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Guided by law, and bound by duty; 25
Yet want this Je ne sgai quoi 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, 40
Had a good, comely, virtuous wife;
No woman led a better life;
She to intrigues was even hard-hearted:
She chuckled when a bawd was carted;
And thought the nation ne'er would thrive,
Till all the whores were burned alive.
On married men, that dared be bad,
She thought no mercy should be had;
They should be hanged, or starved, or fleaed,
Or served 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
Was a great lover of that same;
And could from scripture take her cue,
That husbands should give wives their due.

1 Two divines. Knags was Lecturer of St Giles in the Fields; Burgess was a Dissenter.

Her prudence did so justly steer 57 Between the gay and the severe, That if in some regards she chose To curb poor Paulo in too close; In others she relaxed again, And governed 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 stroked his beard, and squeezed his hand: Kindly complained, 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 lengthened 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 91
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 tittle-tattle
Did, sure as trumpet, call to battle,
Thought it extremely d propos,
To ward against the coming blow; 100
To ward: but how? ay, there's the question;
Fierce the assault, unarmed the bastion.
The doctor feigned a strange surprise:
He felt her pulse, he viewed her eyes,
That beat too fast, these rolled too quick,
She was, he said, or would be sick;
He judged it absolutely good,
That she should purge and cleanse her blood.
Spa waters for that end were got;
If they passed easily or not, 110
What matters it; the lady's fever
Continued violent as ever.
For a distemper of this kind,
(Blackmore and Hans' are of my mind,)
If once it youthful blood infects,
And chiefly of the female sex,
Is scarce removed by pill or potion;
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.

* Sir Richard Blackmore and Sir Edward Hannes, the well-known physicians.

What measures shall poor Paulo keep 123
With madam in this piteous taking!
She, like Macbeth, has murdered sleep,
And won't allow him rest though waking.
Sad state of matters! when we dare
Nor ask for peace, nor offer war;
Nor Livy nor Commines 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 ranged his tropes, and preached up patience;
Backed 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, and close her eye;
Telling her, rest would do her good,
If anything 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.
Reduce, my Muse, the wandering song; 150
A tale should never be too long.
The more he talked, the more she burned,
And sighed, and tossed, and groaned, and turned;
At last, I wish, said she, my dear—
(And whispered something in his ear.)
You wish! wish on, the doctor cries:

Lord! when will womankind be wise! 157
What, in your waters, are you mad!
Why, poison is not half so bad.
I’ll do it—but I give you warning,
You'll die before to-morrow morning.—
'Tis kind, my dear, what you advise;
The lady with a sigh replies;
But life, you know, at best is pain;
And death is what we should disdain.
So do it, therefore, and adieu:
For I will die for love of you.
Let wanton wives by death be scared:
But, to my comfort, I’m prepared.

THE LADLE.

THE sceptics think, 'twas long ago,
Since gods came down incognito:
To see who were their friends or foes,
And how our actions fell or rose.
That since they gave things their beginning,
And set this whirligig a-spinning,
Supine they in their heaven remain,
Exempt from passion, and from pain;
And frankly leave us human elves,
To cut and shuffle for ourselves: 10
To stand or walk, to rise or tumble,
As matter, and as motion jumble.
The poets now, and painters hold
This thesis both absurd and bold;
And your good-natured gods, they say,
Descend some twice or thrice a-day;
Else all these things we toil so hard in,
Would not avail one single farthing.

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