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• So Heaven preserve the sight it has restored,
• Guard me, good angels! cried the gentle May, • Pray Heaven, this magic work the proper way! Alas, my love! 'tis certain, could you see, You ne'er had used these killing words to me: So help me, Fates, as 'tis no perfect sight, But some faint glimmering of a doubtful light!'
• What I have said,' quoth he,' I must maintain, For by th' immortal powers it seem'd too plain." . By all those powers, some frenzy seiz'd your
The knight was touch'd, and in his looks appear'd
'Ah, my lov'd lord! 'twas much unkind,' she cried, . On bare suspicion thus to treat your bride. But, till your sight 's establish'd for awhile, Imperfect objects may your sense beguile. Thus when from sleep we first our eyes display, The balls are wounded with the piercing ray, And dusky vapours rise, and intercept the day. So, just recovering from the shades of pight, Your swimming eyes are drunk with sudden light, Strange phantoms dance around, and skim before your Then, sir, be cautious, nor too rashly deem. [sight: Heaven knows how seldom things are what they seem! Consult your reason, and you soon shall find 'Twas you were jealous, not your wife unkind;
Jove ne'er spoke oracle more true than this,
With that she leap'd into her lord's embrace,
Thus ends our tale; whose moral next to make, Let all wise husbands hence example take; And pray, to crown the pleasure of their lives, To be so well deluded by their wives.
THE WIFE OF BATH.
Christ saw a wedding once, the Scripture says,
But let them read, and solve me, if they can:
• Increase and multiply,' was Heaven's command,
For when my transitory spouse, unkind,
Paul, knowing one could never serve our turn,
I envy not their bliss, if he or she Think fit to live in perfect chastity. Pure let them be, and free from taint of vice; I, for a few slight spots, am not so nice. Heaven calls us different ways, on these bestows One proper gift, another grants to those : Not every man 's oblig'd to sell his store, And give up all his substance to the poor: Such as are perfect may, I can't deny; But, by your leaves, divines, so am not I.
Full many a saint, since first the world began, Liv'd an unspotted maid in spite of man: Let such (a-God's name) with fine wheat be fed, And let us honest wives eat barley bread. For me, I'll keep the post assign'd by heaven, And use the copious talent it has given: Let my good spouse pay tribute, do me right, And keep an equal reckoning every night. His proper body is not his, but mine; For so said Paul, and Paul 's a sound divine.
Know then, of those five husbands I have had,
Presents flow'd in apace : with showers of gold, They made their court, like Jupiter of old.
If I but smil'd, a sudden youth they found,
Ye sovereign wives ! give ear, and understand,
• Hark, old Sir Paul! 'twas thus I used to say, " Whence is our neighbour's wife so rich and gay! Treated, caress'd, where'er she's pleas'd to roamI sit in tatters, and immured at home. Why to her house dost thou so oft repair? Art thou so amorous ? and is she so fair? If I but see a cousin or a friend, Lord! how you swell with rage like any
fiend! But you reel home, a drunken, beastly bear, Then preach till midnight in your easy chair; Cry, wives are false, and every woman's evil, And give up all that's female to the devil.
• If poor (you say) she drains her husband's purse ;
· Horses (thou say'st) and asses men may try,
• You tell me, to preserve your wife's good grace, Your eyes must always languish on my face,
Your tongue with constant flatteries feed my ear,
On Jenkin too you cast a squinting eye;
• Why are thy chests all lock'd ? on what design? Are not thy worldly goods and treasure mine? Sir, I'm no fool; nor shall you, by St. John, Have goods and body to yourself alone. One you shall quit, in spite of both your eyes I heed not, I, the bolts, the locks, the spies. If you had wit, you'd say, • Go where you will, Dear spouse, I credit not the tales they tell: Take all the freedoms of a married life; I know thee for a virtuous, faithful ife.
• Lord! when you have enough, what need you How merrily soever others fare?
[care Though all the day I give and take delight, Doubt not sufficient will be left at night. 'Tis but a just and rational desire, To light a taper at a neighbour's fire.
• There's danger too, you think, in rich array,
Lo thus, my friends, I wrought to my desires