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The flour consum'd, the best that now I can,
Is e'en to make my market of the bran.

My fourth dear spouse was not exceeding true s
He kept, 'twas thought, a private miss or two: 230
But all that score I pay'd. As how? you'll say:
Not with my body in a filthy way ;
But I so dress’d, and danc'd, and drank, and din'd,
And vicw'd a friend with eyes so very

kind As stung his heart, and made his marrow fry 235 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 sat and sung. 240 How sore I galld him, only Heav'n could know, And he that felt, and I that caus'd the woe. He dy'd when fast from pilgrimage I came, With other gossips, from Jerusalem ; And now lies bury'd underneath a rood, 245 Fair to be seen, and rear'd of honest wood : A comb, indeed, with fewer sculptures grac'd Than that Mausolus' pious widow plac'd, Or where enshrin'd the great Darius lay ; But cost on graves is merely thrown away. 250 The pit fill'd up, with turf we cover'd o'er ; So bless the good man's soul! I say no more.

Now for my fifth lov'd lord, the last and best ; (Kind Heav'n afford him everlasting rest!) Full hearty was his love, and I can shew 255 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 ;

261 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 of the town, 265 A trusty gossip, one Dame Allison ; Full well the secrets of my soul she knew, Better than e'er our parish priest could do. To her I told whatever could befal : Had but my husband piss'd against a wall; 270 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 bas he blush'd from ear to ear for shame, 275 That e'er he told a secret to his dame.

It so befel, 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 neighbor Alse, To see, be seen, to tell, and gather tales. Visits to ev'ry church we daily paid, And march'd in ev'ry holy masquerade ; The stations duly, and the vigils kept,

285 Not much we fasted, but scarce ever slept.

At sermons, too, I shone in scarlet gay ;
The wasting moth ne'er spoild my best array ;
The cause was this, I wore it ev'ry day.

'Twas when fresh May her early blossoms yields,
The clerk and I were walking in the fields. 291
We grew so intimate, I can't tell how,
I pawn'd my honor, and engag'd my vow,
If e'er I laid my husband in his urn,
That he, and only he, should serve my turn. 295
We strait 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

300 And durst be sworn he had bewitch'd me to him; If e'er I slept, I dream'd of him alone; And dreams foretel, as learned men have shown. All this I said ; but dreams, sirs, I had none: I follow'd but my crafty crony's lore, 305 Who bid me tell this lie and twenty more.

Thus day by day, and month by month we past ; I pleas'd the Lord to take my spouse at last. I tore my gown, I soild my locks with dust, And beat my breasts, as wretched widows-must. Before my face my handkerchief I spread, 311 To hide the flood of tears I did not shed. The good man's coffin to the church was borne ; Around the neighbors, 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! 316
Of twenty winters' age he seem’d to be ;
I (to say truth) was twenty more than he ;
But vig'rous still, a lively buxom dame,
And had a wondrous gift to quench a flame. 320
A conj'ror once, that deeply could divine,
Assur'd 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, 325
And Mars assurance, and a dauntless face.
By virtue of this pow’rful 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. 330
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 prov'd a rebel to my sov'reign will; 334
Nay, once, by Heav'n! 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, 345
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. 350 All this avail'd not, for whoe'er he be That tells my faults, I hate him mortally ; And so do numbers more, I'll boldly say, Men, women, clergy, regular and lay. My spouse (who was, you know, to learning bred)

355 A certain treatise oft at ev'ning read, Where divers authors (whom the devil confound For all their lies) were in one volume bound: Valerius whole, and of St. Jerome part ; Crysippus, and Tertullian, Ovid's Art, 360 Solomon's Proverbs, Eloisa'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 ; 365 But could we women write as scholars can, Men should stand mark'd 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.

370 Those play the scholars, who can't play the men, And use that weapon, which they have their peni

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