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But to my tale :-A month scarce pass'd away,
With dance and song we kept the nuptial day.
All I possess'd I gave to his command,
My goods and chattels, money, house, and land;
Bit oft repented, and repent it still ;
He prov'd a rebel tv my sovereign will;
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 know full well to raise my voice on liigh ;
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 beseenid bis wit,
With some grave sentence out of Holy Writ.
Oft wonld 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
Thať 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)
A certain treatise oft at evening read,
Where divers authors (whom the devil confound
For all their lies) were in one volume bound:
Valerins whole, and of St. Jerome part;
Chrysippus and Tertullian, Ovid's Art,
Solomon's Proverbs, Eloïsa's loves,
And many more than sure the church approves,
More legends were there here of wicked wives
Than good in all the Bible and saints' lives.
Who drew the lion vanquish'd ? 'Twas a man:
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.
Those play the scholars who can't play the men,
Aud 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 parpose now :)
It chanc'd my husband, on a winter's night,
Read in this book aloud with strange delight,
How the first female (as the Scriptures show)
Brought her own spouse and all his race to woe;
How Samson fell; and he whom Dejapire
Wrapp'd in the envenom'd shirt, and set on fire;
How curs'd Eriphyle her lord betray'd,
And the dire ambush Clytemnestra laid ;
But wbat most pleas'd him was the Cretan dame
And husband-bull-Oh, monstrous! fye, 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 pisspots on the sage she threw,
Who took it patiently, and wip'd his head;
* Rain follows thunder,' that was all he said.
He read how Arius to his friend complain'd
A fatal tree was growing in his land,
On which three wives successively had twin'd
A sliding poose, and waver'd in the wind.
• 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 it shall 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 seiz'd his giddy head,
Frantic at night, and in the morning dead. (slaid,
How some with swords their sleeping lords have And some have hammer'd nails into their brain, And some have drench'd them with a deadly potion: All this he read, and read with great devotion. Long time I heard, and swell'd, and blush'd, and
frown'd; But when no end of these vile tales I found, When still he read, and laugh'd, and read again, And half the night was thus consum'd in vain, Provok'd to vengeance, three large leaves I tore, And with one buffet fell’d him on the floor. With that my husband in a fury rose, And down he settled me with hearty blows. I groan'd, and lay extended on my side ; • Oh! thou hast slain me for my wealth,' I cried :
Yet I forgive thee-take my last embrace
He wept, kind soul! and stoop'd to kiss my face :
I took him such a box as turo'd him blue,
Then sigh’d and cried, • Adieu, my dear, adieu !
But after many a hearty struggle past,
I condescended to be pleas'd 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;
Receiv'd 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 revil'd the dames,
'Twas torn to fragments, and condemn'd to flames.
Now Heav'n ou all my husbands gone bestow
Pleasures above, for tortures felt below:
That rest they wishi’d for grant them in the grave,
And bless those souls my conduct help'd to save!
CHAUCER. WOMEN ben full of ragerie, Yet swinken nat sans secresie. Thilke moral shall ye understond, From schoole-boy's tale of fayre Irelond; Which to the fepnes hath him betake, To filche the grey ducke tro the lake. Right then there passen by the way His aunt, and eke her daughters tway. Ducke in his trowses hath he hent, Not to be spy'd of ladies gent. • But ho! our nephew,' crieth one; • Ho! quoth another, Cozen John ;' And stoppen, and longh, and callen outThis sely clerke full low doth lout : They asken that, and talken this, • Lo, here is coz, and here is miss.' But, as he glozeth with speeches soote, The ducke sore tickleth his erse roote: Fore-piece and buttons all to-brest Forth thrust a white neck and red crest. • Te-hee,' cry'd ladies ; clerke nought spake: Miss star'd, and grey ducke crieth. quaake.' • O moder, moder!' quoth the daughter, • Be thilke same thing maids longen a'ter? Bette is to pine on coals and chalke, Then trust on mon whose yerde can talke,'