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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 sçay 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.
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,
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 dar'd be bad,
She thought no mercy should be had;
1 Two divines. Knags was Lecturer of St. Giles in the Field; Burgess, a Dissenter. VOL. I.
They should be hang'd, or starv'd or flead,
Or sery'd like Romish priests in Swede.
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.
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;
In others she relax'd again,
And govern’d with a looser rein.
Thus though she stricty did confine
The doctor froin 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 !
(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.
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 theiì, in arms to meet
The enemy he could not beat;
He strove to lengthen the campaign,
And save his forces by chicane.
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 à propos,
To ward against the coming blow :
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 rollid too quick ; She was, he said, or would be sick ; He judgd 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,
What matters it ? the lady's fever
Continued violent as ever.
For a distemper of this kind,
(Blackmore 1 and Hans 2 are of my mind,)
If once it youthful blood infects,
And chiefly of the female sex,
Is scarce remov'd 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 ;
Again this cruel fever came,
High pulse, short breath, and blood in flame.
What measures shall
With madam in this piteous taking ?
She, like Macbeth, has murder'd 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 Comines have shown,
What in this juncture may be done.
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.
1 Sir Richard Blackmore.
2 Sir Edward Hannes.
He rang'd his tropes, and preach'd up patience :
Back'd his opinion with quotations,
Divines and moralists; and run ye on
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 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.
Reduce, my Muse, the wandering song:
A tale should never be too long.
The more he talk’d, the more she burn’d,
And sigh’d, and toss'd, and groan'd, and turn’d:
At last, I wish, said she, my dear-
(And whisper'd something in his ear.)
You wish! wish on, the doctor cries :
Lord ! when will womankind be wise ?
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.
1 John Bunyan, author of the Pilgrim's Progress.