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PAULO PURGANTI AND HIS WIFE:
AN HONEST, BUT A SIMPLE PAIR.
Est enim quiddam, iddue intelligitur in omni virtute, quod deceat: quod cogitatione magis a virtute potest quam re separari. - CIC. de Off. L. 2.
Šâ EYOND the fix’d and settled rules Of vice and virtue in the schools, Beyond the letter of the law, Whichkeeps our men and maids in awe, The better sort should set before 'em A grace, a manner, a decorum; Something, that gives their acts a light; Makes 'em not only just, but bright; And sets them in that open fame, Which witty malice cannot blame. 10 For ’tis in life, as 'tis in painting: Much may be right, yet much be wanting; From lines drawn true, our eye may trace A foot, a knee, a hand, a face: May justly own the picture wrought Exact to rule, exempt from fault: Yet, if the colouring be not there, The Titian stroke, the Guido air; To nicest judgment show the piece; At best 'twill only not displease: 20 It would not gain on Jersey's eye: Bradford would frown, and set it by.
Thus in the picture of our mind The action may be well design'd; Guided by law, and bound by duty; Yet want this Je ne scay quoy of beauty: And though its error may be such, As Knags and Burgess* cannot hit; It yet may feel the nicer touch Of Wycherley's or Congreve's wit. 30 What is this talk? replies a friend, And where will this dry moral end? The truth of what you here lay down By some example should be shown.— With all my heart, for once; read on. An honest, but a simple pair (And twenty other I forbear) May serve to make this thesis clear. A doctor of great skill and fame, Paulo Purganti was his name, 4C Had a good, comely, virtuous wife; No woman led a better life: She to intrigues was e'en hard-hearted: She chuckled when a bawd was carted; And thought the nation ne'er would thrive, Till all the whores were burnt alive. On married men, that dare be bad, She thought no mercy should be had ; They should be hang'd, or starv'd, or flead, Or serv'd like Romish priests in Swede. 50 In short, all lewdness she defied: And stiff was her parochial pride. Yet, in an honest way, the dame * Two divines. Knags was Lecturer of St. Giles in the Fields; Burgess, a Dissenter. WOL. I. K
Was a great lover of that same;
Unwilling then in arms to meet The enemy he could not beat; He strove to lengthen the campaign, And save his forces by chicane. 90 Fabius, the Roman chief, who thus By fair retreat grew Maximus, Shows us, that all the warrior can do With force inferior, is CUNCTANDo. One day then, as the foe drew near, With love, and joy, and life, and dear; Our don, who knew this tittletattle Did, sure as trumpet, call to battle: Thought it extremely dpropos, Toward against the coming blow: 100 To ward: but how? Ay, there's the question; Fierce the assault, unarm'd the bastion. The doctor feign'd a strange surprise: He felt her pulse; he view’d her eyes; That beat too fast; these roll'd too quick; She was, he said, or would be sick; He judg’d it absolutely good, That she should purge and cleanse her blood. Spa waters for that end were got: If they pass'd easily or not, 110 What matters it? the lady's fever Continued violent as ever. For a distemper of this kind, (Blackmore” and Hanst are of my mind,) If once it youthful blood infects, And chiefly of the female sex, Is scarce remov’d by pill or potion;
* Sir Richard Blackmore. * Sir Edward Hannes.
Whate'er might be our doctor's notion.
* John Bunyan, author of the Pilgrim's Progress.