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HERE liv'd in Lombardy, as Authors write,

In days of old, a wife and worthy Knight; Of gentle manners, as of gen'rous race, Bleit with much fenfe, more riches, and some grace; Yet, led aftray by Venus' foft delights,

5 He scarce could rule fome idle appetites : For long ago, let Priests say what they cou'd, Weak sinful laymen were but flesh and blood.

But in due time, when fixty years were o’er, He vow'd to lead this vitious life no more ;

Whether pure holiness inspir'd his mind,
Or dotage turn'd his brain, is hard to find;
But his high courage prick'd him forth to wed,
And try the pleasures of a lawful bed.
This was his nightly dream, his daily care, 15
And to the heav'nly pow'rs his constant pray'r,
Once ere he dy'd, to talte the blissful life
Of a kind husband and a loving wife.

These thoughts he fortify'd with reafons fill,
(For none want reasons to confirm their will.)
Grave authors say, and witty poets fing,
That honeft wedlock is a glorious thing:

NOT E-s. JANUARY AND MAY. This Transation was done at sixteen er seventeen j ears of Age.


But depth of judgment moft in him appears,
Who wisely weds in his maturer years.
Then let him chuse a damsel young and fair, 25
To bless his age, and bring a worthy heir;
To sooth his cares, and free from noise and strife,
Conduct him gently to the verge of life.
Let finful batchelors their woes deplore,
Full well they merit all they feel, and more: 30
Unaw'd by precepts human or divine,
Like birds and beasts promiscuously they join :
Nor know to make the present blessing lalt,
To hope the future, or esteem the past :
But vainly boast the joys they never try'd,

And find divulg'd the secrets they would hide.
The marry'd man may bear his yoke with ease,
Secure at once himself and heav'n to please ;
And pass his inoffensive hours away,
In bliss all night, and innocence all day:

40 Tho' fortune change, his constant spouse remains, Augments his joys, or mitigates his pains.

But what so pure, which envious tongues will spare? Some wicked wits have libell'd all the fair, With matchless impudence they style a wife The dear-bought curse, and lawful plague of life; A bosom-ferpent, a domestic evil, A night-invasion, and a mid-day devil. Let not the wise these sland'rous words regard, But curse the bones of ev'ry lying bard.

50 All other goods by fortune's hand are giv'n, A wife is the peculiar gift of heav'n. Vain fortune's favours, never at a stay, Like empty shadows, pass, and glide away; One folid comfort, our eternal wife,

35 Abundantly supplies us all our life:


This blefing lafts (if those who try fay true)
As long as heart can wish — and longer too.

Our grandfire Adam, ere of Eve poffeft,
Alone, and ev'n in Paradise unbless’d,

60 With mournful looks the blissful scenes survey'd, And wander'd in the folitary shade : The Maker faw, took pity, and bestow'd Woman, the last, the best reserv'd of God. A Wife! ah gentle deities, can he

65 That has a wife, e'er feel adversity? Would men but follow what the sex advise, All things would prosper, all the world grow wise. 'Twas by Rebecca's aid that Jacob won His father's blessing from an elder son : Abusive Nabal ow'd his forfeit life To the wise conduct of a prudent wife : Heroic Judith, as old Hebrews show, Preserv'd the Jews, and flew th’ Assyrian foe: At Hester's suit, the persecuting sword

75 Was Theath'd, and Israel liv'd to bless the Lord.

These weighty motives, January the fage Maturely ponder'd in his riper age; And charm’d with virtuous joys, and sober life, Would try that Christian comfort, call'd a wife. 80 His friends were summon’d on a point so nice, To pass their judgment and to give advice ; But fix'd before, and well resolu'd was he; (As men that ask advice are wont to be.)

My friends, he cry'd (and cast a mournful look 85 Around the room, and sigh'd before he spoke :) Beneath the weight of threescore years I bend, And worn with cares, am halt’ning to my end ; How I have liv'd, alas ! you know too well, In worldly follies, which I blush to tell;



But gracious heav'n has ope'd my eyes at last,
With due regret I view my vices past,
And, as the precept of the Church decrees, .
Will take a wife, and live in holy ease.
But fince by counsel all things should be done, 95
And many heads are wiser still than one;
Chuse you for me, who best shall be content:
When my desire's approv'd by your consent..

One caution yet is needful to be cold,
To guide your choice; this wife must not be old : 109
There goes a saying, and 'twas threwdly said,
Old 5th at table, but young fleih in bed.
My soul abhors the tasteless, dry embrace
Of a stale virgin with a winter face:
In that cold season Love but treats his guest 105
With bean-ftraw, and tough forage at the best.
No crafty widows shall approach my bed ;
Those are too wise for batchelors to wed;
As subtle clerks by many schools are made,
Twice-marry'd dames are mistresses o'th? trade: ive.
But young and tender virgins, rul'd with ease,
We form like wax, and mold them as we please.

Conceive me, Sirs, nor take my sense amiss;
'Tis what concerns my soul's eternal bliss ;
Since if I found no pleasure in my spouse, 115
As flesh is frail, and who (God help me) knows?
Then should I live in leud adultery,
And fink downright to Satan when I die.

were I curs’d with an unfruitful bed,
The righteous end were loft, for which I wed;
To raise seed to bless the pow’rs above,
And not for pleasure only, or for love.
Think not I dot; 'tis time to take a wife,
When vig'rous blood forbids a chafter life:



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Those that are bleft with store of grace divine,

125 May live like saints, by heav'n's consent, and mine.

And since I speak of wedlock, let me say, (As, thank my stars, in modest truth I may) My limbs are active, still I'm found at heart, And a new vigour springs in ev'ry part. 130 Think not my virtue loft, tho'time has shed ] hese rev'rend honours on my hoary head ; Thus trees are crown'd with blossoms white as snow, The vital fap then rifing from below: Old as I am, my lusty limbs appear

135 Like winter greens, that flourish all the year. Now, Sirs, you know to what I stand inclin'd, Let ev'ry friend with freedom speak his mind.

He said; the rest in diff'rent parts divide; The knotty point was urg'd on either side : 140 Marriage, the theme on which they all declaim'd, Some prais'd with wit, and some with reason blam'd. Till, what with proofs, objections, and replies, Each wondrous positive, and wond'rous wife, There fell between his brothers a debate,

145 Placebo this was callid, and Justin that.

First to the Knight Placebo thus begun
(Mild were his looks, and pleasing was his tone)
Such prudence, Sir, in all your words appears,
As plainly proves, experience dwells with years! 150
Yet you pursue Sage Solomon's advice,
To work by counsel when affairs are nice:
But, with the Wise Man's leave, I must protest,
may my

foul arrive at ease and rest
As ftill I hold your old advice the best,

Sir, I have liv'd a Courtier all my days,'
And study'd men, their manners, and their ways ; 1
And have observ'd this useful maxim still,
To let my betters always have their will,



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