Page images
PDF
EPUB

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 danc'd, and drank, and din'd;
And view'd a friend, with eyes fo very kind,
As ftung his heart, and made his marrow fry, 235
With burning rage, and frantic jealousy,
His soul, I hope, enjoys eternal glory,
For here on earth I was his Purgatory.
Ost, when his shoe the most severely wrung,
He put on careless airs, and fat and fung.

240
How fore I gall'd him, only heav'n could know,
And he that felt, and I that caus'd the woe.
He dy'd, when last from pilgrimage I came,
With other gosips, froin Jerusalem ;
And now lies buried underneath a Rood,

245 Fair to be seen, and rear'd of honest wood. A tomb indeed, with fewer sculptures grac'd, Than that Maufolus' pious widow plac'd, Or where infhrin'd the great Darius lay ; But coft on graves is merely thrown away.

250 The pit filld up, with turf we cover'd o'er; So bless the good inan's soul, I say no more. Now for

my

fifth lov'd Lord, the last and best ; (Kind heav'n afford him everlasting rest) Full hearty was his love, and I can shew

255 The tokens on my ribs in black and blue; Yet, with a knack, my heart he could have won, While

yet the smart was shooting in the bone. How quaint an appetite in women reigns ! Free gifts we scorn, and love what costs us pains : 260 Let men avoid us, and on them we leap ; A glutted market makes provision cheap.

In pure good-will I took this jovial spark, Of Oxford he, a most egregious clerk.

265

He boarded with a widow in the town,
A trusty goslip, 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 befall :
Had but my husband piss'd against a wall, 270
Or done a thing that might have cost his life,
She-and

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, 275
That e'er he told a secret to his dame.

It so befel, in holy time of Lent, That oft a day I to this goslip went; (My husband, thank my stars, was out of town) From house to house we rambled up and down, 280 This clerk, myself, and my good neighbour Alse, To see, be seen, to tell, and gather tales. Visits to ev'ry Church we daily paid, And march'd in ev'ry holy Masquerade, The Stations duly, and the Vigils kept ; 285 Not much we fafted, but scarce ever slept. At Sermons too I saone in scarlet gay ; The wafting moth ne'er spoil'd my best array ; The cause was this, I wore it ev'ry day.

'Twas when fresh May her early blossom yields, 29
This Clerk and I were walking in the fields.
We grew so intimate, I can't tell how,
I pawn'd my honour and engag'd my vow,
If e'er 1 laid my husband in his urn,
That he, and only he, should serve my

turn.
We fraight ftruck hands, the bargain was agreed;
I still have shifts against a time of need :
The mouse that always trusts to one poor hole,
Can never be a mouse of any soul.

}

295

299

}

I vow'd, I scarce could sleep since first I knew him,
And durft be sworn he had bewitch'd me to him;
It e'er 1 Nept, I dream'd of him alone,
And dreams foretell, as learned men have shown.
All this I said; but dreams, firs, I had none :
I follow'd but my crafty Crony's lore,

30 Who bid me tell this lie and twenty more.

Thus day by day, and month by month we paft ;
It pleas'd the Lord to take my spouse at last.
I tore my gown, I foil'd my locks with duit,
And beat my breasts, as wretched widows-muft. 310
Before my face my handkerchief I spread,
To hide the flood of tears I did not fhed.
The good man's coffin to the Church was borne;
Around, the neighbours, and my Clerk too, mourn.
But as he march'd, good Gods! he fhow'd a pair 315
Of legs and feet, fo clean, so strong, fo fair!
Of
twenty
winters age

he seem'd to be ;
I (to say truth) was twenty more than he;
But vig'rous still, a lively buxom dame;
And had a wond'rous gift to quench a flame.
A Conj’rer once, that deeply could divine,
Affur'd me, Mars in Taurus was my sign.
As the stars order’d, such my life has been:
Alas, alas, that ever love was fin!
Fair Venus gave me fire, and sprightly grace, 325
And Mars assurance, and a dauntless face.
By virtue of this pow'rful constellation,
I follow'd always my own inclination.

But to my tale : A month scarce pass’d away,
With dance and song we kept the nuptial day. 330
All I pofless'd I gave to his command,
My goods and chattels, money, house, and land:
But oft repented, and repent it ftill;
He prov'd a rebel to my foy'reign will:

320

1

Nay once, by Heav'n, he struck me on the face ; 335 Hear but the fact, and judge yourselves the case.

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,

34® He, against this right fagely 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 fermon, as beseem'd his wit, 345 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. , 350 All this avail'd not ; for whoe'er he be That tells my faults, I hate him mortally : And so do numbers more, I'll boldly fay, Men, women, clergy, regular, and lay.

My spouse (who was, you know, to learning bred) A certain Treatise oft at ev'ning read,

356 Where divers Authors (whom the devil confound For all their lies) were in one volume bound. Valerius, whole ; and of St. Jerome, part; Chryfippus 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. 365 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.

360

Love seldom haunts the breast where Learning lies,
And Venus fets ere Mercury can rise.

370 Those play the scholars, who can't play the men, And use that weapon which they have, their pen; When old, and past the relih of delight, Then down they fit, and in their dotage write, That not one woman keeps her marriage vow. 375 (This by the way, but to my purpose 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.

380 How Sanson fell; and he whom Dejanire Wrap'd in th’envenom'd shirt, and set on fire. How curs'a Eryphile her lord betray'd, And the dire ambush Clytemnestra laid. But what most pleas'd him was the Cretan Dame, 385 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 sie scolded in a day, he knew,
How many piss-pots on the Sage The threw; 390
Who too's it patiently, and wip'd his head;
“Rain follows thunder,” that was all he said.

Ile read, how Arius to his friend complain’d,
A fatal Tree was growing in his land,
On which three wives successively had twin'd

395
A sliding noose, and waver'd in the wind.
Where grows this plant (reply'd the friend) oh where?
For better fruit diú never orchard bear.
Cive me some slip of this most blissful tree,
And in my garden planted Mall it be.

400 Then how two wives their lords' destruction prove, Thro' hatred one, and one thro'ioo much love ;

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »