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Cry Wives are false, and ev'ry 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,
Vapors and pride by turns possess her brain;
Now gaily mad, now sourly splenetic,

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,
And endless treats, and endless visits paid 115
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 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


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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,
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 : 140

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
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 embra 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 !
• 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, 190
• 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 rul'd. 195
• Their tender husbands, and their passions coold.
• Fye ! 'tis unmanly thus so sigh and groan :
- What ! would you bave me to yourself alone ?

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• 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 ;


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