Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

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 his blind horse across the fallow lands;
Or let 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 him mortally :
And so do numbers more, I boldly say,
Men, women, clergy, regular, and lay.
My spouse (who was, you know, to learning

bred)
A certain treatise oft at evening read,
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 legions 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 wicked.

ness, 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 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 Wrapp'd in the 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,
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 piss-pots on the sage she threw,
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
A sliding noose, and waver'd in the wind
• Where grows this plant,' replied 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.' Then how two wives their lord's destruction

prove, 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 seiz'd his giddy head, 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. 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,

Townd:

And with one buffet feli'd 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;
« On ! thou hast blain 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 turu'd him blue,
Then sigh'd and cried, '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;
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,
Twas toru to fragments, and condemo'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 !

THE FIRST BOOK OF

STATIUS HIS THEBAIS.

Translated in the Year 1703.

THE ARGUMENT.

dipus king of Thebes, having by mistake slain his father Laïus, and married his mother Jocasta, put out his own eyes, and resigned the realm to his sons, Eteocles and Polynices. Being neglected by them, he makes his prayer to the fury Tisi. phone, to sow debate betwixt the brothers. They agree at last to reign singly, each a year by turns, and the first lot is obtained by Eteocles. Jupiter, in a council of the gods, declares his resolution of punishing the Thebans, and Argives also, by means of a marriage betwixt Polynices and one of the daughters of Adrastus, king of Argos. Juno opposes, but to no effect; and Mercury is sent on a message to the Shades, to the ghost of Laïus, who is to appear to Eteocles, and provoke him to break the agreement. Polynices in the mean time de. parts from Thebes by night, is overtaken by a storm, and arrives at Argos; where he meets with Tydeus, who had fled froin Calydon, having killed his brother. Adrastus entertains them, having received an oracle from Apollo, that his daughter should be married to a boar and a lion, which he understands to be meant of these strang. ers, by whom the hides of those beasts were worn, and who arrived at the time when he kept an annual feast in honour of that god. The rise of this solemnity he relates to his guests, the loves of Phæbus and Psamathe, and the story of Chorce. bus. He inquires, and is made acquainted with their descent and quality. The sacrifice is repewed, and the book concludes with a hymn to

Apollo. The translator lopeshe needs not apologise for his

choice of this piece, which was made almost in his childhood; but, finding the version better than he expected, he gave it some correction a few years afterwards.

STATIUS HIS THEBAIS.

FRATERNAL rage, the guilty Thebes alarms,
I The alternate reign destroy'd by impious arms,
Demand our song; a sacred fury fires
My ravish'd breast, and all the muse inspires.
O goddess! say, shall I deduce my rhymes
From the dire nation in its early tirnes,
Europa's rape, Agenor's stern decree,
And Cadmus searching round the spacious sea ?
How with the serpent's teeth he sow'd the soil,
And reap'd an iron harvest of his toil ?
Or how from joining stones the city sprung,
While to his harp divine Amphion sung ?
Or shall I Juno's hate to Thebes resound,
Whose fatal rage th' unhappy monarch found ?
The sire agaiust the son his arrows drew,
O'er the wide fields the furious mother flew,
And while her arms a second hope contain,
Sprung from the rocks, and plung'd into the main.

« ZurückWeiter »