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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 And swore the rambles that I took by night, [doors; .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 lectures 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, E’en 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 shouldst be always thus, resign'd and meek! Of Job's great patience since so oft you preach, Well should you practise, who 30 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;
shame; What means my dear?-indeed—you are to blame."
Thus with my first three lords I pass'd my life;
But oh, good gods! whene'er a thought I cast
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,
Now for my fifth loved lord, the last and best ;
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 befal : Had but my husband pd against the wall, Or done a thing that might have cost his life, Shemand 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,
It so befel, in holy time of Lent,
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 fortel, as learned men have shewn. 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 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, To hide the flood of tears I did-not shed, The good man's coffin to the church was borne ; Around, my neighbours, and my clerk too, mourn. But as he march'd, good gods! he shew'd a pair Of legs and feet, so clean, so strong, so fair!
Of twenty winters' age he seem'd to be,
But to my tale: A month scarce pass'd away,
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 agaisnt 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.
My spouse (who was, yon know, to learning bred) A certain treatise oft at evening read, Where divers authors (whom the devil confound For all their lies !) were in one volume bound.