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Cry Wives are false, and ev'ry woman evil,
90 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;
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.
Horses (thou say’st) and asses 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.
105 You tell me to preserve your wife's good grace, Your eyes must always languish on my face, Your tongue
with constant flate’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.
Then must my nurse be pleas'd, and fav'rite maid,
On Jenkin, too, you cast a squinting eye :
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 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
How merrily soever others fare?
135 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.
There's danger too, you think, in rich array, 140 And none can long be modest that are gay.
The cat, if you but singe her tabby skin,
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 righe 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 And swore the sambles that I took by night, Were all to spy what damsels they bedight : That color brought me many house of mirth ; For all this wit is giv'n us from our birth. Heav'n gave to woman the peculiar grace 160 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. 163 If once my husband's arm was o'er my side, What ! so familiar with your spouse ?' (I cry’d;) I levy'd first a tax upon his need; Then let him—'was a nicely indeed !
Let all mankind this certain maxim hold, 170
• Why, take me, love ! take all and ev'ry part ! • Here's your revenge ! you love it at your heart.
Would I vouchsafe to sell what Nature gave, 201 • 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 pass'd my life, A very woman, and a very wife.
206 What sums from these old spouses I could raise, Procur'd
husbands in my riper days. Though past my bloom, not yet decay'd was I ; Wanton and wild, and chatter'd like a pie. 210 In country dances still I bore the bell, And
sung as sweet as ev'ning Philomel. To clear my quail pipe, 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 : 216 For 'tis as sure as cold engenders hail, A liqu’rish mouth must have a lech'rous tail ; Wine lets no lover unrewarded go, As all true gamesters by experience know. 220
But oh, good Gods ! whene'er a thought I casc On all the joys of youth and beauty past, To find in pleasures I have had my part, Still warms me to the bottom of
heart. This wicked world was once my dear delight ; 245 Now all my conquests, all my charms good night ;