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She kept her own, could plead the law,
And quarrel for a barley-straw :
Both, you may judge, became less kind,
As more we knew each other's mind :
She foon grew sullen ; I, hard-hearted;
We scolded, hated, fought, and parted.
To London, blessed town! I went;
She boarded at a farm in Kent.
A Magpye from the country fled,
And kindly told me she was dead :
I prun'd my feathers, cock'd
my And set my heart again to sale.
My fourth, a mere coquette, or fuch
I thought her; nor avails it much,
If true or false ; our troubles spring
More from the fancy than the thing.
Two staring horns, I often said,
But ill become a Sparrow's head;
But then, to set that balance even,
Your cuckold Sparrow goes to Heaven.
The thing you fear, suppose it done,
If you enquire, you make it known.
Whilst at the root your
horns are sore,
The more you scratch, they ache the more.
But turn the tables, and reflect,
All may not be, that you suspect :
By the mind's eye, the horns we mean
Are only in ideas seen ;
"Tis from the inside of the head
Their branches lhoot, their antlers fp
Fruitful suspicions often bear 'em,
You feel them from the time
Cuckoo ! Cuckoo ! that echoed word,
Offends the ear of vulgar bird ;
But those of finer taste have found,
'There 's nothing in 't beside the sound;
Preferment always waits on horns,
And houshold peace the gift adorns ;
This way, or that, let factions tend,
The spark is still the cuckold's friend;
This way, or that, let madam roam,
Well pleas'd and quiet she comes home.
Now weigh the pleasure with the pain,
The plus and minus, loss and gain,
And what La Fontaine laughing says,
Is serious truth, in such a case ;
“ Who flights the evil, finds it least ;
“ And who does nothing, does the best.”
I never strove to rule the roast,
She ne'er refus’d to pledge my toast :
In visits if we chanc'd to meet,
I seem'd obliging, the discreet ;
We neither much caress'd nor strove,
But good difíembling pass'd for love.
T. Whate'er of light our eye may know,
"Tis only light itself can show:
Whate'er of love our heart can feel,
'Tis mutual love alone can tell.
S. My pretty, amorous, foolish bird, A moment’s patience! in one word,
The Three kind Sisters broke the chain,
She dy’d, I mourn'd, and woo'd again. 345
7. Let me with juster grief deplore
My dear Columbo, now no more ;
Let me with constant tears bewail
S. Your forrow does but spoil my tale. My fifth, she prov'd a jealous wife,
35 Lord shield us all from such a life! 'Twas doubt, complaint, reply, chit-chat, "I was this, to-day; to-morrow, that. Sometimes, forsooth, upon the brook I kept a Miss ; an honest Rook
355 Told it a Snipe, who told a Steer, Who told it those who told it her.
One day a Linnet and a Lark
Had met me strolling in the dark ;
The next a Woodcock and an Owl,
Quick-lighted, grave, and sober fowl,
Would on their corporal oath alledge,
I kiss'd a Hen behind the hedge.
Well; madam Turtle, to be brief,
(Repeating but renews our grief)
365 As once she watch'd me from a rail, (Poor soul !) her footing chanc'd to fail, And down the fell, and broke her hip; 'The fever came, and then the pip: Death did the only cure apply;
30 She was at quiet, so was I.
T. Could Love unmoved these changes view?
His sorrows, as his joys, are true.
S. My dearest Dove, one wise inan says,
Alluding to our present case,
“ We 're here to-day, and gone to-morrow :"
Then what avails superfluous forrow!
Another, full as wise as he,
a marry'd man may
fee * Two happy hours ;” and which are they? 380 The first and last, perhaps you 'll say. sTis true, when blithe she goes to bed, And when the peaceably lies dead, “ Women 'twixt sheets are best, 'tis said, • Be they of holland, or of lead.”
Now, cur’d of Hymen's hopes and fears,
And sliding down the vale of years,
I hop'd to fix my future rest,
And took a Widow to my nest.
(Ah, Turtle ! had the been like thee,
Sober, yet gentle; wise, yet free !)
But she was peevish, noisy, bold,
A witch ingrafted on a scold.
Jove in Pandora's box confind
A hundred ills, to vex mankind :
To vex one bird, in her bandore,
He had at least a hundred more.
And, soon as Time that veil withdrew,
The plagues o'er all the parish flew;
Her stock of borrow'd tears grew dry, 400
And native tempests arm’d her eye ;
Black clouds around her forehead hung,
And thunder rattled on her tongue.
We, young or old, or Cock or Hen,
All liv'd in Æolus's den ;
The nearest her, the more accurst,
Ill far'd her friends, her husband worst.
But Jove amicft his anger spares,
Remarks our faults, but hears our prayers.
In short, lhe dy'd. Why then she's dead, 410
Quoth I, and once again I 'll wed.
Would heaven, this mourning year were past !
One may have better luck at last.
Matters at worft are sure to mend,
The Devil's Wife was but a fiend.
T. Thy Tale has rais'd a Turtle's spleen,
Uxorious inmate! bird obscene!
Darist thou defile these sacred groves,
These filent feats of faithful loves ?
Be gone, with flagging wings fit down
On some old pent-house near the town;
I'n brewers' stables peck thy grain,
Then wash it down with puddled rain;
And hear thy dirty offspring fquall
From bottles on a suburb-wall.
Where thou hast been, return again,
Vile Bird ! thou hast convers’d with Men ;
Notions like these from Men are given,
Those vileft creatures under Heaven.
To Cities and to Courts repair,
Flattery and Falsehood flourish there;
There all thy wretched arts employ,
Where riches triumph over joy ;