouse.

Thus ends our tale; whose moral next to make,
Let all wise husbands hence example take:
And pray, to crown the pleasure of their lives,
To be so well deluded by their wives.

THE WIFE OF BATH. HER PROLOGUE.

FROM CHAUCER.

BEHOLD the woes of matrimonial life,
And hear with reverence an experienced wife.
To dear-bought wisdom give the credit due,
And think for once a woman tells you true.
In all these trials I have borne a part,

I was myself the scourge that caused 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 saw but one, 'tis thought, in all his days: 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;
And sure the certain stint was ne'er defined.

'Increase and multiply,' was Heaven's command;
And that's a text I clearly understand.
This too, 'Let men their sires and mothers leave,
And to their dearer wives for ever cleave.'
More wives than one by Solomon were tried,
Or else the wisest of mankind's belied.
I've had myself full many a merry fit,
And trust in heaven, I may have many yet;
For when my transitory spouse, unkind,
Shall die, and leave his woful wife behind,
I'll take the next good Christian I can find.

Paul, knowing one could never serve our turn, Declared 'twas better far to wed than burn. There's danger in assembling fire and tow;

I grant them that, and what it means you know.
The same 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.
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.
Heaven calls us different ways, on these bestows
One proper gift, another grants to those :
Not every man's obliged to sell his store,
And give up all his substance to the poor;
Such as are perfect may, I can't deny;
But, by your leaves, divines, so am not I.

Full many a saint, since first the world began,
Lived 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 assign'd by Heaven,
And use the copious talent it has given:
Let my good spouse pay tribute, do me right,
And keep an equal reckoning every night.
His proper body is not his, but mine;
For so said Paul, and Paul's a sound 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 beside,
And toil'd 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 loved, I took no pains to please,
Yet had more pleasure far than they had ease.
Presents flow'd in apace: with showers of gold,
They made their court, like Jupiter of old.
If I but smiled, a sudden youth they found,
And a new palsy seized them when I frown'd.
Ye sovereign wives! give ear and understand,
Thus shall ye speak, and exercise command.
For never was it given 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.

'Hark, old sir Paul!' 'twas thus I used to say,
'Whence is our neighbour's wife so rich and gay?
Treated, caress'd where'er she's pleased to roam-
I sit in tatters, and immured at home.

Why to her house dost thou so oft repair?
Art thou so amorous? 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;
Cry, wives are false, and every woman evil,
And give up all that's female to the devil.

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

Vapours and pride by turns possess her brain,
Now gaily mad, now sourly splenetic;
Freakish when well, and fretful when she's sick.
If fair, then chaste she cannot long abide,
By pressing youth attack'd on every 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 gray, but, soon or late,
She finds some honest gander for her mate.
'Horses (thou say'st) and asses men may try,
And ring suspected vessels ere they buy:
But wives, a random choice, untried they take,
They dream in courtship, but in wedlock wake:
Then, nor till then, the veil's removed away,
And all the woman glares in open day.

'You tell me, to preserve your wife's good grace,
Your eyes must always languish on my face,
Your tongue with constant flatteries feed my ear,
And tag each sentence with, My life! My dear!
If by strange chance, a modest blush be raised,
Be sure my fine complexion must be praised.
My garments always must be new and gay,
And feasts still kept upon my wedding-day.

If you had wit, you'd say, 'Go where you will,
Dear spouse, I credit not the tales they tell :
Take all the freedoms of a married 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,

Tc light a taper at a neighbour's fire.

'There's danger too, you think, in rich array,
And none can long be modest that are gay.
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;
She licks her fair round face, and frisks abroad,
To show her fur, and to be catterwaw'd.'

Lo thus, my friends, I wrought to my desires
These three right ancient venerable sires.
I told them, thus you say, and thus you do,
And told them 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;

And swore the rambles that I took by night,
Were all to spy what damsels they bedight.
That colour brought me many hours of mirth;
For all this wit is given us from our birth.
Heaven gave to women the peculiar grace,
To spin, to weep, and cully human race.
By this nice conduct, and this prudent course,
By murmuring, wheedling, stratagem, and force,
I still prevail'd, and would be in the right,
Or curtain- ectures made a restless night.
If once my husband's arm was o'er my side,
'What! so familiar with your spouse?' I cried
I levied first a tax upon his need;
Then let him-'twas a nicety indeed!
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,
And heave, and pant, and kiss, and cling, for gold
Yet with embraces, curses oft I mix'd,
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,

Then must my nurse be pleased, and favourite maid, E'en though the Pope himself had sat at table.

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
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?
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.

But when my point was gain'd, then thus I spoke.
Billy, my dear, how sheepishly you look!
Approach, my spouse, and let me kiss thy cheek,
Thou shouldst be always thus, resign'd and meek
Of Job's great patience since so oft you preach,
Well should you practice, 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,
And since in man right reason bears the sway,
Let that frail thing, weak woman, have her way
The wives of all my family have ruled
Their tender husbands, and their passions cool'd,

Fie, 'tis unmanly thus to sigh and groan :
What! would you have me to yourself alone?
Why take me, love! take all and every part!
Here's your revenge! you love it at your heart
Would I vouchsafe to sell what nature gave,
You little think what custom I could have.
But see! I'm all your own-nay hold-for shame
What means my dear-indeed-you are to blame.
Thus with my first three lords I passed my life,
A very woman and a very wife.

What sums from these old spouses I could raise,
Procured young husbands in my riper days.
Though past my bloom, not yet decay'd was I,
Wanton and wild, and chatter'd like a pie.
In country dances still I bore the bell,
And sung as sweet as evening Philomel.
To clear my quailpipe, and refresh my soul,
*Full oft I drain'd the spicy nut-brown bowl;
Rich luscious wines, that youthful blood improve,
And warm the swelling veins to feats of love:
For 'tis as sure, as cold engenders hail,
A liquorish mouth must have a lecherous tail:
Wine lets no lover unrewarded go,
As all true gamesters by experience know.
But oh, good gods! whene'er a thought I cast
On all the joys of youth and beauty pass'd,
To find in pleasures I have had my part,
Still warms me to the bottom of my heart.
This wicked world was once my dear delight;
Now, all my conquests, all my charins, good night!
The flour consumed, the best that now I can,
Is e'en to make my market of the bran.

My fourth dear spouse was not exceeding true;
He kept, 'twas thought, a private miss or two;
But all that score I paid-as how? you'll say,
Not with my body in a filthy way:

But I so dress'd, and danced, and drank, and dined,
And view'd a friend with eyes so very kind,
As stung his heart, and made his marrow fry
With burning rage, and frantic jealousy.
His soul, I hope, enjoys eternal glory,
For here on earth I was his purgatory.
Oft, when his shoe the most severely wrung,
He put on careless airs, and sate and sung.
How sore I gall'd him, only Heaven could know,
And he that felt, and I that caused the woe.
He died, when last from pilgrimage I came,
With other gossips, from Jerusalem;
And now lies buried underneath a rood,
Fair to be seen, and rear'd of honest wood:
A tomb indeed, with fewer sculptures graced
Than that Mausolus' pious widow placed,
Or where inshrined the great Darius lay;
But cost on graves is merely thrown away.
The pit fill'd up, with turf we cover'd o'er;
So bless the good man's soul, I'll say no more.
Now for my fifth loved lord, the last and best,
(Kind Heaven afford him everlasting rest!)
Full hearty was his love, and I can show
The tokens on my ribs in black and blue;
Yet, with a knack, my heart he could have won,
While yet the smart was shooting in the bone.
How quaint an appetite in women reigns!
Free gifts we scorn, and love what costs us pains:
Let men avoid us, and on them we leap;
A glutted market makes provision cheap.
In pure good-will I took this jovial spark,
Of Oxford he, a most egregious clerk.

He boarded with a widow in the town,
A trusty gossip, one dame Alison.
Full well the secrets of my soul she knew,
Better than e'er our parish priest could do.
To her I told whatever could befall:
Had but my husband piss'd against the wall,
Or done a thing that might have cost his life,
She-and my niece-and one more worthy wife,
Had known it all: what most he would conceal,
To these I made no scruple to reveal.
Oft has he blush'd from ear to ear for shame,
That e'er he told a secret to his dame.
It so befell, in holy time of Lent,
That oft a day I to this gossip went.

(My husband, thank my stars, was out of town ;)
From house to house we rambled up and down,
This clerk, myself, and my good neighbour Alse,
To see,
be seen, to tell and gather tales.
Visits to every church we daily paid,
And march'd in every holy masquerade,
The stations duly and the vigils kept;
Not much we fasted, but scarce ever slept.
At sermons too I shone in scarlet gay;
The wasting moth ne'er spoil'd my best array;
The cause was this, I wore it every day.
'Twas when fresh May her early blossoms yields,
This clerk and I were walking in the fields,
We grew so intimate, I can't tell how,

I pawn'd my honour, and engaged my vow,
If e'er I laid my husband in his urn,
That he, and only he, should serve my turn.
We straight struck hands, the bargain was agreed;
I still have shifts against a time of need:
The mouse that always trusts to one poor hole,
Can never be a mouse of any soul.

I vow'd I scarce could sleep since first I knew him
And durst be sworn he had bewitch'd me to him;
If e'er I slept, I dream'd of him alone,

And dreams foretell, as learned men have shown;
All this I said; but dreams, sirs, I had none:
I follow'd but my crafty crony's lore,
Who bid me tell this lie-and twenty more.

Thus day by day, and month by month we pass'd It pleased the Lord to take my spouse at last.

I tore my gown, I soil'd my locks with dust,
And beat my breast as wretched widows-must.
Before my face my handkerchief I spread,
To hide the flood of tears I did-not shed.
The good man's coffin to the church was borne:
Around, the neighbours, and my clerk too, mourn.
But as he march'd, good gods! he show'd a pair
Of legs and feet, so clean, so strong, so fair!
Of twenty winters' age he seem'd to be,
I (to say truth) was twenty more than he :
But vigorous still, a lively buxom dame;
And had a wondrous gift to quench a flame.
A conjuror once, that deeply could divine,
Assured me,
Mars in Taurus was my sign
As the stars order'd, such my life has been:
Alas, alas, that ever love was sin!
Fair Venus gave me fire and sprightly grace,
And Mars assurance and a dauntless face.
By virtue of this powerful constellation,

I follow'd always my own inclination.

But to my tale: A month scarce pass'd away,
With dance and song we kept the nuptial day;
All I possess'd I gave to his command,
My goods and chattels, money, house, and land:

But oft repented, and repent it still:

He proved a rebel to my sovereign will:
Nay once, by Heaven, he struck me on the face;
Hear but the fact, and judge yourselves the case.
Stubborn as any lioness was I,

And knew full well to raise my voice on high;
As true a rambler as I was before,
And would be so, in spite of all he swore.
He against this right sagely would advise,
And old examples set before my eyes;
Tell how the Roman matrons led their life,
Of Gracchus' mother, and Duilius' wife;
And close the sermon, as beseem'd his wit,
With some grave sentence out of holy writ.
Oft would he say, 'Who builds his house on sands,
Pricks his blind horse across the fallow lands;
Or lets his wife abroad with pilgrims roam,
Deserves a fool's-cap, and long ears at home.'
All this avail'd not; for whoe'er he be
That tells my faults, I hate him mortally:
And so do numbers more, I boldly say,
Men, women, clergy, regular and lay.

Then how two wives their lords' destruction prove,
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

frown'd:

But when no end to these vile tales I found,
When still he read, and laugh'd, and read again,
And half the night was thus consumed in vain;
Provoked to vengeance, three large leaves I tore,
And with one buffet fell'd him on the floor.
With that my husband in a fury rose,

And down he settled me with hearty blows.

I groan'd, and lay extended on my side; 'Oh! thou hast slain me for my wealth,' I cried. 'Yet I forgive thee-take my last embrace-'

My spouse (who was, you know, to learning bred) He wept, kind soul! and stoop'd to kiss my face:

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 marked 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,
Read in this book, aloud, with strange delight,
How the first female (as the Scriptures show)
Brought her own spouse and all his race to woe.
How Samson fell; and he whom Dejanire
Wrapp'd in the envenom'd shirt, and set on fire.
How cursed Eriphyle her lord betray'd,
And the dire ambush Clytemnestra laid.
But what most pleased him was the Cretan Dame,
And Husband bull-oh monstrous! fie, for shame!
He had by heart the whole detail of woe
Xantippe made her good man undergo;
How oft she scolded in a day he knew,
How many piss-pots on the sage she threw,
Who took it patiently and wiped his head;
'Rain follows thunder,'-that was all he said.
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.

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I took him such a box as turn'd him blue,

Then sigh'd, and cried, Adieu, my dear, adieu!'

But after many a hearty struggle pass'd,

I condescended to be pleased at last.
Soon as he said, 'My mistress and my wife,
Do what you list, the term of all your life;

I took to heart the merits of the

And stood content to rule by wholesome laws;
Received the reins of absolute 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 reviled the dames,
'Twas torn to fragments, and condemn'd to flames.

Now, Heaven, on all my husbands gone, bestow
Pleasures above for tortures felt below.
That rest they wish'd for, grant them in the grave,
And bless those souls my conduct help'd to save!

THE FIRST BOOK OF

STATIUS HIS THEBAIS. Translated in the Year 1703.

ARGUMENT.

Edipus, king of Thebes, having by mistake slain his father Laïus, 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, each 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 Poly nices 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

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