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I tore my gown, I soild my locks with dust,
my face my handkerchief I spread, 311
316 Of twenty winters' age he seem'd to be: I(to say truth) was at twenty more than he; But vig'rous still, a lively buxom dame, And had a wondrous gift to quench a flame. 320 A conjörer once, that deeply could divine, Assur'd me Mars in Taurus was my sign. As the stars order'd, such my life has been: Alas, alas! that ever love was sin ! 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 possess'd I gave to his command, My goods and chattels, money, house and land; But oft repented, and repent it still; He prov'd a rebel to my sov'reign will:
Nay once, hy heav'n! he struck me on the face. 335
Stubborn as any lioness was I,
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 say, 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; Chrysippus and Tertullian, Ovid's Art, 360
Solomon's Proverbs, Eloisa's Loves,
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 relish of delight, Then down they sit, 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; How Samson fell; and he whom Dejanire 381 Wrapp'd in th' envenom’d shirt, and set on fire; How cursid Eriphyle her lord betray'd, And the dire ambusli Clytemnestra laid; But what most pleas'd him was the Cretan dame 385 And husband bull....Oh, monstrous! fy 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, 490 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 395 A sliding noose, apd.waver'd in the wind. Where grows this plant, reply'd the friend, oh! where? For better fruit did never orchard bear: Give me some slip of this most blissful tree, And in my garden planted it shall be.
400 Then how two wives their lords' destruction prove, Thro' hatred
and one thro' too much love; That for her husband mix'd a pois'nous draught, And this for lust an am'rous philtre bought: This nimble juice soon seiz'd his giddy head, 405 Frantic at night, and in the morning dead.
How some with swords their sleeping lords have slain, 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. 410 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,
bestow Pleasures above for tortures felt below: That rest theỹ wish'd for grant thein in the grave, And bless those souls my conduct help'd to save. 439