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First Line: Problem of sexes! Must thou likewise be
Last Line: So shall it be thy son, and yet my daughter.
Subject(s): Sex

PROBLEM of sexes! Must thou likewise be
As disputable in thy pedigree?
Thou twins in one, in whom Dame Nature tries
To throw less than aums ace upon two dice.
Wert thou served up two in one dish, the rather
To split thy sire into a double father?
True, the world's scales are even; what the main
In one place gets, another quits again.
Nature lost one by thee, and therefore must
Slice one in two to keep her number just.
Plurality of livings is thy state,
And therefore mine must be impropriate.
For, since the child is mine and yet the claim
Is intercepted by another's name,
Never did steeple carry double truer;
His is the donative and mine the cure.
Then say, my Muse (and without more dispute),
Who 'tis that fame doth superinstitute.
The Theban wittol, when he once descries
Jove is his rival, falls to sacrifice.
That name hath tipped his horns; see, on his knees!
A health to Hans-in-kelder Hercules!
Nay, sublunary cuckolds are content
To entertain their fate with compliment;
And shall not he be proud whom Randolph deigns
To quarter with his Muse both arms and brains?
Gramercy Gossip, I rejoice to see
She'th got a leap of such a barbary.
Talk not of horns, horns are the poet's crest;
For, since the Muses left their former nest
To found a nunnery in Randolph's quill,
Cuckold Parnassus is a forked hill.
But stay, I've waked his dust, his marble stirs
And brings the worms for his compurgators.
Can ghost have natural sons? Say, Og, is't meet
Penance bear date after the winding sheet?
Were it a Phoenix (as the double kind
May seem to prove, being there's two combined)
I would disclaim my right, and that it were
The lawful issue of his ashes swear.
But was he dead? Did not his soul translate
Herself into a shop of lesser rate;
Or break up house, like an expensive lord
That gives his purse a sob and lives at board?
Let old Pythagoras but play the pimp
And still there's hopes't may prove his bastard imp.
But I'm profane; for, grant the world had one
With whom he might contract an union,
They two were one, yet like an eagle spread,
I' th' body joined, but parted in the head.
For you, my brat, that pose the Porph'ry Chair,
Pope John, or Joan, or whatsoe'er you are,
You are a nephew; grieve not at your state,
For all the world is illegitimate.
Man cannot get a man, unless the sun
Club to the act of generation.
The sun and man get man, thus Tom and I
Are the joint fathers of my poetry.
For since, blest shade, thy verse is male, but mine
O' th' weaker sex, a fancy feminine,
We'll part the child, and yet commit no slaughter;
So shall it be thy son, and yet my daughter.

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