« PreviousContinue »
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 deliglit,
How the first female (as the Scripture shew)
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 Eryphile 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 jordens on the sage she threw;
Who took it patiently, and wiped his head;
“Rein follows thunder:” that was all he said.
He read how Arius to his friend complained,
A fatal tree was growing in his land,
On which three wives successively had twined
A sliding noose, and wavered in the wind, (where?
“ Where grows this plant,” (replied the friend, “oh,
For better fruit did never orchard bear,
Give me some slip of this most blissful tree,
And in my garden planted shall it be."
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. [slain,
How some with swords their sleeping lords have And some have hammer'd nails into their brain, And some have drenched them with a deadly potion; All this he read, and read with great devotion. Long time I heard, and swelled, and blushes and
frowned; But when no end of these vile tales I found,
When still he read, and laughed, and read again,
And half the night was thus consumed in vain;
Provoked to vengeance, three large leaves I tore,
And with one buffet felled him on the floor.
With that my husband in a fury rose,
And down he settled me with hearty blows.
I groaned and lay extended on my side;
“Oh! thou hast slain me for my wea tin,” (I cried;)
“Yet I forgive thee--take my last embrace—”.
He wept, kind soul! and stooped to kiss my face!
I took him such a box as turn'd him blue,
Then sighed and cried, “Adieu, my dear, adieu !"
But after many a hearty struggle past,
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 cause,
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 condemned to flames.
Now Heaven, on all my husbands gone, bestow Pleasures above, for tortures felt below: That rest they wished for, grant them in the grave, And bless those souls my conduct helped to save!
THE SATIRES OF DR.
(DEAN OF ST. PAUL'S) VERSIFIED.
Dr. Donne was a very celebrated divine and poet in his day. He was born 1573, and died 1631. Dryden says of him, “he was the greatest wit, though not the greatest poet, of our nation” and he (Dryden) praises these Satires highly. Pope modernized them at the request of the Duke of Shrewsbury and Lord Oxford. The life of Donne is a romance.
Quid vetat et nosmet Lucili scripta legentes
Quærere num illius, num rerum dura negârit
Versiculos natura magis factos, et euntes
Yes; thank my stars! as early as I knew
This town, I had the sense to hate it too:
Yet here, as ev’n in hell, there must be still
One giant-vice so excellently ill,
That all beside, one pities, not abhors; .
As who knows Sappho, smiles at other w—-8.
I grant that poetry's a crying sin;
It brought (no doubt) the excise and army in:
Catched like the plague, or love, the Lord knows how,
But that the cure is starving, all allow.
Yet like the Papist's, is the poet's state,
Poor and disarmed, and hardly worth your hate!
Here a lean bard, whose wit could never give Himself a dinner, makes an actor live: The thief condemned, in law already dead, So prompts, and saves a rogue who cannot read. Thus as the pipes of some carved organ move, The gilded puppets dance and mount above. Heaved by the breath, th' inspiring bellows blow: Th’inspiring bellows lie and pant below.
One sings the fair; but songs no longer move; No rat is rhymed to death, nor maid to love;
In love's, in nature's spite, the seige they hold,
And scorn the flesh, the devil, and all but gold.
These write to lords, some mean reward to get,
As needy beggars sing at doors for meat.
Those write because all write, and so have still
Excuse for writing, and for writing ill.
Wretched indeed! but far more wretched yet
Is he who makes his meal on others' wit:
'Tis changed no doubt, from what it was before:
His rank digestion makes it wit no more:
Sense, passed through him, no longer is the same;
For food digested takes another name.
I pass o'er all those confessors and martyrs Who live like Sutton, or who die like Chartres. Out-cant old Esdras, or out-drink his heir, Out-usure Jews, or Irishmen out-swear; Wicked as pages, who in early years Act sins which Prisca's confessor scarce hears. Even those I pardon, for whose sinful sake Schoolmen new tenements in hell must make; Of whose strange crimes no canonist can tell In what commandment's large contents they dwell.
One, one man only breeds my just offence; Whom crimes gave wealth, and wealth gave impuTime, that at last matures a—to
Whose gentle progress makes a calf an ox,
And brings all natural events to pass,
Hath made him an attorney of an ass.
No young divine, new beneficed, can be
More pert, more proud, more positve than be.
What further could I wish the fop to do,
But turn a wit, and scribble verses too;
Pierce the soft lab’rinth of a lady's ear
With rhymes of this per cent. and that per year ?
Or court a wife, spread out his wily parts,
Like nets, or lime-twigs, for rich widows' hearts;
Call himself barrister to ev'ry wench,
And woo in language of the Pleas and Bench ?
Language, which Boreas might to Auster hold,
More rough than forty Germans when they scold.
Cursed be the wretch, so venal and so vain:
Paltry and proud, as drabs in Drury Lane.
'Tis such a bounty as was never known,
If PETER' deigns to help you to your own,
What thanks, what praise, if Peter but supplies !
And what a solemn face, if he denies !
Grave, as when prisoners shake the head and swear
. 'Twas only suretyship that brought them there.
His office keeps your parchment fates entire,
He starves with cold to save them from the fire;
For you he walks the streets through rain or dust,
For not in chariots Peter puts his trust;
For you he sweats and labours at the laws,
Takes God to witness he affects your cause,
And lies to ev'ry lord, in ev'ry thing,
Like a king's favourite-or like a king.
These are the talents that adorn them all,
From wicked Waters even to godly — ;
Not more of simony beneath black gowns,
Nor more of bastardy in heirs to crowns,
In shillings and in pence at first they deal;
And steal so little, few perceive they steal;
Till, like the sea, they compass all the land,
From Scots to Wight, from Mount to Dover strand:
* * * *
Or city-heir, in mortgage melts away;
Satan himself feels far less joy than they.
Piecemeal they win this acre first, then that,
Glean on, and gather up the whole estate.
Then strongly fencing ill-got wealth by law,
Indenture, cov'nants, articles they draw,
Large as the fields themselves, and larger far
Than civil codes, with all their glosses, are:
So vast, our new divines, we must confess,
Are fathers of the church for writing less.
But let them write for you, each rogue impairs
The deeds, and dexterously omits, ses heires:
No commentator can more slily pass
O’er a learn'd unintelligible place;
Or, in quotation, shrewd divines leave out [doubt.
Those words, that would against them clear the
So Luther thought the paternoster long,
When doom'd to say his beads and even-song;
But having cast his cowl, and left those laws,
Adds to Christ's prayer, the power and glory clause.
The lands are bought; but where are to be found