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I tore my gown, I soild my locks with dust,
And beat my breasts, as wretched widows....must.
Before my face my handkerchief I spread, 311
To hide the floods of tears I did....not shed.
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 show'd a pair
Of legs and feet so clean, so strong, so fair! 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 conj’rer 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,

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:


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Nay once, hy heav'n! he struck me on the face. 335
Hear but the fact, and judge yourselves the case.

Stubborn as any lioness was 1,
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.

He against this right sagely 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 sermon, as beseem'da 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 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,
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.
Love seldom haunts the breast where learning lies,
And Venus sets 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 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 curs'd Eriphyle her lord betray'd, And the dire ambushi Clytemnestra laid; But what most pleas'd him was the Cretan dame 385 And husband bull....Ol, monstrous! fy for shame!

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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, and. 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 one, 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 lordshaveslaio, 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,
And half the night was thus consum'd in vain,
Provok'd to vengeance, three large leaves I tore,
And with one buffet fell’d him on the floor. 416
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 cry’d: 420
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 turn'd him blue,
Then sigh'd and cry'd, Adieu, my dear, adieu !
But after many a hearty struggle past,

I condescended to be pleas'd 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; 430
Receiv'd 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 revil'd the dames,

435 'Twas torn to fraginents, and condemn'd to flames.

Now heav'n 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. 439

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