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Tell how the Roman matrons led their life,
Of Gracchus' mother, and Duillius' wife;
And close the sermon, as beseem'd his wit,
With some grave sentence out of Holy Writ.
Oft would he say, Who builds his house on sands,
Pricks bis blind horse across the fallow lands,
Or lets his wife abroad with pilgrims roam,
Deserves a fool's

cap and long ears at home.'
All this avail'd not, for whoe'er he be
That tells my faults, I hate bim mortally ;
And so do numbers more, I'll boldly say,
Men, women, clergy, regular, and lay.

My spouse (who was, you know, to learning
A certain treatise oft at evening read, [bred)
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,
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:
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.
Love seldom haunts the breast where learning lies,
And Venus sets ere Mercury can rise.
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. (This by the way, but to my purpose now :)

It chanced 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
Wrapp'd in the envenom’d shirt, and set on fire;
How cursed Eriphyle her lord betray'd,
And the dire ambush Clytemnestra laid;
But what most pleased him was the Cretan dame
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 she scolded in a day he knew,
How many piss-pots on the sage she threw,
Who took it patiently, and wiped his head;
• Rain follows thunder,' that was all he said.

He read how Ariys to his friend complain'd, A fatal tree

was growing in his land, On which three wives successively had twined A sliding moose, and waver'd in the wind. • Where grows this plant, (eplied the friend) oh! For better fruit did never orchard bear: [where? Give me some slip of this most blissful tree, And in my garden planted it shall be.' [prove,

Then, how two wives their lords' destruction Through hatred one, and one through too much love; That for her husband mix'd a poisonous draught, And this for lust an amorous philtre bought: The nimble juice soon seized his giddy head, Frantic at night, and in the morning dead. (slain,

How some with swords their sleeping lords have 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.

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 laughd, and read again, And half the night was thus consumed in vain, Provoked to vengeance, three large leaves I tore, And with one buffet felld him on the floor. With that my husband in a fury rose, And down he settled me with hearty blows. I groan'd, and lay extended on my side; Oh! thou hast slain me for my wealth, (I cried) Yet I forgive thee-take my last embrace-' He wept, kind soul! and stoop'd to kiss my face: I took him such a box as turned him blue, Then sigh'd and cried, 'Adieu, my dear, adieu !'

But after many a hearty struggle pass'd, I condescended to be pleased at last: Soon as he said “My mistress and my wife! Do what you list the term of all your life;' I took to heart the merits of the cause, And stood content to rule by wholesome laws; Received the reins of absolute command, With all the government of house and land, And empire o'er his tongue and o'er his hand, As for the volume that reviled the dames, 'Twas torn to fragments, and condemn’d to flames.

Now Heaven on all my husbands gone bestow Pleasures above, for tortures felt below: That rest they wish'd for grant them in the grave, And bless those souls my conduct help'd to save!

Jmitations of English Poets.

CHAUCER.

WOMEN ben full of ragerie,
Yet swinken nat sans secresie.
Thilke moral shall

ye

understond,
From schoole-boy's tale of fayre Irelond;
Which to the fennes hath him betake,
To filche the grey ducke fro the lake.
Right then there passen by the way
His aunt, and eke her daughters tway.
Ducke in his trowses hath he hent,
Not to be spy'd of ladies gent.
• But ho! our nephew,' crieth one;
· Ho! (quoth another) Cozen John ;'
And stoppen, and lough, and callen out-
This sely clerke full low doth lout:
They asken that, and talken this,

Lo, here is coz, and here is miss.'
But, as he glozeth with speeches soote,
The ducke sore tickleth his erse roote :
Fore-piece and buttons all-to-brest
Forth thrust a white neck and red crest.

Te-hee,' cry'd ladies; clerke nought spake: Miss stared, and grey ducke crieth quaake.'

O moder, moder! (quoth the daughter)
Be thilke same thing maids longen a'ter ?
Bette is to pine on coals and chalke,
Then trust on mon whose yerde can talke.'

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SPENSER

THE ALLEY.

In every town where Thamis rolls his tyde,
A narrow pass there is, with houses low,
Where ever and anon the stream is eyed,
And many a boat soft sliding to and fro:
There oft are heard the notes of infant woe,
The short thick sob, loud scream, and shriller

squall:
How can ye, mothers, vex your children so?
Some play, some eat, some cack against the wall,
And as they crouchen low for bread and butter call.
And on the broken pavement, here and there,
Doth many a stinking sprat and herring lie;
A brandy and tobacco shop is near,
And hens, and dogs, and hogs, are feeding by :
And here a sailor's jacket hangs to dry.
At every door are sunburnt matrons seen,
Mending old nets to catch the scaly fry;
Now singing shrill, and scolding eft between;
Scolds answer foul-mouth'd scolds; bad neigh-

bourhood I ween, The snappish cur (the passenger's annoy) Close at my heel with yelping treble flies; The whimpering girl, and hoarser screaming boy, Join to the yelping treble shrilling cries; The scolding quean to louder notes doth rise, And her full pipes those shrilling cries confound; To her full pipes the grunting hog replies : The grunting hogs alarm the neighbours round, And curs, girls, boys, and scolds, in the deep base

are drown'd.

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