Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SATIRE: 6, by DECIMUS JUNIUS JUVENALIS



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SATIRE: 6, by            
First Line: In saturn's reign, at nature's early birth
Last Line: Rather than fail, the dagger does the deed.
Alternate Author Name(s): Juvenal
Variant Title(s): The Sixth Satire Of Juvenal
Subject(s): Women


IN Saturn's Reign, at Nature's Early Birth,
There was that Thing call'd Chastity on Earth;
When in a narrow Cave, their common shade,
The Sheep the Shepherds and their Gods were laid:
When Reeds and Leaves, and Hides of Beasts were spread
By Mountain Huswifes for their homely Bed,
And Mossy Pillows rais'd, for the rude Husband's head.
Unlike the Niceness of our Modern Dames,
(Affected Nymphs with new affected Names:)
The Cynthia's and the Lesbia's of our Years,
Who for a Sparrow's Death dissolve in Tears.
Those first unpolisht Matrons, Big and Bold,
Gave Suck to Infants of Gygantick Mold;
Rough as their Savage Lords who Rang'd the Wood,
And fat with Akorns Belcht their windy Food.
For when the World was Bucksom, fresh, and young,
Her Sons were undebauch'd, and therefore strong;
And whether Born in kindly Beds of Earth,
Or strugling from the Teeming Oaks to Birth,
Or from what other Atoms they begun,
No Sires they had, or if a Sire the Sun.
Some thin Remains of Chastity appear'd
Ev'n under Jove, but Jove without a Beard;
Before the servile Greeks had learnt to Swear
By Heads of Kings; while yet the Bounteous Year
Her common Fruits in open Plains expos'd,
E're thieves were fear'd, or Gardens were enclos'd.
At length uneasie Justice upwards flew,
And both the Sisters to the Stars withdrew;
From that Old AEra Whoring did begin,
So Venerably Ancient is the Sin.
Adult'rers next invade the Nuptial State,
And Marriage-Beds creak'd with a Foreign Weight;
All other Ills did Iron times adorn;
But Whores and Silver in one Age were Born.
Yet thou, they say, for Marriage do'st provide:
Is this an Age to Buckle with a Bride?
They say thy Hair the Curling Art is taught,
The Wedding-Ring perhaps already bought:
A Sober Man like thee to change his Life!
What Fury wou'd possess thee with a Wife?
Art thou of ev'ry other Death bereft,
No Knife, no Ratsbane, no kind Halter left?
(For every Noose compar'd to Hers is cheap)
Is there no City-Bridge from whence to leap?
Would'st thou become her Drudge, who dost enjoy
A better sort of Bedfellow, thy Boy?
He keeps thee not awake with nightly Brawls,
Nor with a beg'd Reward, thy Pleasure palls;
Nor with insatiate heavings calls for more,
When all thy Spirits were drain'd out before.
But still Ursidius Courts the Marriage-Bait,
Longs for a Son, to settle his Estate,
And takes no Gifts, tho every gapeing Heir
Wou'd gladly Grease the Rich Old Batchelour.
What Revolution can appear so strange,
As such a Leacher, such a Life to change?
A rank, notorious Whoremaster, to choose
To thrust his Neck into the Marriage-Noose!
He who so often in a dreadful fright
Had in a Coffer 'scap'd the jealous Cuckold's sight,
That he, to Wedlock dotingly betray'd,
Should hope, in this lewd Town, to find a Maid!
The Man's grown Mad: To ease his Frantick Pain,
Run for the Surgeon; breathe the middle Vein:
But let a Heyfer with gilt Horns be led
To Juno, Regent of the Marriage-Bed,
And let him every Deity adore,
If his new Bride prove not an arrant Whore,
In Head and Tail, and every other Pore.
On Ceres feast, restrain'd from their delight,
Few Matrons, there, but Curse the tedious Night:
Few whom their Fathers dare Salute, such Lust
Their Kisses have, and come with such a Gust.
With Ivy now Adorn thy Doors, and Wed;
Such is thy Bride, and such thy Genial Bed.
Think'st thou one Man is for one Woman meant?
She, sooner, with one Eye wou'd be content
And yet, 'tis nois'd, a Maid did once appear
In some small Village, tho Fame says not where:
'Tis possible; but sure no Man she found;
'Twas desart, all, about her Father's Ground:
And yet some Lustful God might there make bold;
Are Jove and Mars grown impotent and old?
Many a fair Nymph has in a Cave been spread,
And much good Love, without a Feather-Bed.
Whither wou'dst thou to chuse a Wife resort,
The Park, the Mall, the Play-house, or the Court?
Which way soever thy Adventures fall,
Secure alike of Chastity in all.
One sees a Dancing-Master Capring high,
And Raves, and Pisses, with pure Extasie:
Another does, with all his Motions, move,
And Gapes, and Grins as in the feat of Love:
A third is Charm'd with the new Opera Notes,
Admires the Song, but on the Singer Doats:
The Country Lady in the Box appears,
Softly She Warbles over all she hears;
And sucks in Passion, both at Eyes and Ears.
The rest, (when now the long Vacation's come,
The noisie Hall and Theatres grown dumb)
Their Memories to refresh, and chear their hearts,
In borrow'd Breaches act the Players parts.
The Poor, that scarce have wherewithal to eat,
Will pinch, to make the Singing-Boy a Treat.
The Rich, to buy him, will refuse no price;
And stretch his Quail-pipe, till they crack his Voice.
Tragedians, acting Love, for Lust are sought:
(Tho but the Parrots of a Poet's Thought.)
The Pleading Lawyer, tho for Counsel us'd,
In Chamber-practice often is refus'd.
Still thou wilt have a Wife, and father Heirs;
(The product of concurring Theatres.)
Perhaps a Fencer did thy Brows adorn,
And a young Sword-man to thy Lands is born.
Thus Hippia loath'd her old Patrician Lord,
And left him for a Brother of the Sword:
To wondring Pharos with her Love she fled,
To show one Monster more than Ajrick bred:
Forgetting House and Husband, left behind,
Ev'n Children too; she sails before the wind;
False to 'em all, but constant to her Kind.
But, stranger yet, and harder to conceive,
She cou'd the Play-house and the Players leave.
Born of rich Parentage, and nicely bred,
She lodg'd on Down, and in a Damask Bed;
Yet, daring now the Dangers of the Deep,
On a hard Mattress is content to sleep.
E're this, 'tis true, she did her Fame expose:
But that, great Ladies with great Ease can lose.
The tender Nymph cou'd the rude Ocean bear:
So much her Lust was stronger than her Fear.
But, had some honest Cause her Passage prest,
The smallest hardship had disturb'd her brest:
Each Inconvenience makes their Virtue cold;
But Womankind, in Ills, is ever bold.
Were she to follow her own Lord to Sea,
What doubts and scruples wou'd she raise to stay?
Her Stomach sick, and her head giddy grows;
The Tar and Pitch are nauseous to her Nose.
But in Love's Voyage nothing can offend;
Women are never Sea-sick with a Friend.
Amidst the Crew, she walks upon the boord;
She eats, she drinks, she handles every Cord:
And, if she spews, 'tis thinking of her Lord.
Now ask, for whom her Friends and Fame she lost?
What Youth, what Beauty cou'd th' Adult'rer boast?
What was the Face, for which she cou'd sustain
To be call'd Mistress to so base a Man?
The Gallant, of his days had known the best:
Deep Scars were seen indented on his breast;
And all his batter'd Limbs requir'd their needful rest.
A Promontory Wen, with griesly grace,
Stood high, upon the Handle of his Face:
His blear Eyes ran in gutters to his Chin:
His Beard was Stubble, and his Cheeks were thin.
But 'twas his Fencing did her Fancy move:
'Tis Arms and Blood and Cruelty they love.
But should he quit his Trade, and sheath his Sword,
Her Lover wou'd begin to be her Lord.
This was a private Crime; but you shall hear
What Fruits the Sacred Brows of Monarchs bear:
The good old Sluggard but began to snore,
When from his side up rose th' Imperial Whore:
She who preferr'd the Pleasures of the Night
To Pomps, that are but impotent delight;
Strode from the Palace, with an eager pace,
To cope with a more Masculine Embrace;
Muffled she march'd, like Juno in a Clowd,
Of all her Train but one poor Wench allow'd,
One whom in Secret Service she cou'd trust;
The Rival and Companion of her Lust.
To the known Brothel-house she takes her way;
And for a nasty Room gives double pay;
That Room in which the rankest Harlot lay.
Prepar'd for fight, expectingly she lies,
With heaving Breasts, and with desiring Eyes:
Still as one drops, another takes his place,
And baffled still succeeds to like disgrace.
At length, when friendly darkness is expir'd,
And every Strumpet from her Cell retir'd,
She lags behind, and lingring at the Gate,
With a repining Sigh, submits to Fate:
All Filth without, and all a Fire within,
Tir'd with the Toyl, unsated with the Sin,
Old Coesar's Bed the modest Matron seeks;
The steam of Lamps still hanging on her Cheeks,
In Ropy Smut: thus foul, and thus bedight,
She brings him back the Product of the Night.
Now should I sing what Poisons they provide;
With all their Trumpery of Charms beside;
And all their Arts of Death: it would be known
Lust is the smallest Sin the Sex can own.
Coesinia, still, they say, is guiltless found
Of ev'ry Vice, by her own Lord Renown'd:
Andwell she may, she brought ten thousand Pound.
She brought him wherewithal to be call'd chaste;
His Tongue is ty'd in Golden Fetters fast
He Sighs, Adores, and Courts her every Hour;
Who wou'd not do as much for such a Dower?
She writes Love-Letters to the Youth in Grace;
Nay tips the wink before the Cuckold's Face;
And might do more; Her Portion makes it good;
Wealth has the Priviledge of Widow-hood.
These Truths with his Example you disprove,
Who with his Wife is monstrously in Love:
But know him better; for I heard him Swear,
'Tis not that She's his Wife, but that She's Fair.
Let her but have three wrinkles in her Face,
Let her Eyes Lessen, and her Skin unbrace,
Soon you will hear the Saucy Steward say,
Pack up with all your Trinkets, and away;
You grow Offensive both at Bed and Board:
Your Betters must be had to please my Lord.
Meantime She's absolute upon the Throne;
And knowing time is Precious, loses none:
She must have Flocks of Sheep, with Wool more Fine
Than Silk, and Vinyards of the Noblest Wine:
Whole Droves of Pages for her Train she Craves:
And sweeps the Prisons for attending Slaves.
In short, whatever in her Eyes can come,
Or others have abroad, she wants at home.
When Winter shuts the Seas, and fleecy Snows
Make Houses white, she to the Merchant goes;
Rich Crystals of the Rock She takes up there,
Huge Agat Vases, and old China Ware:
Then Berenice's Ring her Finger proves,
More Precious made by her incestuous Loves:
And infamously Dear: A Brother's Bribe,
Ev'n God's Annointed, and of Judah's Tribe:
Where barefoot they approach the Sacred Shrine,
And think it only Sin, to feed on Swine.
But is none worthy to be made a Wife
In all this Town? Suppose her free from strife,
Rich, Fair, and Fruitful, of Unblemish'd Life;
Chast as the Sabines, whose prevailing Charms
Dismiss'd their Husbands, and their Brothers Arms.
Grant her, besides, of Noble Blood, that ran
In Ancient Veins, e're Heraldry began:
Suppose all these, and take a Poet's word,
A Black Swan is not half so Rare a Bird.
A Wife, so hung with Virtues, such a freight,
What Mortal Shoulders cou'd support the weight!
Some Country Girl, scarce to a Curtsey bred,
Wou'd I much rather than Cornelia Wed:
If Supercilious, Haughty, Proud, and Vain,
She brought her Father's Triumphs in her Train.
Away with all your Carthaginian State,
Let vanquish'd Hannibal without Doors wait,
Too burly and too big to pass my narrow Gate.
Oh Poean, cries Amphion, bend thy Bow
Against my Wife, and let my Children go
But sullen Poean shoots at Sons and Mothers too.
His Niobe and all his Boys he lost;
Ev'n her who did her num'rous Offspring boast,
As Fair and Fruitful as the Sow that carry'd
The Thirty Pigs at one large Litter Farrow'd.
What Beauty or what Chastity can bear
So great a Price, if stately and severe
She still insults, and you must still adore?
Grant that the Hony's much, the Gall is more.
Upbraided with the Virtues she displays,
Sev'n Hours in Twelve, you loath the Wife you Praise:
Some Faults, tho small, intolerable grow;
For what so Nauseous and Affected too,
As those that think they due Perfection want,
Who have not learnt to Lisp the Grecian Cant?
In Greece, their whole Accomplishments they seek:
Their Fashion, Breeding, Language, must be Greek:
But Raw in all that does to Rome belong,
They scorn to cultivate their Mother Tongue.
In Greek they flatter, all their Fears they speak,
Tell all their Secrets; nay they Scold in Greek:
Ev'n in the Feat of Love, they use that Tongue.
Such Affectations may become the Young;
But thou, Old Hag, of Threescore Years and Three,
Is shewing of thy Parts in Greek for thee?
Zwh kai yuxh All those tender words
The Momentary trembling Bliss affords,
The kind soft Murmurs of the private Sheets,
Are Bawdy, while thou speak'st in publick Streets.
Those words have Fingers; and their force is such,
They raise the Dead, and mount him with a touch.
But all Provocatives from thee are vain:
No blandishment the slacken'd Nerve can strain.
If then thy Lawful Spouse thou canst not love,
What reason shou'd thy Mind to Marriage move?
Why all the Charges of the Nuptial Feast,
Wine and Deserts and Sweet-meats to digest?
Th' indoweing Gold that buys the dear Delight,
Giv'n for thy first and only happy Night?
If thou art thus Uxoriously inclin'd,
To bear thy Bondage with a willing mind,
Prepare thy Neck, and put it in the Yoke:
But for no mercy from thy Woman look.
For tho, perhaps, she loves with equal Fires,
To Absolute Dominion she aspires;
Joys in the Spoils, and Triumphs o'er thy Purse;
The better Husband makes the Wife the worse.
Nothing is thine to give, or sell, or buy,
All Offices of Ancient Friendship dye;
Nor hast thou leave to make a Legacy.
By thy Imperious Wife thou art bereft
A Priviledge, to Pimps and Panders left;
Thy Testament's her Will; Where she prefers
Her Ruffians, Drudges, and Adulterers,
Adopting all thy Rivals for thy Heirs.
Go drag that Slave to Death; your Reason, why
Shou'd the poor Innocent be doom'd to Dye?
What proofs? for, when Man's Life is in debate,
The Judge can ne're too long deliberate.
Call'st thou that Slave a Man? the Wife replies:
Prov'd, or unprov'd, the Crime, the Villain Dies.
I have the Soveraign Pow'r to save or kill;
And give no other Reason but my Will.
Thus the She-Tyrant Reigns, till pleas'd with change,
Her wild Affections to New Empires Range:
Another Subject-Husband she desires;
Divorc'd from him, she to the first retires,
While the last Wedding-Feast is scarcely o're,
And Garlands hang yet green upon the Door.
So still the Reck'ning rises; and appears
In total Sum, Eight Husbands in Five Years.
The Title for a Tomb-Stone might be fit;
But that it wou'd too commonly be writ.
Her Mother Living, hope no quiet Day;
She sharpens her, instructs her how to Flea
Her Husband bare, and then divides the Prey.
She takes Love-Letters, with a Crafty smile,
And, in her Daughter's Answer, mends the stile.
In vain the Husband sets his watchful Spies;
She Cheats their cunning, or she bribes their Eyes.
The Doctor's call'd; the Daughter, taught the Trick,
Pretends to faint; and in full Health is Sick.
The Panting Stallion, at the Closet-Door,
Hears the Consult, and wishes it were o're.
Can'st thou, in Reason, hope, a Bawd so known
Shou'd teach her other Manners than her own?
Her Int'rest is in all th' Advice she gives:
'Tis on the Daughter's Rents the Mother lives.
No Cause is try'd at the Litigious Bar,
But Women Plaintiffs or Defendants are,
They form the Process, all the Briefs they write,
The Topicks furnish, and the Pleas indite;
And teach the Toothless Lawyer how to Bite.
They turn Virago's too; the Wrastler's toyl
They try, and Smear their Naked Limbs with Oyl:
Against the Post, their wicker Shields they crush,
Flourish the Sword, and at the Plastron push
Of every Exercise the Mannish Crew
Fulfils the Parts, and oft Excels us too;
Prepar'd not only in feign'd Fights t' engage,
But rout the Gladiators on the Stage.
What sence of shame in such a Breast can lye,
Inur'd to Arms, and her own Sex to fly?
Yet to be wholly Man she wou'd disclaim;
To quit her tenfold Pleasure at the Game,
For frothy Praises, and an Empty Name.
Oh what a decent Sight 'tis to behold
All thy Wife's Magazine by Auction sold!
The Belt, the crested Plume, the several Suits
Of Armour, and the Spanish Leather Boots!
Yet these are they, that cannot bear the heat
Of figur'd Silks, and under Sarcenet sweat.
Behold the strutting Amazonian Whore,
She stands in Guard with her right Foot before:
Her Coats Tuck'd up; and all her Motions just,
She stamps, and then Cries, had at ev'ry thrust:
But laugh to see her, tyr'd with many a bout,
Call for the Pot, and like a Man Piss out.
The Ghosts of Ancient Romans, shou'd they rise,
Wou'd grin to see their Daughters play a Prize.
Besides, what endless Brawls by Wifes are bred:
The Curtain-Lecture makes a Mournful Bed.
Then, when she has thee sure within the Sheets,
Her Cry begins, and the whole Day repeats.
Conscious of Crimes her self, she teyzes first;
Thy Servants are accus'd; thy Whore is curst;
She Acts the jealous, and at Will she cries;
For Womens Tears are but the sweat of Eyes.
Poor Cuckold-Fool, thou think'st that Love sincere,
And suck'st between her Lips, the falling Tear:
But search her Cabinet, and thou shalt find
Each Tiller there with Love Epistles lin'd.
Suppose her taken in a close embrace,
This you wou'd think so manifest a Case,
No Rhetorick could defend, no Impudence outface:
And yet even then she Cries the Marriage Vow
A mental Reservation must allow;
And there's a silent bargain still imply'd,
The Parties shou'd be pleas'd on either side:
And both may for their private needs provide.
Tho Men your selves, and Women us you call,
Yet Homo is a Common Name for all.
There's nothing bolder than a Woman Caught;
Guilt gives 'em Courage to maintain their Fault.
You ask from whence proceed these monstrous Crimes?
Once Poor, and therefore Chast, in former times,
Our Matrons were: No Luxury found room
In low-rooft Houses, and bare Walls of Lome;
Their Hands with Labour hard'ned while 'twas Light,
And Frugal sleep supply'd the quiet Night,
While pinch't with want, their Hunger held 'em straight;
When Hannibal was Hov'ring at the Gate:
But wanton now, and lolling at our Ease,
We suffer all th' invet'rate ills of Peace,
And wastful Riot; whose Destructive Charms
Revenge the vanquish'd World, of our Victorious Arms.
No Crime, no Lustful Postures are unknown;
Since Poverty, our Guardian-God, is gone:
Pride, Laziness, and all Luxurious Arts,
Pour like a Deluge in, from Foreign Parts:
Since Gold Obscene, and Silver found the way,
Strange Fashions with strange Bullion to convey,
And our plain simple Manners to betray.
What care our Drunken Dames to whom they spread?
Wine no distinction makes of Tail or Head.
Who lewdly Dancing at a Midnight-Ball,
For hot Eringoes, and Fat Oysters call:
Full Brimmers to their Fuddled Noses thrust;
Brimmers the last Provocatives of Lust,
When Vapours to their swimming Brains advance,
And double Tapers on the Tables dance.
Now think what Bawdy Dialogues they have,
What Tullia talks to her confiding Slave,
At Modesty's old Statue: when by Night
They make a stand, and from their Litters light;
The Good Man early to the Levee goes,
And treads the Nasty Paddle of his Spouse.
The Secrets of the Goddess nam'd the Good,
Are even by Boys and Barbers understood:
Where the Rank Matrons, Dancing to the Pipe,
Gig with their Bums, and are for Action ripe;
With Musick rais'd, they spread abroad their Hair;
And toss their Heads like an enamour'd Mare:
Laufella lays her Garland by, and proves
The mimick Leachery of Manly Loves.
Rank'd with the Lady, the cheap Sinner lies;
For here not Blood, but Virtue gives the prize.
Nothing is feign'd in this Venereal Strife;
'Tis downright Lust, and Acted to the Life.
So full, so fierce, so vigorous, and so strong,
That, looking on, wou'd make old Nestor Young.
Impatient of delay, a general sound,
An universal Groan of Lust goes round;
For then, and only then, the Sex sincere is found.
Now is the time of Action; now begin,
They cry, and let the lusty Lovers in.
The Whoresons are asleep; Then bring the Slaves
And Watermen, a Race of strong-back'd Knaves.
I wish, at least, our Sacred Rites were free
From those Pollutions of Obscenity:
But 'tis well known what Singer, how disguis'd,
A lewd audacious Action enterpriz'd:
Into the Fair with Women mixt, he went,
Arm'd with a huge two-handed Instrument;
A grateful Present to those holy Quires,
Where the Mouse guilty of his Sex retires:
And even Male-Pictures modestly are vaild;
Yet no Profaneness on that Age prevail'd;
No Scoffers at Religious Rites were found:
Tho now, at every Altar they abound.
I hear your cautious Counsel, you wou'd say,
Keep close your Women under Lock and Key:
But, who shall keep those Keepers? Women, nurst
In Craft, begin with those, and Bribe 'em first.
The Sex is turn'd all Whore; they Love the Game:
And Mistresses, and Maids, are both the same.
The poor Ogulnia, on the Poet's day,
Will borrow Cloaths, and Chair, to see the Play:
She, who before had Mortgag'd her Estate,
And Pawn'd the last remaining piece of Plate.
Some are reduc'd their utmost Shifts to try:
But Women have no shame of Poverty.
They live beyond their stint; as if their store
The more exhausted, wou'd increase the more:
Some Men, instructed by the Lab'ring Ant,
Provide against th' Extremities of want;
But Womankind, that never knows a mean,
Down to the Dregs their sinking Fortune drain:
Hourly they give, and spend, and wast, and wear:
And think no Pleasure can be bought too dear.
There are, who in soft Eunuchs place their Bliss;
To shun the scrubbing of a Bearded Kiss;
And scape Abortion; but their solid joy
Is when the Page, already past a Boy,
Is Capon'd late; and to the Guelder shown
With his two Pounders to Perfection grown.
When all the Navel-string cou'd give, appears;
All but the Beard; and that's the Barber's loss, not theirs.
Seen from afar, and famous for his ware,
He struts into the Bath, among the Fair:
Th' admiring Crew to their Devotions fall;
And, kneeling, on their new Priapus call.
Kerv'd for his Lady's use, and with her lies;
And let him drudge for her, if thou art wise,
Rather than trust him with thy Fav'rite Boy;
He proffers Death in proffering to enjoy.
If Songs they love, the Singer's Voice they force
Beyond his Compass till his Quail-Pipe's hoarse;
His Lute and Lyre with their embrace is worn;
With Knots they trim it, and with Gems adorn:
Run over all the Strings, and Kiss the Case;
And make Love to it, in the Master's place.
A certain Lady once, of high Degree,
To Janus Vow'd, and Vesta's Deity,
That Pollio might, in Singing, win the Prize;
Pollio the Dear, the Darling of her Eyes:
She Pray'd, and Brib'd; what cou'd she more have done
For a Sick Husband, or an onely Son?
With her Face veil'd, and heaving up her hands,
The shameless Supplaint at the Altar stands;
The Forms of Pray'r she solemnly pursues;
And, pale with Fear, the offer'd Entrails views.
Answer, ye Pow'rs: For, if you heard her Vow,
Your Godships, sure, had little else to do.
This is not all; for Actors they implore:
An Impudence unknown to Heav'n before.
Th' Aruspex, tir'd with this Religious Rout,
Is forc'd to stand so long, he gets the Gout.
But suffer not thy Wife abroad to roam,
If she loves Singing, let her Sing at home;
Not strut in Streets, with Amazonian pace;
For that's to Cuckold thee, before thy Face.
Their endless Itch of News comes next in play;
They vent their own; and hear what others say.
Know what in Thrace, or what in France is done;
Th' Intrigues betwixt the Stepdam and the Son.
Tell who Loves who, what Favours some partake:
And who is Jilted for another's sake.
What pregnant Widow, in what month was made;
How oft she did, and doing, what she said.
She, first, beholds the raging Comet rise:
Knows whom it threatens, and what Lands destroys.
Still for the newest News she lies in wait;
And takes Reports, just ent'ring at the Gate.
Wrecks, Floods, and Fires; what-ever she can meet,
She spreads; and is the Fame of every Street.
This is a Grievance; but the next is worse;
A very Judgment, and her Neighbours Curse:
For, if their barking Dog disturb her ease,
No Pray'r can bind her, no Excuse appease.
Th' unmanner'd Malefactor is Arraign'd;
But first the Master, who the Curr Maintain'd,
Must feel the scourge: By Night she leaves her Bed;
By Night her Bathing Equipage is led,
That Marching Armies a less noise create;
She moves in Tumult, and she Sweats in State.
Mean while, her Guests their Appetites must keep;
Some gape for Hunger, and some gasp for Sleep.
At length she comes, all flush'd, but e're she sup,
Swallows a swinging Preparation-Cup;
And then, to clear her Stomach, spews it up.
The Deluge-Vomit all the Floor o'reflows,
And the sour savour nauseates every Nose.
She Drinks again; again she spews a Lake;
Her wretched Husband sees, and dares not speak:
But mutters many a Curse, againsthis Wife;
And Damns himself, for chusing such a Life.
But of all Plagues, the greatest is untold;
The Book-Learn'd Wife in Greek and Latin bold.
The Critick-Dame, who at her Table sits:
Homer and Virgil quotes, and weighs their Wits;
And pities Didoes Agonizing Fits.
She has so far th' ascendant of the Board,
The Prating Pedant puts not in one Word:
The Man of Law is Non-plust, in his Sute;
Nay every other Female Tongue is mute.
Hammers, and beating Anvils, you wou'd swear,
And Vulcan with his whole Militia there.
Tabours and Trumpets cease; for she alone
Is able to Redeem the lab'ring Moon.
Ev'n Wit's a burthen, when it talks too long:
But she, who has no Continence of Tongue,
Should walk in Breeches, and shou'd wear a Beard;
And mix among the Philosophick Herd.
O what a midnight Curse has he, whose side
Is pester'd with a Mood and Figure Bride!
Let mine, ye Gods, (if such must be my Fate)
No Logick Learn, nor History Translate;
But rather be a quiet, humble Fool:
I hate a Wife, to whom I go to School,
Who climbs the Grammar-Tree, distinctly knows
Where Noun, and Verb, and Participle grows
Corrects her Country Neighbour; and, a Bed,
For breaking Priscian's, breaks her Husband's Head.
The Gawdy Gossip, when she's set agog,
In Jewels drest, and at each Ear a Bob,
Goes flaunting out, and, in her trim of Pride,
Thinks all she says or does, is justifi'd.
When Poor, she's scarce a tollerable Evil;
But Rich, and Fine, a Wife's a very Devil.
She duely, once a Month, renews her Face;
Mean time, it lies in Dawb, and hid in Grease;
Those are the Husband's Nights; she craves her due,
He takes fat Kisses, and is stuck in Glue.
But, to the Lov'd Adult'rer when she steers,
Fresh from the Bath, in brightness she appears:
For him the Rich Arabia sweats her Gum;
And precious Oyls from distant Indies come:
How Haggardly so e're she looks at home.
Th' Eclipse then vanishes; and all her Face
Is open'd, and restor'd to ev'ry Grace,
The Crust remov'd, her Cheeks as smooth as Silk,
Are polish'd with a wash of Asses Milk;
And, shou'd she to the farthest North be sent,
A train of these attend her Banishment.
But, hadst thou seen her Plaistred up before,
'Twas so unlike a Face, it seem'd a Sore.
'Tis worth our while to know what all the day
They do, and how they pass their time away,
For, if o're-night the Husband has been slack,
Or counterfeited Sleep, and turn'd his Back,
Next day, be sure, the Servants go to wrack.
The Chamber-Maid and Dresser, are call'd Whores;
The Page is stript, and beaten out of Doors
The whole House suffers for the Master's Crime:
And he himself is warn'd to wake another time.
She hires Tormentors, by the Year; she Treats
Her Visitours, and talks; but still she beats,
Beats while she Paints her Face, surveys her Gown,
Casts up the days Account, and still beats on:
Tir'd out, at length, with an outrageous Tone,
She bids 'em, in the Devil's Name, begone.
Compar'd with such a Proud, Insulting Dame,
Sicilian Tyrants may renounce their Name.
For, if she hasts abroad to take the Ayr,
Or goes to Isis Church (the Bawdy-House of Pray'r)
She hurries all her Handmaids to the Task;
Her Head, alone, will twenty Dressers ask.
Psecas, the chief, with Breast and Shoulders bare,
Trembling, considers every Sacred Hair;
If any Stragler from his Rank be found,
A pinch must, for the Mortal Sin, compound.
Psecas is not in Fault: But, in the Glass,
The Dame's Offended at her own ill Face.
That Maid is Banish'd; and another Girl
More dextrous, manages the Comb, and Curl;
The rest are summon'd, on a point so nice;
And first, the Grave Old Woman gives Advice.
The next is call'd, and so the turn goes round,
As each for Age, or Wisdom, is Renown'd:
Such Counsel, such delib'rate care they take,
As if her Life and Honour lay at stake:
With Curls on Curls, they build her Head before
And mount it with a Formidable Tow'r.
A Gyantess she seems; but, look behind,
And then she dwindles to the Pigmy kind.
Duck-leg'd, short-wasted, such a Dwarf she is,
That she must rise on Tip-toes for a Kiss.
Mean while, her Husband's whole Estate is spent;
He may go bare, while she receives his Rent.
She minds him not; she lives not as a Wife,
But like a Bawling Neighbour, full of Strife:
Near him, in this alone, that she extends
Her Hate to all his Servants and his Friends.
Bellona's Priests, an Eunuch at their Head,
About the Streets a mad Procession lead;
The Venerable Guelding, large, and high,
O'relooks the Herd of his inferiour Fry.
His awkward Clergy-Men about him prance;
And beat the Timbrels to their Mystick Dance.
Guiltless of Testicles, they tear their Throats,
And squeak, in Treble, their Unmanly Notes.
Mean while, his Cheeks the Myter'd Prophet swells,
And Dire Presages of the Year foretels
Unless with Eggs (his Priestly hire) they hast
To Expiate, and avert th' Autumnal blast.
And add beside a murrey-colour'd Vest,
Which, in their places, may receive the Pest:
And, thrown into the Flood, their Crimes may bear,
To purge th' unlucky Omens of the Year.
Th' Astonisht Matrons pay, before the rest;
That Sex is still obnoxious to the Priest.
Through yce they beat, and plunge into the Stream,
If so the God has warn'd 'em in a Dream.
Weak in their Limbs, but in Devotion strong,
On their bare Hands and Feet they crawl along
A whole Fields length, the Laughter of the Throng.
Should Io (Io's Priest I mean) Command
A Pilgrimage to Meroe's burning Sand,
Through Desarts they wou'd seek the secret Spring;
And Holy Water, for Lustration, bring.
How can they pay their Priests too much respect,
Who Trade with Heav'n, and Earthly Gains neglect?
With him, Domestick Gods Discourse by Night;
By Day, attended by his Quire in white,
The Bald-pate Tribe runs madding through the Street,
And Smile to see with how much ease they Cheat.
The Ghostly Syre forgives the Wife's Delights,
Who Sins, through Frailty, on forbidden Nights;
And Tempts her Husband in the Holy Time,
When Carnal Pleasure is a Mortal Crime.
The Sweating Image shakes its Head; but he
With Mumbled Pray'rs Attones the Deity.
The Pious Priesthood the Fat Goose receive,
And they once Brib'd the Godhead must forgive.
No sooner these remove, but full of Fear,
A Gypsie Jewess whispers in your Ear,
And begs an Alms: An High-priest's Daughter she,
Vers'd in their Talmud, and Divinity;
And Prophesies beneath a shady Tree.
Her Goods a Basket, and old Hay her Bed,
She strouls, and, Telling Fortunes, gains her Bread:
Farthings and some small Monys, are her Fees;
Yet she Interprets all your Dreams for these.
Foretels th' Estate, when the Rich Unckle Dies,
And sees a Sweet-heart in the Sacrifice.
Such Toys, a Pidgeons Entrails can disclose:
Which yet th' Armenian Augur far outgoes:
In Dogs, a Victim more obscene, he rakes;
And Murder'd Infants, for Inspection, takes:
For Gain, his Impious Practice he pursues;
For Gain, will his Accomplices accuse.
More Credit, yet, is to Chaldeans giv'n;
What they foretell, is deem'd the Voice of Heav'n.
Their Answers, as from Hammon's Altar, come;
Since now the Delphian Oracles are dumb.
And Mankind, ignorant of future Fate,
Believes what fond Astrologers relate.
Of these the most in vogue is he, who sent
Beyond Seas, is return'd from Banishment,
His Art who to Aspiring Otho sold;
And sure Succession to the Crown foretold.
For his Esteem is in his Exile plac'd;
The more Believ'd, the more he was Disgrac'd.
No Astrologick Wizard Honour gains,
Who has not oft been Banisht, or in Chains.
He gets Renown, who, to the Halter near,
But narrowly escapes, and buys it dear.
From him your Wife enquires the Planets Will,
When the black Jaundies shall her Mother Kill:
Her Sister's and her Unckle's end, wou'd know:
But, first, consults his Art, when you shall go.
And, what's the greatest Gift that Heav'n can give,
If, after her, th' Adulterer shall live.
She neither knows nor cares to know the rest;
If Mars and Saturn shall the World infest;
Or Jove and Venus with their Friendly Rays,
Will interpose, and bring us better days.
Beware the Woman, too, and shun her Sight,
Who in these Studies does her self Delight.
By whom a greasie Almanack is born,
With often handling, like chaft Amber, worn:
Not now consulting, but consulted, she
Of the Twelve Houses, and their Lords, is free.
She, if the Scheme a fatal Journey show,
Stays safe at Home, but lets her Husband go.
If but a Mile she Travel out of Town,
The Planetary Hour must first be known,
And lucky moment; if her Eye but akes
Or itches, its Decumbiture she takes.
No Nourishment receives in her Disease,
But what the Stars and Ptolomy shall please.
The middle sort, who have not much to spare,
To Chiromancers cheaper Art repair,
Who clap the pretty Palm, to make the Lines more fair.
But the Rich Matron, who has more to give,
Her Answers from the Brachman will receive:
Skill'd in the Globe and Sphere, he Gravely stands,
And, with his Compass, measures Seas and Lands.
The Poorest of the Sex have still an Itch
To know their Fortunes, equal to the Rich.
The Dairy-Maid enquires, if she shall take
The trusty Taylor, and the Cook forsake.
Yet these, tho Poor, the Pain of Child-bed bear;
And, without Nurses, their own Infants rear:
You seldom hear of the Rich Mantle spread
For the Babe born in the great Lady's Bed.
Such is the Pow'r of Herbs; such Arts they use
To make them Barren, or their Fruit to lose.
But thou, whatever Slops she will have bought,
Be thankful, and supply the deadly Draught:
Help her to make Manslaughter; let her bleed,
And never want for Savin at her need.
For, if she holds till her nine Months be run,
Thou may'st be Father to an AEthiop's Son.
A Boy, who ready gotten to thy hands,
By Law is to Inherit all thy Lands:
One of that hue, that shou'd he cross the way,
His Omen wou'd discolour all the day.
I pass the Foundling by, a Race unknown,
At Doors expos'd, whom Matrons make their own:
And into Noble Families advance
A Nameless Issue, the blind work of Chance.
Indulgent Fortune does her Care employ,
And, smiling, broods upon the Naked Boy:
Her Garment spreads, and laps him in the Fold,
And covers, with her Wings, from nightly Cold:
Gives him her Blessing; puts him in a way;
Sets up the Farce, and laughs at her own Play.
Him she promotes; she favours him alone,
And makes Provision for him, as her own.
The craving Wife the force of Magick tries,
And Philters for th' unable Husband buys:
The Potion works not on the part design'd;
But turns his Brain, and stupifies his Mind.
The sotted Moon-Calf gapes, and staring on,
Sees his own Business by another done:
A long Oblivion, a benumning Frost,
Constrains his Head; and Yesterday is lost:
Some nimbler Juice would make him foam, and rave,
Like that Caesonia to her Caius gave:
Who, plucking from the Forehead of the Fole
His Mother's Love, infus'd it in the Bowl:
The boiling Blood ran hissing in his Veins,
Till the mad Vapour mounted to his Brains.
The Thund'rer was not half so much on Fire,
When Juno's Girdle kindled his Desire.
What Woman will not use the Poys'ning Trade,
When Caesar's Wife the Precedent has made?
Let Agrippina's Mushroom be forgot,
Giv'n to a Slav'ring, Old, unuseful Sot;
That only clos'd the driveling Dotard's Eyes,
And sent his Godhead downward to the Skies.
But this fierce Potion calls for Fire and Sword;
Nor spares the Commons, when it strikes the Lord:
So many Mischiefs were in one combin'd;
So much one single Poys'ner cost Mankind.
If Stepdames seek their Sons in Law to kill,
'Tis Venial Trespass; let them have their Will:
But let the Child, entrusted to the Care
Of his own Mother, of her Bread beware:
Beware the Food she reaches with her Hand;
The Morsel is intended for thy Land.
Thy Tutour be thy Taster, e're thou Eat;
There's Poyson in thy Drink, and in thy Meat.
You think this feign'd; the Satyr in a Rage
Struts in the Buskins of the Tragick Stage,
Forgets his Bus'ness is to Laugh and Bite;
And will, of Deaths, and dire Revenges Write.
Wou'd it were all a Fable, that you Read;
But Drymon's Wife pleads Guilty to the Deed.
I (she confesses,) in the Fact was caught;
Two Sons dispatching, at one deadly Draught.
What Two, Two Sons, thou Viper, in one day?
Yes, sev'n, she cries, if sev'n were in my way.
Medea's Legend is no more a Lye;
Our Age adds Credit to Antiquity.
Great Ills, we grant, in former times did Reign,
And Murthers then were done: but not for Gain.
Less Admiration to great Crimes is due,
Which they Through Wrath, or through Revenge pursue.
For, weak of Reason, impotent of Will,
The Sex is hurri'd headlong into Ill:
And, like a Cliff from its foundations torn,
By raging Earthquakes, into Seas is born.
But those are Fiends, who Crimes from thought begin,
And, cool in Mischief, meditate the Sin.
They Read th' Example of a Pious Wife,
Redeeming, with her own, her Husband's Life;
Yet, if the Laws did that Exchange afford,
Would save their Lapdog sooner than their Lord.
Where e're you walk, the Belides you meet;
And Clytemnestra's grow in ev'ry Street:
But here's the difference; Agamemnon's Wife
Was a gross Butcher, with a bloody Knife;
But Murther, now, is to perfection grown,
And subtle Poysons are employ'd alone:
Unless some Antidote prevents their Arts,
And lines with Balsom all the Noble parts:
In such a case, reserv'd for such a need,
Rather than fail, the Dagger does the Deed.





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