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Nay, if my Lord affirm'd that black was white, 160 A My word was this, Your honour's in the right.
Th’assuming Wit, who deems himself fo wise,
As his mistaken patron to advise,
Let him not dare to vent his dang’rous thought,
A noble fool was never in a fault.
This, Sir, affects not you, whose ev'ry word
Is weigh'd with judgment, and befits a Lord:
Your will is mine ; and is (I will maintain)
Pleasing to God, and should be so to man ;
At least, your courage all the world must praise, 170
Who dare to wed in your declining days.
Indulge the vigour of your mounting blood,
And let grey fools be indolently good,
Who, past all pleasure, damn the joys of sense,
With rev'rend dulness and grave impotence. 17:
Jutin, who silent fat, and heard the man,
Thus, with a philofophic frown, began.
A heathen author of the first degree,
(Who, tho' not Faith, had Sense as well as we)
Bids us be certain our concerns to trust
To those of gen'rous principles, and just.
The venture's greater, I'll presume to say,
To give your person, than your goods away:
And therefore, Sir, as you regard your rest,
First learn your lady's qualities at least:
Whether she's chalte or rampant, proud or civil,
Meek as a faint, or haughty as the devil;
Whether an easy, fond, familiar fool,
Or such a wit as no man e'er can rule.
'Tis true, perfe&tion none must hope to find 190
In all this world, much less in womankind;
But if her virtues prove the larger share,
Bless the kind faies, and thank your fortune rare.
Ah, gentle Sir, take warning of a friend,
. Who knows too well the state you thus commend; 195
E, And, spite of all his praises, must declare,
All he can find is bondage, cost, and care.
Heav'n knows, I shed full many a private tear,
And figh in silence, left the world should hear;
While all my friends applaud my blissful life,
And swear no mortal's happier in a wife;
Demure and chaste as any vestal Nun,
The meekest creature that beholds the fun!
But, by th' immortal pow'rs, I feel the pain,
And he that smarts has reason to complain. 205
Do what you list, for me ; you must be sage,
And cautious sure; for wisdom is in age:
But at these years, to venture on the fair ;
By him who made the ocean, earth, and air,
To please a wife, when her occasions call,
Would busy the most vig'rous of us all.
And trust me, Sir, the chastest you can chuse
Will ask observance, and exact her dues.
If what I speak my noble Lord offend,
My tedious sermon here is at an end.
215 'Tis well, 'tis wondrous well, the Knight replies, Most worthy kinsman, faith you're mighty wise! We, Sirs, are fools; and must resign the cause To heath'nish authors, proverbs, and old faws. He spoke with scorn, and turn'd another way: What does
dear Flacebo, fay? 1 say, quoth he, by heav'n the man's to blame, To flander wives, and wedlock's holy name.
At this the council rose, without delay; Each, in his own opinion, went his way; 235 With full consent, that, all disputes appeas'd, The knight thould marry, when and where he pleas'd.
Who now but January exults with joy? The charms of wedlock all his foul employ : Each nymph by turns his wav'ring mind poffeft, 230 And reign’d the Mort-liv'd tyrant of his breaft; While fancy pictur'd ev'ry lively part, And each bright image wander'd o'er his heart. Thus, in fome public Forum fix'd on high, A Mirrour shows the figures moving by; 235 Still one by one, in swift succession, pass The gliding shadows o'er the polith'd glass. This Lady's charms the nicest could not blame, But vile suspicions had aspers'd her fame; That was with fenfe, but not with virtue, blest ; 240 And one had grace, that wanted all the rest. Thus doubting long what nymph he should obey, He fix'd at last upon the youthful May. Her faults he knew not, Love is always blind, But ev'ry charm revolv'd within his mind: 245 Her tender age, her form divinely fair, Her easy motion, her attractive air, Her sweet behaviour, her enchanting face, Her moving softness, and majestic grace.
Much in his prudence did our Knight rejoice, 25° And thought no mortal could dispute his choice: Once more in haste he summon'd ev'ry friend, And told them all, their pains were at an end. Heav'n, that (faid he) inspir'd me first to wed, Provides a consort worthy of iny
255 Let none oppose th' election, fince on this Depends my quiet, and my future bliss.
A dame there is, the darling of my eyes, Young, beauteous, artless, innocent, and wise; Chaste, tho' not rich; and, tho'not nobly born, 260 Of honeft parents, and may serve my turn.
Her will I wed, if gracious Heav'n so please;
To pass my age in fanctity and ease:
And thank the pow'rs, I may possess alone
The lovely prize, and share my bliss with none! 265
If you, my friends, this virgin can procure,
My joys are full, my happiness is sure.
One only doubt remains: Full oft I've heard,
By casuists grave, and deep divines averr'd;
That 'tis too much for human race to know
The bliss of heav'n above, and earth below.
Now should the nuptial pleasures prove so great,
To match the blessings of the future state,
Those endless joys were ill-exchang'd for these ;
Then clear this doubt, and set my mind at ease. 275
This Justin heard, nor could his spleen controul,
Touch'd to the quick, and tickled at the soul.
Sir Knight, he cry’d, if this be all your dread,
Heav'n put it past your doubt, whene'er you wed;
And to my fervent pray’rs so far consent, 280
That ere the rites are o'er, you may repent!
Good Heav'n, no doubt, the nuptial state approves,
Since it chastises still what best it loves.
Then be not, Sir, abandon’d to despair ;
Seek, and perhaps you'll find among the fair,
One that may do your business to a hair ;
Not ev’n in wish, your happiness delay, 287
prove the scourge to lath you on your way :
Then to the skies your mounting foul shall go,
Swift as an arrow soaring from the bow!
Provided ftill, you moderate your joy,
Nor in your pleasures all your might employ,
Let reason's rule your trong desires abate,
Nor please too lavishly your gentle mate.
Old wives there are, of judgment most acute,
Who solve these questions beyond all dispute ;
Consult with those, and be of better chear ;
Marry, do penance, and dismiss your fear.
So faid, they rose, nor more the work delay'd ;
The match was offer’d; the proposals made.
The parents you may think would soon comply;
The Old have int'rest ever in their eye.
Nor was it hard to move the Lady's mind;
When fortune favours, still the Fair are kind.
I pass each previous settlement and deed,
Too long for me to write, or you to read;
Nor will with quaint impertinence display
The pomp, the pageantry, the proud array.
The time approach'd, to Church the parties went,
At once with carnal and devout intent :
Forth came the Priest, and bade th' obedient wife
Like Sarah or Rebeccah lead her life :
7 hen pray'd the pow'rs the fruitful bed to blefs,'
And made all sure enough with holiness.
And now the palace-gates are open’d wide,
The guests appear in order, fide by fide,
And plac'd in state the bridegroom and the bride.
The breathing Aute's soft notes are heard around,
And the shrill trumpets mix their silver found;
The vaulted roofs with echoing music ring, 320
These touch the vocal stops, and those the trembling
Not thus Amphion tun'd the warbling lyre,
Nor Joab the founding clarion could inspire,
Nor fierce 'Theodamas, whose sprightly strain 324
Could swell the foul to rage, and fire the martial train.
Bacchus himself, the nuptial feast to grace,
(So Pocts fing) was present on the place :
And lovely Venus, Goddess of delight,
Shook high her flaming torch in open fight,'
And danc'd around, and smild on ev'ry Knight: