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Since if I found no pleasure in my spouse, IIS

As flesh is frail, and who (God help me) knows?

Then should I live in lewd adultery,

And sink downright to Satan when I die:

Or were I curs'd with an unfruitful bed,

The righteous end were lost for which I wed; Im

To raise up seed to bless the Pow'rs above,

And not for pleasure only, or for love.

Think not I dote; 'tis time to take a wife,

When vig'rous blood forbids a chaster life:

Those that are blest with store of grace divine, 125

May live like saints by Heav'n's consent and mine."

"And since I speak of wedlock, let me say,
(As, fliank my stars, in modest truth I may)
My limbs are active, still I'm sound at heart,
And a new vigour springs in ev'ry part. 130

Think not my virtue lost, though Time has shed
These rev'rend honouis on my hoary head:
Thus trees are crown'd with blossoms white as snoK,
The vital sap then rising from below.
Old as I am, my lusty limbs appear 13!

Like winter greens, that flourish all the year.
Now, Sirs, ye know to what I stand inclin'd,
Let ev'ry friend with freedom speak his mind."

He said; the rest in dirf'rent parts divide;
The knotty point was urg'd on either side: 14'

Marriage, the theme on which they all declaim'd, Some prais'd with wit, and some with reason blam'd. Till, what with proofs, objections, and replies, Each wondrous positive, and wondrous «ise,

There fell between his brothers a debate, I4S

Placebo this was call'd, and Justin that.

First to the Knight Placebo thus begun, (Mild were his looks,- and pleasing was his tone) '' Such prudence, Sir, in all your words appears, As plainly proves experience dwells with years I 15* Yet you pursue sage Solomon's advice, To work by counsel when affairs are nice; But, with the Wise Man's leave, I must protest, So may my soul arrive at ease and rest, As still I hold your own advice the'beit." 155

"Sir, I have liv'd a courtier all my days,
And study'd men, theirmanners, and their ways;
And have observ'd this useful maxim still,
To let my betters always have their will.
Kay, if my Lord aSirm'd that black was white, 160
My word Was this, " Your Honour's in the right."
Th' assuming wit, who deems himself so wise
As his mistaken patron to advise,
Let him not dare to vent his dang'rous thought:
A noble fool was never in a fault. 165

This, Sir, affects not you, whose ev'ry word
Is weigh'd with judgment, and befits a lord:
Your will is mine; and is (I will maintain)
Pleasing to God, and should be so to man;
At least, your courage all the world mast praise, 170
Who dare to wed in your declining d..ys.
Indulge the vigour of your mounting blood,
And let gray fools be indolently good,
Vdumt I. T

Who, past all pleasure, damn the joys of sense
With rev'renddulness and grave impotence." 175

Justin, who silent sat, and heard the man,
Thus, with a philosophic frown, began.

"A Heathen author, of the first degree, (Who, though not faith, had sense as well as we) Bids us be certain our concerns to trust 180

To those of gen'rous principles and just.
The venture's greater, I'll presume to say,
To give your person, than your goods.away;
And therefore, Sir, as you regard your rest,
First learn your lady's qualities at least: 185

Whether she's chaste or rampant, proud or civil,
Meek as a saint, or haughty as the devil;
Whether an easy, fond, familiar fool,
Or such a wit as no man e'er can rule.
'Tis true, perfection none must hope to find 190

In all the world, much less in womankind;
But if her virtues prove the larger share,
Bless the kind JFates, and think your fortune rare.
Ah, gentle Sir, take warning of a friend,
Who knows too well the state you thus commend;
And spite of all his praises must declare, 196

All he can find is bondage, cost, and care.
Heav'n knows I shsd full many a private tear,
And sigh in silence, lest the world should hear;
While all my friends applaud my blissful life, 200

And swear no mortal's happier in a wife;
Demure and chaste as any vestal Jiun,
The meekest creature that beholds the sun J

But, by th' immortal Pow'rs, I feel the pain;

And he that smarts has reason to complain. 205

Do what yon list for me; you must be sage,

And cautious sure: for wisdom is in age.

But at these yean to venture on the fair!

By him who made the ocean, earth and air,

To please a wife, when her occasions call, zip

Would busy the most vig'rous of us all. .

And trust me, Sir, the chastest you can choose

Will ask observance, and exact her dues.

If what i speak my noble Lord offend, 214

My tedious sermon here is at an end." [plies)

"'Tis well, 'tis wond'rous well, (the knight re* Most worthy kinsman, faith you're mighty wisel We, Sirs, are fools; and must resign the cause To Heath'nish authors, proverbs, and old saws." He spoke with scom, and turn'd another way:— 220 '' What does my friend, my dear Placebo, say i" ;.

"I say, (quoth he) by Heav'n the man's to blame, To slander wives, and wedlock's holy name."

At this the council rose, without delay;
Each, in his own opinion, went his way; 22$

With full consent, that, all disputes appeas'd,
The Knight should marry, when and where he

Who now but January exults with joy? [pleas'd.
The charms of wedlock all his soul employ;
Each nymph by turns his wav'ring mindpossest, 250-
And reign'd the short-liv'd tyrant of his breast;
Whilst Fancy pictur'dev'ry lively part,
And each bright umage wander'd o'er his heart,

Thus, in some public forum fix'd on high,

A mirror shows the figures moving by; 233

Still one by one, in swift succession, pass

The gliding shadows o'er the polish'd glass.

This lady's charms the nicest could not blame,

But vile suspicions had aspers'd her fame;

That was with sense, but not wiih virtue blest; 240

And one had grace, that wanted all the rest.

Thus doubting long what nymph he should cbey,

He fix'd at last upon the youthful May.

Her faults he knew not, love is always blind,

But ev'ry charm revolv'd within his mind: 245

Her tender age, her form divinely fair,

Her easy motion, her attractive air,

Her sweet behaviour, her enchanting face,

Her moving softness, and majestic grace.

Much in his prudence did our Knight rejoice, 250
And thought no mortal could dispute his choice;
Once more in haste he summon'd ev'ry friend,
And told them all their pains were at an end.
"Heav'n, that (said he) inspir'd me first to wed,
Provides a consort worthy of my bed: 255

Let none oppose th' election, since on this
Depends my quiet, and my future bliss."

"A dame there is, the darling of my eyes,
Young, beauteous, artless, innocent, and wise;
Chaste, though not rich; and, though not nobly born,
Of honest parents, and may serve my turn. 261

He> will I wed, if gracious Heav'n so please,
To pass my age in sanctity and ease j

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