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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 flood of tears I did not shed. The good man's coffin to the Church was borne; Around, the neighbours, and my clerk, to mourn. But as he march’d, good Gods ! he shew'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 twenty more than he ; But vig’rous still, a lively buxom dame; And had a wondrous gift to quench a flame. 320 A Conj’ror 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, 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. 340

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'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 say,
Men, women, clergy, regular, and lay.

354
My spouse (who was, you know, to learning bred),
A certain treatise oft at ev’ning read,
Where divers Authors (whom the dev'l 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, Eloïsa's loves; And many more than sure the Church approves. More legends were then 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, 366 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 shew)
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 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 she scolded in a day, he knew, How many piss-pots on the sage she threw; 390 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 twinn'd 395 A sliding noose, and waver'd in the wind.

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 shall it be.

400 Then how two wives their lords' destruction prove, Through hatred one, and one through too much love; That for her husband mix'd a pois’nous draught, And this for lust an am'rous philter bought :

Where grows

The 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, 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); Yet I forgive thee-take my last embrace- 421 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,

425 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 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 handi

life;

gone, bestow

As for the volume that revil'd the dames, 434
'Twas torn to fragments, and condemn’d to flames.'

Now Heav'n, on all my husbands
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!

6.39162.422 app911

The lines of Pope, in the piece before us, are spirited and
easy, and have, properly enough, a free colloquial air. One
passage I cannot forbear quoting, as it acquaints us with the
writers who were popular in the time of Chaucer. The jocose
old woman says, that her husband frequently read to her out of
a volume that contained
“ Valerius whole; and of Saint Jerome part ;

yd. 2o8 B.G Chrysippus

and Tertullian, Ovid's Art, Solomon's Proverbs, Eloïsa's loves :

84. bebidas With many more than sure the Church approves." sig om 2160

Ver. 359.
Pope has omitted a stroke of humour; for, in the original, she
naturally mistakes the rank and age of St. Jerome; the lines
must be transcribed,

Yclepid Valerie and Theophrast,
At which boke he lough alway full fast;
And eke there was a clerk sometime in Rome,
A cardinal, that hightin St. Jerome,
That made a boke agenst Jovinian,
In which boke there was eke Tertullian,
Chrysippus, Trotula, and Helowis,
That was an abbess not ferr fro Paris,
And eke the Parables of Solomon,

Ovid' is art, and bokis many a one."
In the library which Charles V. founded in France, about the
year 1376, among many books of devotion, astrology, chemistry,
and romance, there was not one copy of Tully to be found, and
no Latin poet but Ovid, Lucan, and Boethius; some French
translations of Livy, Valerius Maximus, and St. Austin's City

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