« PreviousContinue »
But since their wealth (the best they had) was mine,, If you had wit, you'd say, 'Go where you will, The rest, without much loss, I could resign. Dear spouse, I credit not the tales they tell : Sure to be lov'd, I took no pains to please,
Take all the freedoms of a married life; Yet had more pleasure far than they had ease. I know thee for a virtuous, faithful wife.'
Presents flow'd in apace: with showers of gold, “ Lord! when you have enough, what need you They made their court, like Jupiter of old. How merrily soever others fare?
(care If I but sinil'd, a sudden youth they found, Though all the day I give and take delight, And a new palsy seiz'd them when I frown'da Doubt not, sufficient will be left at night.
Ye sovereign wives ! give ear and understand, "Tis but a just and rational desire, Thus shall ye speak, and exercise command. To light a taper at a neighbour's fire. For never was it given to mortal man,
“ There's danger too, you think, in rich array, To lie so boldly as we women cán :
And none can long be modest that are gay. Forswear the fact, though seen with both his eyes, The cat, if you but singe her tabby skin, and call your maids to witness how he lies. The chimney keeps, and sits content within ;
" Hark, old sir Paul!'' ('twas thus I us’d to say) But once grown sleek, will from her corner run, “Whence is our neighbour's wite so rich and gay? Sport with her tail, and wanton in the sun; Treated, caress'd, where'er she's pleas'd to roam She licks her fair round face, and frisks abroad, I sit in tatters, and immur'd at home.
To show her fur, and to be catterwaw'd." Why to her house dost thou so oft repair
Lu thus, my friends, I wrought to my desires Art thou so amorous ? and is she so fair?
These three right ancient venerable sires. If I but see a cousin or a friend,
I told them, thus you say, and thus you do, Lord! how you swell, and rage like any fiend ! And told them false, but Jenkin swore 'twas true. But you reel home, a drunken beastly bear, 'I, like a dog, could bite as well as whine, Then preach till midnight in your easy chair; And first complain'd, whene'er the guilt was mine. Cry, wives are false, and every woman evil, I tax'd them oft with wenching and amours, And give up all that's female to the devil.
When their weak legs scarce dragg'd them out of “ If poor (you say) she drains her husband's And swore the rambles that I took by night, (doors; purse ;
Were all to spy what damsels they hedight. If rich, she keeps her priest, or something worse ; That colour brought me many hours of mirth; highly born, intolerably vain,
For all this wit is given us from our birth. Vapours and pride by turns possess her brain, Heaven gave to women the peculiar grace, Now gayly mad, now sourly splenetic ;
To spin, to weep, and cully human race. Freakish when well, and fretful when she's sick. By this nice conduct, and this prudent course, If fair, then chaste she cannot long abide,
By murmuring, wheedling, stratagem, and force, By pressing youth attack’d-on every side; I still prevail'd, and would be in the right, If foul, her wealth the lusty lover lures,
Or curtain-lectures made a restless night. Or else her wit some fool-gallant procures,
If once my husband's arm was o'er my side, Or else she dances with becoining grace,
What! só familiar with your spouse? I cry'd: Or shape excuses the defects of face.
I levied first a tax upon his need :
“ Horses (thou say'st) and asses men may try, Marry who will, our sex is to be sold. And ring suspected vessels ere they buy :
With empty hands no tassels you can lure, But wires, a random choice, untry'd they take ; But fulsome love for gain we can endure; They dream in courtship, but in wedlock wake: For gold we love the impotent and old, Then, nor till then, the veil's remov'd away, And heave, and pant, and kiss, and cling, for gold And all the woman glares in open day.
Yet with embraces, curses oft I mix'd,
" On Jenkin too you cast a squinting eye: But I, my dearest, will instruct you how.
brow, and quit thy sorrow, And since in man right reason bears the sway, I'd scorn your prentice, should you die to-morrow. Let that frail thing, weak woman, have her way.
"Why are thy chests all lock'd ? on what design The wives of all my family have ruld Are not thy worldly goods and treasure mine? Their tender husbands, and their passions cool'd. Sir, Pm no fool; nor shall you, by St. John, Fy, 'tis unmanly thus to sigh and groan; Have goods and body to yourself alone.
What! would you have me to yourself alone ? One you sball quit, in spite of both your eyes Why take me, love! take all and every part ! I beed not, I, the bolts, and locks, and spies. Here's your revenge! you love it at your heart,
Would I vouchsafe to sell what Nature gave, Or done a thing that might have cost his life, You little think what custom I could have. She and my niece and one more worthy wife, But see! I'm all your own--nay hold—for shame; Had known it all : what most he would conceal, What means my dear-indeed-you are to blame.” To these I made no scruple to reveal.
Thus with my first three lords I past my life; Oft has he blush'd from ear to ear for shame, A very woman, and a very wife.
That e'er he told a secret to his dame. What sums from these old spouses I could raise, 'It so befel, in holy time of Lent, Procur'd young husbands in my riper days. That oft a day I to this gossip went ; Though past my bloom, not yet decay'd was 1, (My husband, thank my stars, was out of town) Wanton and wild, and chatter'd like a pie. From house to house we rambled up and down, In country dances still I bore the bell,
This clerk, myself, and my good neighbour Alse, And sung as sweet as evening Philomel.
To sce, be seen, to tell, and gather tales.
At sermons too I shone in scarlet gay ;
array ; Wine lets no lover unrewarded go,
The cause was this, I wore it every day. As all true gamesters by experience know.' 'Twas when fresh May her early blossoms yielels,
But oh, good gods ! whene'er a thought I cast 'This clerk and I were walking in the fields, On all the joys of youth and beauty past,
We grew so intimate, I can't tell how, To find in pleasures I have had my part,
I pawn'd my honour, and engag'd my vow, Still warms me to the bottom of my heart.
If c'er I laid my husband in bis urn, This wicked world was once my dear delight; 'That he, and only he, should serve my turn. Now, all my conquests, all my charms, good night! We straight struck hands, the bargain was agreed ; T'he flour consum'd, the best that now I can, I still have shifts against a time of need : Is e'en to make my market of the bran.
The mouse that always trusts to one poor hole, My fourth dear spouse was not exceeding true ; Can never be a mouse of any soul. He kept, 'twas thought, a private miss or two; I vow'd I scarce could sleep since first I knewhim, But all that score I paid--as how? you'll say, And durst be sworn he had bewitch'd me to him; Not with my body in a filthy way:
If e'er I slept, I dream'd of him alone, But I so dress'd, and danc'd, and drank, and din'd, And dreams foretel, as learned men have shown. And view'd a friend with eyes so very kind, All this I said ; but dreams, sirs, I had none : As stung his heart, and made his marrow fry I follow'd but my crafty crony's lore, With buining rage, and frantic jealousy.
Who bid me tell this lie-and twenty more. His soul, I hope, enjoys eternal glory,
Thus day by day, and month by month we past, For here on larth I was his purgatory.
It pleas'd tbe Lord to take my spouse at last. Oft, wiien his shoe the most severely wrung, I tore my gown, I soil'd my locks with dust, He put on careless airs, and sate and sung. And beat my breasts, as wretched wilows-must. How sore I gall'd him, only Heaven could know, Before my face my handkerchief I spread, And he that felt, and I that caus'd the woe., To bide the flood of tears I did not shed. He dy'd, when last from pilgrimage 1 came, The good man's coffin to the church was borne ; With other gossips, from Jerusalem ;
Around, the neighbours, and my clerk too, inourne And now lies buried underneath a rood,
But as he march’d, good gods! he show'd a pair Fair to be seen, and reard of honest wood: Of legs and feet, so clean, so strong, so fair ! A torno indeed, with fewer sculptures grac'd Of twenty winters age he seem'd to be; Than that Mausolus' pious widow plac'd,
I (to say truth) was twenty more than he ; Or where inshrin'd the great Darius lay ;
But vigorous still, a lively busom dame ; But cost on graves is merely thrown away. And had a wonderous gift to quench a flame. The pit fill'd up, with turf we cover'd o'er ; ; A conjuror once, that deeply could divine, So blest the good inan's soul, I say no more. Assur'd me, Mars in Taurus was my sign.
Now for my fifth lov'd lord, the last aud best ; As the stars order'd, such my life has been ; (Kind Heaven afford hiin everlasting rest !) Alas, alas, that ever love was sin ! Full hearty was his love, and I can shew
Fair Venus gave me fire and sprightly grace, The tokens on my ribs in black and blue;
And Mars assurance and a dauntless face. Yet, with a knack, my heart he could have won, By virtue of this powerful constellation, While yet the smart was shooting in the bone. I follow'd always my own inclination. How quaint an appetite in women reigns !
But to my tale: A month scarce pass'd away, Free gifts we scorn, and love what costs us pains : With dance and song we kept the nuptial day. Let men avoid us, and on them we leap;
All I possess'd I gave to his command, A glutted market makes provision cheap.
My goods and chattels, money, house, and land i In pure goud-will I took this jovial spark, But oft repented, and repent it still; Of Oxford he, a inost egregious clerk.
He prov'd a rebel to my sovereign will: He boarded with a widow in the town,
Nay once, by Heaven, he struck me on the face ; A trusty gossip, one dame Alison.
Hear but the fact, and judge yourselves the case. Full well the secrets of my soul she knew,
Stubborn as any lioness was I;
As true a rambler as I was before,
He against this right sagely would advise,
Long time I heard, and swell'd, and blush'd and And old examples sct before my eyes ;
frown'd: Tell how the Roman matrons led their life, But when no end of these vile tales I found, Of Gracchus' mother, and Duilius' wife;
When still be read, and laugh'd, and read again, And close the sermon, as besecm'd his wit,
And half the night was thus consum'd in vain : With soine grave sentence out of holy writ. Provok'd to vengeance, three large leaves I tore, Oft would he say, “Who builds his house on sands, And with one buffet felld him on the foor. Pricks his blind horse across the fallow lands; With that my husband in a fury rose. Or let his wife abroad with pilgrims roam, And down he settled me with hearty blows. Deserves a fool's-cap, and long cars at home.” 1 groan'd, and lay extended on my side; All this arail'd not; for whoe'er he be
“Oh! thou hast slain me for iny wealth,” I cry'd, That tells my faults, I hate him mortally: “ Yet I forgive thee-take my last embraceAnd so do nuinbers more, I boldly say,
He wept, kind soul! and stoop'd to kiss my face, Men, women, clergy, regular, and lay.
I took him such a box as turn'd him blue,
But after many a hearty struggle past,
I took to heart the merits of the cause,
And stood content to rule by wholesome laws; And many more than sure the church approves. Receiv'd the reins of absolute command, More legions were there here of wicked wires, With all the government of house and land, Than good in all the Bible and saints lives.
And empire o'er his tongue, and o'er his hand. Who drew the lion vanquish'd ? 'twas a man. As for the volume that revil'd the dames, But could we women write as scholars can, "Twas torn to fragments, and condemn'd to flames' Men should stand mark'd with far more wickedness, Now Heaven on all niy husbands gone bestow Than all the sons of Adamı oould redress.
Pleasures above, for tortures felt below : Lore seldom haunts the breast wore learning lies, That rest they wish'd for, grant them in the grave, And Venus sets ere Mercury can rise.
And bless those souls my conduct help'd to save! Those play the scholars, who can't play the mon, 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,
THE FIRST BOOK OP
STATIUS HIS THEBAIS.
Epirus king of Thebes, having by mistake slain Wrapp'd in the envenon'd shirt, and set on fire.
his father Laïus, and married his mother Jocasta, How curs'd Fryphile her lord betray'd,
put out his own eyes, and resigned the realm to And the dire ambush Clytemnestra laid.
his sons, Eteocles and Polynices. Being neBut what most pleas'd him was the Cretan Dame, glected by them, he makes his prayer to the And Husband-bulloh monstrous ! tiy for shame!
fury Tisiphone, to sow debate betwixt the broHe had by heart the whole detail of woe
thers. They agree at last to reigo singly, each Xantippe made her goud man undergo;
a year by turns, and the first lot is obtained by "How oft she scolded in a day, he knew,
Etcocles. Jupiter, in a council of the gols, How many piss-pots on the sage she threw;. declares his resolution of punishing the Thebans, Who took it patiently, and wip'd his head;
and Argires also, by incans of a marr age betwixt * Rain follows thunder," that was ali he said. Polynices and one of the daughters of Adrastus, He rcad, how Arius to his friend complain'd,
king of Argos. Juno opposes, but to no effect; A fatal tree was growing in his land,
and Mercury is sent on a message to the Shades, On which three wives successively had twiu'd
to the ghost of Laius, who is to appear to EteoA sliding noose, and waver'd in the wind.
cles, and provoke him to break the agre ment. " Where grow's this plant,” reply'd the friend, "oh Polynices in the mean time departs from Thebes For better fruit did never orcharu bear. (where?
by night, is overtaken by a storm, and arrives Give me soine slip of this most blissful tree,
at Argos; where he mcets with Tydeus, who And in my gardcu planted shall it be.”
had fled from Calydon, having killed his brother.. Then how two wives their lord's destruction prove, Adrastus entertains them, having received an Through hatred one, and one through too much love;
oracle from Apollo, that his dauyhter should be That for her husband mix'd a poisonous dranglit, married to a boar and a lion, which he underAnd this for lust an amorous philtre bought :
stands to be meant of these strangers, by whom The nimble juice soon seiz'd his giddy head,
the hides of those beasts were worn, and who Frantic at night, and in the inorning dead.
arrived at the time when he kept an annual feast How some with saords their sleeping lords have slain,
in honour of that god. The rise of this solemAnd souc have hammer'd nails into their brain,
nity he relates to his guests, the loves of Pharhus And some have drench'd then with a deailly potion;
and Psamathe, and the story of Cher«bus. lle All this be read, and read with great devotion.
inquires, and is made acquainted with their
TRANSLATED IN THE YEAR MDCCIII.
THE FIRST BOOK OP
descent and quality. The sacrifice is renewed, , O bless thy Rome with an eternal reigth
and the book concludes with a hymn to Apollo. Nor let desiring worlds entreat in vain. The translator hopes he need not apologise for his What though the stars contract theirheavenly space,
choice of this piece, which was made almost in And croud their shining ranks to yield thce place; his childhood; but, finding the version better Though all the skies, ambitious of thy sway, than he expected, he gave it some correction a
Conspire to court thee from our world away ; few years afterwards.
Though Phoebus longs to mix his rays with thine,
Yet stay, great Cæsar! and rouchsafe to reign
O’er the wide earth, and o'er the watery main ; FRATERNAL rage, the guilty Thebes alarms,
Resign to Jove his empire of the skies, The alternate reign destroy'd by iinpious arins,
And people Heaven with Roman deities.
The time will come, when a diviner flate Demand our song ; a sacred fury fires
Shall warm my breast to sing of Cæsar's fame s My ravish'd breast, and all the Muse inspires.
Meanwhile periit, that my preluding Muse O goddess, say, shall I deduce my rhymes
In Theban wars an humbler theme may chuse : From the dire nation in its early times,
Of furious hate surviving death, she sings, Europa's rape, Agenor's stern decree,
A fatal throne to two contending kings, And Cadmus searching round the spacious sea ?
And funeral flames, that parting wide in air How with the serpent's teeth he sow'd the soil,
Express the discord of the souls they bear : And reap'd an iron harvest of his toil ?
Of towns dispeopled, and the wandering ghosts Or how from joining stones the city sprung,
Of kings unbury'd in the wasted coasts;
When Dirce's fountain blush'd with Grecian blood,
And Thetis, near Ismenos' swelling flood, Whose fatal rage th' unhappy monarch found?
With dread beheld the rolling surges sweep, The sire against the son his arrows drew,
In heaps, his slaughter'd sons into the deep O'er the wide fields the furious mother fiew,
What hero, Clio! wilt thou first relate?
of slain on every side,
rage of Tydeus, or the prophet's fate? But wave whate'er to Cadinus may belong, And fix, O Muse! the barrier of thy song
Hippom don repellid the hostile tide ?
Or how the youth, with every grace adorn'd, At Filipus-~from his disasters trace
Untimely feil, to be for ever mourn'd? The long confusions of his guilty race:
Then to fierce Capanens thy verse extend, Nor yet attempt to stretch thy bolder wing,
And sing with horrour his prodigious end. And mighty Casar's conquering eagles sing ;
Now wretched (Edipus, depriv'd of sight, How twice he tan'd proud Ister's rapid food, While Dacian mountains stream'd with barbarous But, while he dwells where not a chearful rag
led a long death in everlasting night; blood;
Can picrce the darkness, aud abhors the day, Twice taught the Rhine beneath his laws to roll,
The clear reflecting mind presents his sin And stretch'd his empire to the frozen pole :
In frightful views, and makes it day within ;
Pleïaduir, Boreæque, et hiulci fulminis expers
Ipse tuis alte radiantem crinibus arcam Frateršas acies, alteraque regna profanis Iinprimat, aut magni cedat tibi Jupiter æqua
Decertata odiis, sontesque evolvere Thebas, Parte poli; maneas hominum contentus habenisan - Picrius menti calor incidit. Unde jubetis
Undarum terræque potens, et sidera dones. Ire, Deæ? gentisne canam primordia diræ ? Tempus erit, cum Pierio tua fortior astro Sidonios raptus, et inexorabile pactum
Facta canam: nunc tendo chelyn. Satis arma referre legis Agenoreæ? scrutantemque æquora Cadrum: Aonia, et geminis sceptrum exitiale tyrannis, Longo retro series, trepidum si Martis operti Nec furiis post fata modum, flammasque rebelles Agricolam infandis condentem prælia sulcis Seditione rogi, tumulisque carentia regum Expediam, penitusque sequar quo carmine muris Fonera, et egestas alternis mortibus urbes; Jusserit Amphion Tyrios accedere montes : Cærula cum rubuit Lernæo sanguine Dirce, Unde graves iræ cognata in moenia Baccho, Et Thetis arentes assuetum stringere ripas, Quod sævæ Junonis opus; cui sumpserit arcum Horruit ingenti venientem Ismenon acervo. Infelix Atharnas, cur non expaverit ingens
Quem prius heroum Clio dabis ? immodicum iræ tonium, socio casura Palämone mater.
Tydea ? laurigeri subitos an ratis hiatas ? Atque adeo jam nunc gemitus, et prospera Cadmi Urget et hostilem propellens cædibus amnem Præteriisse sinam : lines mihi carminis esto Turbidus Hippomedon, plorandaque bella protern Edipode confusa domus : quando Itala nondum Arcados, atque alio Capaneus horrore canendus Signa, nec Arctos ausim sperare triumphos,
Impia jam merita scrutatus lumina dextra Bisque jugo Rhenum, bis adactum legibus Istrum, Merserat æterna damnatum nocte pudorem Et conjurato dejectos vertice Dacos :
Edipodes, longaque animam sub morte tenebatt Aut defensa prius vix pubeseentibus annis
Illum indulgentem tenebris, inæque recessu Bella Jovis. Tuque o Latiæ decus addite famæ, Sedis, inaspectos cælo, radiisque penates QUEM Qora maturi subeuntem exorsu parentis Serrautem, tamen assiduis circumvolat alis
Retorning thoughts in endless circles roll, Thou Fury, then, some lasting curse entail,
Which o'er their children's children shall prevail :
Break all the bonds of Nature, and prepare While from his breast these dreadful accents broke : Their kindred souls to mutual hate and war.
“ Ye gods! that o'er the gloomy regions reign, Give them to dare, what I might wish to see Where guilty spirits feel eternal pain ;
Blind as I am, some glorious villainy! Thou, sable Styx! whose livid streains are rollid Soon shalt thou find, if thou but arin their hands, Through dreary coasts, which I, though blind, be- | Their ready guilt preventing thy commands: Tisiphone, that oft has heard my prayer, (hold : Couldst thou some great, proportion'd mischief Assist, if Oedipus deserve thy care !
(came." If you receiv'd me from Jocasta's womb,
They'd prove the father from whose loins they And nurs'd the hope of mischiefs yet to come : The Fury heard, while on Cocytus' brink If leaving Polybus, I took my way
Her snakes, unty'd, sulphureous waters drink; To Cyrrha's temple, on that fatal day,
But at the summons roll'd her eyes around, When by the son the trembling father dy'd, And snatch'd the starting serpents from the ground. Where the three roads the Phocian fields divide : Not half so swiftly shoots along in air If I the Sphynx's riddles durst explain,
The gliding lightning, or descending star. Taught by thyself to win the promis'd reign : Through crowds of airy shades she wing'd her flight, If wretched I, by baleful Furies led,
And dark doininions of the silent night;
Veil'd her fair glories in the shades of night.
Trembled, and shook the heavens and gods he bore.
Aloft she sprung, and steer'd to Thebes her fight; While these exalt their sceptres o'er my urn; With eager speed the well-known journey took, These sons, ye gods! who, with fagitious pride, Nor herregrets the Hell she late forsook. Insult my darkness, and my groans deride. A hundred snakes her gloomy visage shade, Art thou a father, unregarding Jove?
A hundred serpents guard her horrid head, And sleeps thy thunder in the realms above? In her sunk eye-balls dreadful meteors glow:
Such rays from Phæbe's bloody circles flow, Sæva dies anjmi, scelerumque in pectore Diræ. When, labouring with strong charms, she shoots Tunc racuos orbes, crudum ae miserabile vitæ
from high Supplicium, ostentat cælo, manibusque cruentis A fiery gleam, and reddens all the sky. Pulsat inane solum, sævaque ita voce precatur:
Blood stain'd her cheeks, and from her mouth there Di sontes animas, angustaque Tartara pænis Qui regitis, tuque umbrifero Styx livida fundo, Blue steaming poisons, and a length of Aame. Quam video, multumque mihi consueta vocari Annue Tissiphone, perversaque vota secunda, I media in fratres, generis consortia ferro Si bene quid merui, si me de matre cadentem Dissiljant: da Tartasei regina barathri Povisti gremio, et trajectum vulnere plantas Quod cupiam vidisse nefas, nec tarda sequetur Firmasti ; si stagna peti Cyrrhæa bicorni
Mens juvenum; modo digna veni, mea pignore Interfusa jugo, possem cum degere falso
Talia jactanti crudelis Diva severos [nosces, Contentus Polybo, trifidæque in Phoçidos arce Advertit vultus ; inamanum forte sedebat Longævum implicui regem, secuique trementis Cocyton juxta, resolutaque vertice crines, Ora senis, dum quæro patrem; si Sphingos iniquæ Lambere sulfureas permiserat anguibus undas. Callidus ambages, te præinonstrante, resolvi ; Ilicet igne Jovis, lapsisque citatior astris Si dulces furias, et lamentabile matris
Tristibys exiliit ripis, discedit inane [bras Connubium gavisus ini ; noctemque nefandam
Vulgus, et occursis dominæ pavet ; illa per amSæpe tuli, natosque tibi (svis ipsa) paravi;
Et caligantes animarum examine campos, Mox avidus pænæ digitis cædentibus ultro Tænariæ limen petit irremeabile portæ. Incubui, miseraque oculos in matre reliqui : Sensit adesse dies; picco nox obvia nimbo Exaudi, si digua precor, quæque ipsa furenti Lucentes turbavit equos. Procul arduus Atlas Subjiceres : orbum visu regnisque parentem Horruit, et dubia cælum cervice remisit. Non regere, aut dictis morentein Hectere adorti Arripit extemplo Maleæ de valle resurgens Quos genui, quocunque toro: quin ecce superbi Notum iter ad Thebas : neque enim velocior ullas (Proh dolor) et nostro jamdudum funere reges, Itque reditque vias, cognataque Tartara mavult. Insultant tenebris, gemitusque odere paternos.
Centum illi stantes umbrabant ora cerasta, Hisne etiam funestus ego ? et videt ista deorum Turba minor diri capitis : sedet intus abactis Ignavus genitor? tu saltem debita vindex
Ferrea lux oculis; qualis per nubila Phæbes Huc ades, et totos in pænam ordire nepotes. Atracea rubet arte labor : suffusa veneng Indue quod madidum tabo diadema cruentis Tenditur, ac sanie gliscit cutis : igneus atra Unguibus arripui, votiaque instincta paternis Ore vapor, quo longa sitis, morbique, fainesque