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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.

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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;
And could from Scripture take her eue,
That husbands should give wives their due.
Her prudence did so justly steer
Between the gay and the severe,
That if in some regards she chose
To curb poor Paulo in too close; 60
In others she relax'd again,
And govern'd with a looser rein.
Thus though she strictly did confine
The doctor from excess of wine;
With oysters, eggs, and vermicelli,
She let him almost burst his belly:
Thus drying coffee was denied;
But chocolate that loss supplied:
And for tobacco (who could bear it),
Filthy concomitant of claret ! 70
(Blest revolution () one might see
Eringo roots, and bohea tea.
She often set the doctor's band,
And strok'd his beard, and squeez'd his hand:
Kindly complain'd, that after noon
He went to pore on books too soon:
She held it wholesomer by much,
To rest a little on the couch:—
About his waist in bed a-nights
She clung so close—for fear of sprites. 80
The Doctor understood the call;
But had not always wherewithal.
The lion's skin too short, you know
(As Plutarch's Morals finely show),
Was lengthen’d by the fox's tail;
And art supplies, where strength may fail.

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.
One luckless night then, as in bed
The doctor and the dame were laid; 120
Again this cruel fever came,
High pulse, short breath, and blood in flame.
What measures shall poor Paulo keep
With madam in this piteous taking?
She, like Macbeth, has murder'd sleep,
And won't allow him rest through waking.
Sad state of matters! when we dare
Nor ask for peace, nor offer war;
Nor Livy nor Comines have shown,
What in this juncture may be done. 130
Grotius might own, that Paulo's case is
Harder than any which he places
Amongst his Belli and his Pacis.
He strove, alas! but strove in vain,
By dint of logic to maintain,
That all the sex was born to grieve,
Down to her ladyship from Eve.
He rang'd his tropes, and preach'd up patience;
Back'd his opinion with quotations,
Divines and moralists; and run ye on 140
Quite through from Seneca to Bunyan.*
As much in vain he bid her try
To fold her arms, to close her eye;
Telling her, rest would do her good,
If any thing in nature could :
So held the Greeks quite down from Galen,
Masters and princes of their calling:
So all our modern friends maintain
(Though no great Greeks) in Warwick-lane.

* John Bunyan, author of the Pilgrim's Progress.

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