THE PLEASURES OF A SINGLE LIFE
Or, The Miseries of Matrimony
Occasionally Writ Upon the many DIVORCES lately Granted by Parliament.
WITH THE CHOICE, OR, THE Pleasures of a Country-LIFE.
Dedicated to the Beaus against the next Vacation.
London: Printed and Sold by H. Hills, in Black-fryars, near the Water-side. 1709. Price One Penny.
Wedlock, oh! Curs'd uncomfortable State, Cause of my Woes, and Object of my hate. How bless'd was I? Ah, once how happy me? When I from those uneasie Bonds were free; How calm my Joys? How peaceful was my Breast, Till with thy fatal Cares too soon opprest, The World seem'd Paradice, so bless'd the Soil Wherein I liv'd, that Business was no Toil; Life was a Comfort, which produc'd each day New Joys, that still preserv'd me from decay, Thus Heav'n first launch'd me into pacifick Seas, Where free from Storms I mov'd with gentle Breeze; My Sails proportion'd, and my Vessell tite, } Coasting in Pleasures-Bay I steer'd aright, } Pallac'd with true Content, and fraighted with delight }
Books my Companions were wherein I found Needful Advice, without a noisy Sound, But was with friendly pleasing silence taught, Wisdom's best Rules, to fructify my Thought, Rais'd up our Sage Fore-fathers from the dead, } And when I pleas'd, invok'd them to my Aid, } Who at my Study-Bar without a Fee would plead: } Whilst I Chief Justice sat, heard all their Sutes, And gave my Judgment on their learn'd Disputes; Strove to determine ev'ry Cause aright, And for my Pains found Profit and Delight, Free from Partiality; I fear'd no blame, Desir'd no Brib'ry, and deserv'd no Shame, But like an upright Judge, grudg'd no Expence Of time, to fathom Truth with Diligence, Reading by Day, Contemplating by Night, Till Conscience told me that I judg'd aright, Then to my Paper-World I'd have recourse, And by my Maps run o'er the Universe; Sail round the Globe, and touch at every Port, Survey those Shoars where Men untam'd resort, View the old Regions where the Persian Lord Taught Wooden Deities first to be Ador'd, Ensnar'd at last to Sacrifice his Life To the base Pride of an Adult'rous Wife, And where the Grecian Youth to Arms inur'd. } The hungry Soil with Persian Blood manur'd, } Where bold Busephilus brutal Conduct show'd, } The force of monstrous Elephants withstood, And with his Rider waded through a purple Flood.
Then would I next the Roman Field survey, Where brave Fabricius with his Army lay; Fam'd for his Valour, from Corruption free, Made up of Courage and Humility. That when Encamp'd the good Man lowly bent, Cook'd his own Cabbage in his homely Tent: And when the Samaites sent a Golden Sum, To tempt him to betray his Country Rome, The Dross he scoffingly return'd untold, } And answer'd with a Look serenely bold, } That Roman Sprouts would boil without their Grecian Gold: } Then eat his Cale-worts for his Meal design'd, And beat the Grecian Army when he'd din'd.
Thus wou'd I range the World from Pole to Pole; To encrease my Knowledge, and delight my Soul; Travel all Nations and inform my Sence; With ease and safety, at a small Expence: No Storms to plough, no Passengers Sums to pay, No Horse to hire, or Guide to show the way, No Alps to clime, no Desarts here to pass, No Ambuscades, no Thief to give me chase; No Bear to dread, or rav'nous Wolf to fight, No Flies to sting, no Rattle-Snakes to bite; No Floods to ford, no Hurricans to fear; No dreadful Thunder to surprize the Ear; No Winds to freeze, no Sun to scorch or fry, No Thirst, or Hunger, and Relief not nigh. All these Fatiegues and Mischiefs could I shun; } Rest when I pleas'd, and when I please Jog on, } And travel through both Indies in an Afternoon. }
When the Day thus far pleasingly was spent, And every Hour admin'stred Content, Then would I range the Fields, and flow'ry Meads, Where Nature her exub'rant Bounty spreads, In whose delightful Products does appear Inimitable Beauty ev'ry where; Contemplate on each Plant, and useful Weed, And how its Form first lay involved in Seed, How they're preserv'd by Providential Care, For what design'd, and what their Virtues are. Thus to my Mind by dint of Reason prove, That all below is ow'd to Heaven above, And that no Earthly Temporals can be, But what must Center in Eternity. Then gaze aloft, whence all things had their Birth, And mount my prying Soul 'twixt Heaven and Earth, Thus the sweet Harmonv o' th' whole admire, } And by due Search new Learning still aquire, } So nearer ev'ry day to Truths Divine aspire. }
When tir'd with thought, then from my Pocket pluck Some friendly dear Companion of a Book, Whose homely Calves-skin fences did contain The Verbal Treasure of some Old good Man: Made by long study and experience wise, Whose piercing thoughts to Heavenly knowledge rise, Amongst whose Pious Reliques I would find, Rules for my Life, Rich Banquets for my mind, Such pleasing Nectar, such Eternal Food, That well digested, makes a Man a God; And for his use at the same time prepares On Earth a Heav'n in spight of worldly Cares, The day in these Enjoyments would I spend, But chuse at Night my Bottle and my Friend, Took prudent care that neither were abus'd, But with due Moderation both I us'd. And in one sober Pint found more delight, Then the insatiate Sot that swills all Night; Ne'er drown my Senses, or my Soul debase. Or drink beyond the relish of my blass For in Excess good Heav'ns design is Crost, In all Extreams the true Enjoyments lost, Wine chears the Heart, and elevates the Soul, But if we surfeit with too large a Bowl, Wanting true Aim we th' happy Mark o'er Shoot, And change the Heavenly Image to a Brute. So the great Grecian who the World subdu'd, And drown'd whole Nations in a Sea of Blood; At last was Conquer'd by the Power of Wine, And dy'd a Drunken Victime to the Vine. My Friend, and I, when o'er our Bottle sat, Mix'd with each Glass some inoffensive Chat, Talk'd of the World's Affairs, but still kept free From Passion, Zeal, or Partiality; With honest freedom did our thoughts dispense, And judg'd of all things with indifference; Till time at last did our Delights invade, And in due season separation made, Then without Envy, Discord or Deceit, Part like true Friends as loving as we meet. The Tavern change to a domestick scene, That sweet Retirement, tho it's ne'er so mean. Thus leave each other in a Cheerful Plight, T' enjoy the silent Pleasures of the Night, When home return'd, my Thanks to Heaven pay, For all the past kind Blessing of the Day; No haughty Help-mate to my Peace molest, No treacherous Snake to harbour in my Breast: No fawning Mistress of the Female Art, With Judas Kisses to betray my Heart; No light-tail'd Hypocrite to raise my Fears, No vile Impert'nence to torment my Ears; No molted Off spring to disturb my Thought, In Wedlock born but G——d knows where begot; No lustful Massalina to require Whole Troops of Men to feed her Brutal Fire? No Family Cares my quiet to disturb; No Head-strong Humours to asswage or Curb No Jaring Servants, no Domestick strife, } No Jilt, no Termagent, no Faithless Wife, } With Vinegar or Gall, to sowre or bitter Life. }
Thus freed from all that could my Mind annoy, Alone my self, I did my self enjoy: When Nature call'd, I laid me down to rest, With a sound Body, and a peaceful Breast; Hours of Repose with Constancy I kept, And Guardian Angels watch'd me as I slept, In lively Dreams reviving as I lay, The Pleasures of the last precedent day, Thus whilst I singly liv'd, did I possess } By Day and Night incessant Happiness, } Content enjoy'd awak'd, and sleeping found no less. }
But the Curs'd Fiend from Hell's dire Regions sent, Ranging the World to Man's Destruction bent, Who with an Envious Pride beholding me, Advanc'd by Virtue to Felicity, Resolv'd his own Eternal wretched state, Should be in part reveng'd by my sad Fate; And to at once my happy Life betray Flung Woman, Fathless Woman in my way: Beauty she had, a seeming Modest Mein, } All Charms without, but Devil all within, } Which did not yet appear, but lurk'd, alas unseen. } A fair Complexion far exceeding Paint, Black sleepy Eyes that would have Charm'd a Saint; Her Lips so soft and sweet, that ev'ry Kiss, Seem'd a short Tast of the Eternal Bliss; Her set of Teeth so Regular and White, They'd show their Lustre in the darkest Night; Round her Seraphick Face so fair and young, Her Sable Hair in careless Dresses hung, Which added to her beauteous Features, show'd Like some fair Angel peeping through a Cloud? Her Breasts, her Hands, and every Charm so bright, She seem'd a Sun by Day, a Moon by Night; Her shape so ravishing, that every Part, Proportion'd was to the nicest Rules of Art: So awful was her Carriage when she mov'd, None could behold her, but he fear'd and lov'd, She danc'd well, sung well, finely plaid the Lute, Was always witty in her Words, or Mute; Obliging, not reserv'd, nor yet too free, But as a Maid divinely bless'd should be; Not vainly gay, but decent in Attire, } She seem'd so good, she could no more acquire } Of Heaven, than what she had, & Man no more desire: } Fortune, like God and Nature too was kind, And to these Gifts a copious Sum had joyn'd Who could the power of such Temptations shun; What frozen Synick from her Charms could run: What Cloister'd Monk could see a Face so bright, } But quit his Beads and follow Beauty's Light, } And by Its Lustre hope to shun Eternal Night. } I so bewitch'd, and poyson'd with her Charms, Believ'd the utmost Heaven was in her Arms, Methoughts the Goodness, in her Eyes I see, Spoke her the Off-spring of some Deity. Now Books and Walks, would no content afford, She was the only Good to be Ador'd. In her fair Looks alone delight I found, Love's raging Storms all other Joys had drown'd. By Beauty's Ignis fatuus led astray, Bound for Content, I lost my happy way Of Reason's faithful Pilot now bereft, Was amongst Rocks and Shelves in danger left, There must have perish'd, as I fondly thought, Lest her kind Usage my Salvation wrought; Her happy Aid I labour'd to obtain, Hop'd for Success, yet fear'd her sad Disdain, Tortur'd like dying Convicts whilst they live, 'Twixt fear of Death, and hopes of a Reprieve. First for her smallest Favours did I sue, Crept, Fawn'd and Cring'd, as Lovers us'd to do? Sigh'd e'er I spoke, and when I spoke look'd Pale, In words confus'd disclos'd my mournful Tale? Unpractised and Amour's fine Speeches coin'd, But could not utter what I well design'd. Warm'd by her Charms 'gainst Bashfulness I strove, And trembling far, and stammer'd out my Love; Told her how greatly I admir'd and fear'd, Which she 'twixt Coyness and Compassion heard, Grutch'd no Expence of Money, or of Time, And thought that not to adore her was a Crime; The more each Visit I acquainted grew, Yet every time found something in her new. Who was above her Sex so fortunate, She had a Charm for Man in every State; Beauty for the Youthful, Prudence for the Old, Scripture for the Godly, for the Miser Gold; Wit for the Ingenious, silence for the Grave, Flatt'ry for the Fool, and Cunning for the Knave: Compounded thus of such Varieties, } She had a knack to every Temper please, } And as her self thought fit was every one of these. } I lov'd, I sigh'd and vow'd, talk'd, whin'd, and pray'd, And at her Feet my panting Heart I lay'd; She smil'd, then frown'd, was now reserv'd, then free, And as she plaid her part, oft chang'd her Key; Not through Fantastick Humour but Design, To try me throughly e'er she should be mine, Because she wanted in one Man to have, A Husband, Lover, Cuckold and a Slave. So Travellers, before a Horse they buy, His Speed, his Paces, and his Temper try, Whether he'll answer Whip and Spur, thence Judge, If the poor Beast will prove a patient Drudge: When she by wiles had heightned my Desire, And fain'd Love's sparkles to a raging Fire; Made now for Wedlock, or for Bedlam fit. Thus Passion gain'd the upper-hand of Wit, The Dame by pity, or by Interest mov'd, Or else by Lust, pretended now she lov'd; After long-sufferings, her Consent I got. } To make me happy, as I hop'd and thought, } But oh, the wretched hour I ty'd the Gordian Knot. }
Thus thro' mistake I rashly plung'd my Life Into that Gulph of Miseries a Wife. With joyful Arms I thus embrac'd my Fare, Believ'd too soon, was undeceiv'd too late; So hair-brain'd Fools to Indian Climates rove, With a vain hope their Fortunes to improve; There spend their slender Cargoes, then become Worse Slaves abroad than e'er they were at home When a few Weeks were wasted I compar'd, With all due moderation and regard, My former freedom, with my new restraint, Judging which State afforded most content. But found a single Life as calm and gay, As the delightful Month of blooming May, Not chill'd with Cold, or scorch'd with too much heat. } Not plagu'd with flying Dust, nor drown'd with wet, } But pleasing to the Eyes, and to the Nostrils sweet. }
But Wedlock's like the blustring Month of March, That does the Body's Maims and Bruises search, Brings by cold nipping Storms unwelcom Pains, And finds, or breeds, Distempers in our Veins; Renews old Sores, and hastens on Decay, And seldom does afford one pleasant Day. But Clouds dissolve, or raging Tempest blow, And untile Houses, like the wrangling Shrow; Thus March and Marriage justly may be said, } To be alike, then sure the Man is Mad, } That loves such changling Weather where the best is bad. }
Though I once happy in a single Life, Yet Shipwrack'd all upon that Rock a Wife. By Gold and Beauties Powerful Charms betray'd, To the dull drugery of a Marriage-Bed; That Paradise for Fools, a Sport for Boys, Tiresom its Chains, and brutal are its Joys, Thou nauseous Priestcraft that to soon appear'd, Not as I hop'd, but worse than what I fear'd. All her soft Charms which I believ'd divine, Marriage I thought had made them only mine; Vain hope, alas for I too early found, My Brows were with the Throne of Wedlock crown'd, Jealousies, first from Reason rais'd a doubt, And Fatal Chance th' unhappy Truth brought out; Made it so plain from all Pretences free'd. That wicked Woman no Excuse could plead; And if she wants device to hide her Shame, Hell can no Umbrage for Audult'ry frame.
I though it prudence the Disgrace to hide, Tho' rav'd and Storm'd, she Pardon beg'd and Cry'd. Yet with false Protestations strove to Charm: The Cuckold to believe she'd done no harm, Tho' taken by surprize (O curse the Day) Where all the Marks of past Enjoyment lay, And she disorder'd by her lustful freeks Had Shame and Horrour strugling in her Cheeks: Yet, made Essays to clear her Innocence, And hide her guilt with Lyes and Impudence; For lustful Women like a vicious State, Oft stifle Ills by others full as great, But I convinc'd too plainly of her Guilt, All her false Oaths and quick inventions spoilt, Which when she'd used in vain she blush'd and cry'd, And own'd her fault she found she could not hide.
This I forgave, she promis'd to reclaim, Vow'd future truth if I'd conceal the shame; But what Strange Adamantine Chain can bind, Woman corrupted to be just or kind: Or how can Man to an adultress shew That Love, which to a faithful Wife is due. I strugled hard, and all my Passions chekt, And chang'd Revenge into a mild Respect, That Good for Ill return'd might touch hear near, And Gratitude might bind her more tan fear; My former Love I every day renew'd; And all the Signals of Oblivion shew'd; Wink'd at small Faults, wou'd no such Trifles mind, As accidental Failings not designed. I all things to her Temper easie made, Scorn'd to reflect, and hated to upbraid; She chose (and rich it was) her own Attire, Nay, had what a proud Woman could desire.
Thus the new Covenant I strictly kept, And oft in private for her Failings wept, Yet bore with seeming Cheerfulness those Cares, That bring a Man too soon to grisled Hairs.
But all this kindness I dispens'd in vain. Where Lust and base Ingratitude remain. Lust, which if once in Female fancy fix'd, Burns like Salt Petre, with driy Touchwood mix'd: And tho' cold Fear for time may stop its force, } Twill soon like Fire confin'd, break out the worse, } Or like a Tide obstucted, re-assume its course. }
No Art cou'd e'e presume the stinking Stote, Or change the lecherous Nature of the Goat. No skilful Whitster ever found the flight, To wash or bleach an Ethiopian White. No gentle Usage truly will Asswage, A Tyger's fierceness, or a Lyon's rage, Stripes and severe Correction is the way, Whence once they're thro'ly Conquer'd, they'll obey, 'Tis Whip and Spur, Commanding Reign and Bit, That makes the unruly head-strong Horse submit, So stubborn faithless Woman must be us'd, Or Man by Woman basely be abus'd.
For after all the Endearments I should show, At last she turn'd both Libertine and Shrow, From my Submission grew perverse and proud, Crabbed as Varges, and as Thunder loud; Did what she pleas'd, would no Obedience own, And redicul'd the Patience I had shown. Fear'd no sharp threatnings, valued no disgrace, But flung the wrongs she'd done me in my Face; Grew still more head strong, turbulent and Lewd, Filling my Mansion with a spurious brood. Thus Brutal Lust her humane Reason drown'd, And her loose Tail obliged the Country round; Advice, Reproof, Pray'rs, Tears, were flung away, For still she grew mord wicked ev'ry day; Till By her equals scorn'd, my Servants fed, The Brutal Rage of her adultrous bed. Nay, in my absence trucled to my Groom, And hug'd the servile Traytor in my Room; When these strange Tydings, Thunder struck my Ear, And such Inhumane Wrongs were made appear, On these just Grounds for a Divorce I su'd, } At last that head-strong Tyrant wife subdu'd, } Cancel'd the marriage-bonds, and basterdiz'd her brood. }
Woman, thou worst of all Church-plagues, farewel; Bad at the best, but at the worst a Hell; Thou truss of wormwood, bitter Teaz of Life, Thou Nursery of humane cares a wife. Thou Apple-Eating Trayt'riss who began The Wrath of Heav'n, and Miseries of Man, And hast with never-failing diligence, Improv'd the Curse to humane Race e'er since. Farewel Church-juggle that enslav'd my Life, But bless that Pow'r that rid me of my Wife. And now the Laws once more have set me free, If Woman can again prevail with me, My Flesh and Bones shall make my Wedding-Feast, } And none shall be Invited as my Guest, } T' attend my Bride, but th' Devil and a Priest. }
THE CHOICE, OR, THE Pleasures of a Country—LIFE, &c.
If Heav'n the grateful Liberty wou'd give, That I might chuse my Method how to live And all those Hours propitious Fate shou'd lend, In blisful Ease and Satisfaction spend.
Near some fair Town I'd have a private Seat, Built Uniform, not little, nor to great: Better if on a rising Ground it stood, Fields on this side, on that a Neighb'ring Wood. It shou'd within no other things contain, But what are Useful, Necessary Plain: Methinks 'tis Nauseous, and I'd ne'er endure The needless pomp of gawdy Furniture: A little Garden, gratefule to the Eye, And a cool Rilvulet run Murmuring by: On whose delicious Banks a stately Row, Of shady Limes, or Sicamores, shou'd grow. At th' end of which a silent Study plac'd, Shou'd with the Noblest Authors there be grac'd. Horace and Virgil, in whose mighty Lines, Immortal Wit, and solid Learning Shines.
Sharp Juvenal, and am'rous Ovid too, Who all the turns of Loves soft passion knew: He, that with Judgment reads his Charming Lines, In which strong Art, with stronger Nature joyns, Must grant, his Fancy does the best excell: His Thoughts so tender, and exprest so well; With all those Moderns, Men of steady Sense, Esteem'd for Learning, and for Eloquence: In some of these, as Fancy shou'd advise, I'd always take my Morning Exercise. For sure, no Minutes bring us more Content, Than those in pleasing useful Studies Spent.
I'd have a clear and competent Estate, That I might live Genteely, but not Great. As much as I cou'd moderately spend, A little more somtimes t'oblige a Friend. Nor shou'd the Sons of Poverty Repine Too much at Fortune, they shou'd taste of mine, And all that Objects of true Pity were, Shou'd be reliev'd with what my Wants cou'd spare; For what our Maker has too largely giv'n, Shou'd be return'd in gratitude to Heav'n. A frugal Plenty shou'd my Table spread, With healthful, not luxurious Dishes fed: Enough to satisfy, and something more To feed the Stranger, and th' Neighb'ring Poor. Strong Meat indulges Vice, and pampering Food Creates Diseases, and inflames the Blood. But what's sufficient to make Nature Strong, And the bright Lamp of Life continue long, I'd freely take, and as I did possess. The bounteous Author of my Plenty bless.
I'd have a little Cellar, Cool and Neat, With Humming Ale, and Virgin Wine Repleat. Wine whets the Wit, improves its Native Force, And gives a pleasant Flavour to Discourse, By making all our Spirits Deboniar, Throws of the Lees, the Sedement of Care. But as the greatest Blessing Heaven lends May be debauch'd, and serve ignoble Ends; So, but too oft, the Grapes refreshing Juice, Does many mischievous Effects produce, My House, shou'd no such rude Disorders know, As from high Drinking consequently flow, Nor wou'd I use what was so kindly giv'n, To the Dishonour of Indulgent Heav'n. If any Neighbour came he shou'd be free, } Us'd with Respect, and not uneasy be, } In my Retreat, or to himself or me. } What Freedom, Prudence, and Right Reason give, All Men may with impunity receive; But the least swerving from their Rules too much, For what's forbiden us, 'tis Death to touch. That Life might be more comfortable yet, And all my Joys refin'd, sincere and great, I'd chuse too Friends, whose Company wou'd be A great Advance to my Felicity. Well born, of Humours suited to my own Discreet and Men as well as Books have known. Brave, Gen'rous, Witty, and exactly free From loose Behaviour, or Formality. Airy and Prudent, Merry, but not Light, Quick in discerning, and in Judging, Right; Secret they shou'd, be faithful to their Trust, In Reasoning Cool, Strong, Temperate and just. Obliging, Open, without Huffing, Brave; Brisk in gay talking, and in sober Grave. Close in dispute, but not tenacious, try'd By solid Reason, and let that decide; Not prone to Lust, Revenge, or envious Hate; Nor busy Medlers with Intrigues of State. Strangers to Slander, and sworn Foes to spight, Not Quarrelsom, but Stout enough to Fight: Loyal and Pious, Friends to Caesar true As dying Martyrs to their Maker too. In their Society I cou'd not miss, A permanent, sincere, substaintial Bliss.
Wou'd bounteous Heaven once more indulge, I'd chuse, (For, who wou'd so much satisfaction lose, As Witty Nymphs in Conversation give) Near some obliging modest-fair to live; For there's that sweetness in a female Mind, Which in a Man's we cannot find; That by a secret, but a pow'rful Art, } Winds up the Spring of Life, and do's impart } Fresh Vital Heat to the transported Heart, } I'd have her Reason, and her Passions sway, Easy in Company, in private Gay. Coy to a Fop, to the deserving free, Still Constant to her self, and Just to me. A soul she shou'd have for great Actions fit, Prudence, and Wisdom to direct her Wit. Courage to look bold danger in the Face, No Fear, but only to be Proud, or Base: Quick to advise by an Emergence prest, To give good Counsel, or to take the best. I'd have th' Expression of her Thoughts be such, She might not seem Reserv'd, nor talk too much; That shows a want of Judgment, and of Sense; More than enough is but Impertinence. Her Conduct Regular, her Mirth refind, Civil to Strangers, to her Neighbours kind. Averse to Vanity, Revenge and Pride; In all the Methods of Deceit untry'd: So faithful to her Friend, and good to all, No Censure might upon her Actions fall Then wou'd even Envy be compell'd to say, She goes the least of Woman kind astray.
To this fair Creature I'd sometimes retire, Her Conversation wou'd new Joys inspire. Give Life and Edge so keen, no surly Care } Wou'd venture to assault my Soul, or dare } Near my Retreat to hide one secret Snare. } But so Divine, so Noble a Repast. I'd seldom, and with Moderation caste. For highest Cordials all their Virtue lose, By a too freequent, and to bold an use; And what would cheer the Spirits in distress; Ruins our Health when taken to Excess.
I'd be concern'd in no litigious Jarr, Belov'd by, all not vainly popular: Whate'er Assistance I had power to bring T'oblige my Country, or to serve my King, Whene'er they call'd, I'd readily afford, My Tongue, My Pen, my Counsel, or my Sword. Law-suit I'd shun with as much Studious Care; As I wou'd Dens where hungry Lyons are; An rather put up injuries than be A Plague to him, who'd be a plague to me. I value Quiet at a Price too great, To give for my Revenge so dear a Rate: For what do we by all our bustle gain, But counterfeit Delight for real Pain.
If Heav'n a date of many years wou'd give, Thus I'd in Pleasure, Ease and Plenty live. And as I near approach'd the Verge of Life, Some kind Relation (for I'd have no Wife) Should take upon him all my Worldly Care, While I did for a better State prepare. Then I'd not be with any trouble vext. Nor have the Evening of my Days perplext. But by a silent, and a peaceful Death, Without a Sigh, Resign my Aged Breath: And when committed to the Dust, I'd have Few Tears, but Friendly drop'd into my Grave. Then wou'd my Exit so propitious be, All Men wou'd wish to live and dye like me.
AN ANSWER TO THE PLEASURES OF A SINGLE LIFE: OR, THE COMFORTS OF MARRIAGE Confirm'd and Vindicated: With the Misery of Lying alone, prov'd and asserted.
LONDON, Printed for M. Goodwin, near Fleet Street, 1701.
AN ANSWER To the Pleasure of a Single LIFE, &c.
When from Dark nothing Heaven the World did make And all was Glorious it did undertake; Then were in Eden's Garden freely plac'd, Each thing that's pleasant to the Sight and Tast; 'Twas fill'd with Beasts and Birds, Trees hung with Fruite That might with Man's Cealestal Humour suite. The World being made, both spacious and compleat, Then Man was form'd most Nobly and Great; When Heaven survey'd the Works that it had done, Saw Male and Female, but found Man alone, A baren Sex, and Insignificant, } Then God made Woman to supply the want, } And to make perfect which before was scant. } The Word no sooner spoke, but it was done; 'Cause 'twas not fit for Man to be alone; It was not in his power without a Wife, To reap the happy Fruites of human Life; Nay, more than this, Mankind long since had ceas'd, And now had been surviv'd by senceless Beast, He'd Slept and Wasted in obscurity, And Darkly perish'd in his Infancy. If Heaven, had not sent so blest a Creature, To be the Treasure house of human Nature; So the alwise Creator thought it best, That Man and Wife together might be blest: Appointed then immortal Bonds to tye, Two Hearts in one, with equal Amity; And so he than by his alwise Direction, Both Souls united with the like affection; So very sweetly and with such delight, The swiftest Winged Minutes take their flight, And thus Gods Love to Mankind did dispence, The sacred Wedlock, which did then commence: Not founded as some Criticks say, by chance; But Heaven it self, did this blest State advance. Not subject to the various Revolutions, Of fickle fading human Institutions. A Married Life was first contriv'd above, To be an Emblem of Eternal Love; And after by Divine indulgence sent, To be the Crown of Man, and Wife's content; Yet black Mouthed Envy Strives with all its might; To blast the Credit of that sacred Rite. The hard Mouth fops, a single Life applau'd, And hates a Woman, that woun't be a Baw'd: Nothing he values like a single Life, For tho he loves a Whore, he hates a Wife, Calls the poor Husband, Monkey, Ass or Dog, And Laughs because he wears the Wedlock Clogg, Yet freely they'l or'e tops of Houses Strolling, And venture Bones each Night a Caterwouling Expose himself to Falls, or Guns or Traps, } And twenty other unforeseen Mishaps, } All in his hot persuite of Whores and Claps. }
Thus single Sots, who Wedlock vainly slight, Are Slaves to Lust both Morning, Noon and Night Ruin their Health, their Honour and Estate, And buy Repentance at a curssed rate: While lawful Weded Couples spend their times, In happy charming Pleasures without Crimes, What greater Bliss, or Comfort in this Life, Can Man desire, but with a vertuous Wife: I'le with a Wife in lawful Wedlock sport, While you in Woods with Beastes of Prey resort: Your bawdy Books, your silent Consort be, While happy Man and Wife in Love agree, And both unite in mutual Harmonie. Sodom for Sins like thine, by Fire was burn'd, And from a City to a Lake was turn'd; They Wedlock scornd, and Lust they made a Feast, And far out did the senceless Savage Beast, Even so, the shamless loathsom single Elff, Worse than the Beast makes Sodom of himself; And then to lessen those his hateful Crimes, He Rails at Wedlock in confused Rhimes, Calls Woman Faithless, 'cause she woun't consent, To humour what his Brutish Thoughts invent; No wonder then, if with his poisonous Breath, He strives to Blacken the Brightest thing on Earth: Woman! by Heaven her very Name's a charm, And will my Verse against all Criticks Arm; She Comforts Man in all his Sweats and Toils, And richly pays his Pains, with Love and Smiles. 'Tis Woman makes the ravish'd Poet write; 'Tis lovly Woman makes the Souldier Fight: Should that soft Sex refuse the World to bless, 'Twould soon be turn'd into a Wilderness.
A cursed Crow'd without all civil Rules, A Herd of Drinking, Cheating, Fighting Fools; Confusion, Madness would or'e spread the Stage, And Man would be Destroy'd in one short Age; Here Man must own, tho scarce without a Blush, They rather do excel than Equal us; As useful and more nimble are their Powers, Their Judgments sharp, and sooner ripe than ours: Yet foul Mouth'd Scribler, makes a publick Scorn, On whom our great Redeemer he was Born; But Sir! the Bays, they are so much their due; They'l wear, inspite of impudence and you; You are so hateful cruel and unjust, To Load that Sex, with ugly brand of Lust: _Those whome deserved Slights and losses vex, Invent new Sins, and throw 'em on that Sex; Whose thrifty wickedness the Sex forsakes, He on these beauteous Fields a_ Sodom _makes: He ne're assaults but where the Walls are slight, True Bullies will with none but Cowards fight. A vertuous Woman values fame too high, } To let such Beastly Slaves her Walls come nigh, } And that's the cause, he's now her Enemy: } When the White flag you see by them hung out. You then are wonderous daring bold and stout, When once you but discover those within, By their faint fire, have a low magazine. A slender stock of Chastity in store, } Your Oathes and Curses then like Cannon roar } You Devil like; cry out a Whore, a Whore; } But if a vertuous Wife you tempt in vain, Who doth resist you with deserv'd disdain: And forc'd to leave her with dispair and shame, } Your Poisonous Tongue at least will blast her Fame, } If her you can't; you'l ruin her good Name. }
Is this the single Life you boast so much, Are these the Charmes, that does your Fancy tutch, Are these the Blessings which you have enjoy'd, Are these the arts your lustful thoughts imploy'd; 'Tis plain your roving fancy is far worse, Than that Blest state which you esteem a Curse; You make it so by your insatiate mind, Unbounded lust can never be confin'd. It is a Riddle which I can't unfould That any Man, can such base notions hold, Disgrace all order, Marriage Bed defy And gives Mankind and God himself the lye, It is a shame, that any Man of Sense, Should have so damn'd a_ stock _of Impudence; Controul his Maker; and with his Laws dispence. Blasphemeous wretch, the scorn of human race, The very spawn of what is vile and base: Who with your cursed pen, you're not afraid To cross the end for which Mankind was made; Alas! what could poor helpless Man have done If he had been to live on Earth alone,_ He'd been the worst of all God's vast Creation, And sunk below the sence of procreation: He'd muddl'd out his Days in private fear, And when in sorrow none with him to share: The Birds and Beasts each other chose his Mate, And are above the stint of single Fate; The whole Creation, hate's a single Life, And shall not Man enjoy a loving Wife? Sure this Wife Hater, lately came from Hell To teach poor single Mortals to rebel, Against the sacred Laws of God and Man From whence the state of Wedlock first began, To make our Minds diviner charmes to suite, Which makes the differance 'twixt a Man and Bruite; But this blasphemous Scribler tramples down, These antient Fences; of such great renown, And Lanshes forth among the Shelves and Rocks And plead's for plagues of single Life and Pox: He Courts in Print, all others to be Lewd, Condemns a Wife and swears he will be rude: He talks of Roving from each Pole, to Pole, And with fresh lustful pleasures drown his Soul: He calls that ease, which Christians counts a Sin, And walks the Road which Thives and Rogues go in: He plainly tells how he does spend his time His lazey progress, shewes what is his Crime His baudy Books, with Calves skin fenced round, A proof enough, wherein his faults abound. He talks of moderation or'e a Glass } But mentions none of that when with his Lass, } He's Knave in Grain; a Blockhead and an Ass. } Because a Cuckold's Life was his hard fate, Must Wedlock be abused at this rate? Because he had a strumpit for his Wife, He now commends a mopish single Life. Let him content himself to live a Drone, In some dark Corner of the World alone; And trouble not his Brains with our blest State, Which now is far above his wretched fate; He talks of prayers a little while before, And then he curss'd his Wife and call'd her whore. Oh! meddley of confusion, never worse, Must pray, then swear, give thanks to God and curse. The Wife he lost, has faults as black as Hell. } He sets her off, with a most dismal smell, } But not one silible of his own he'l tell. }
He owns his Cuckoldom, and which is worse; How then the Cuckold su'd out his Divorce: No doubts, the Wife, that he has Abdicated, (Had he been good,) her ills had been abated: But Women when provok'd, without a Cause, They like enraged subjects, breaks the Lawes: His Whip and Spur, was too unkindly us'd; The weaker Vessel must not be abus'd. If he too strictly held her by the reins, He must accept the Cuckold for his pains.
Farewel, thou scandal of a married Life, Thou single Fop, grand Hater of a Wife; Thou Plague to Churches, and to Women too, 'Tis time for either, to have done with you: No more attempt, Heavens Laws for to confute, No more advise Mankind, to be a Bruite; But spend they Days in some dark, lonesome Cave, And to thy bruitish Lust be still a Slave. Go sneak in some vile Corner of the Earth, With Pox and Plagues, resign thy poisonous Breath, And may the worst of Torturs be thy Death.
THE Ladies Choice: A POEM.
Printed, and Sold by J. How, and B. Bragg, at the Blew-Ball in Avemary-Lane, next Ludgate-Street, 1702.
THE LADIES CHOICE.
Prithee, Belinda (for thou know'st I'm Young, Unskill'd in Arts that to our Sex belong) Thy wiser Counsels to my Youth impart; Teach me at once to Love, and Guard my Heart; That I have Wit, can Sing and Dance you know, And the Men tell me I am Pretty too; I now have Fifteen pleasing Summers seen, And have been Courted by twice Fifteen Men; Still fresh Pretenders do my Peace Invade, They Write, they Visit, Sigh and Serenade, And try allways to Catch a Harmless Maid.
Then since our Virgin Thoughts are apt to Rove, And few escape that Noble Passion _Love_, Teach me, _Belinda_, by thy Arts to Chuse What Suiters to Admit, and which Refuse._
Melissa, I am glad you're so Discreet, } For, that to more Experience you'll submit, } Argues your want of Vanity, not Wit. }
And yet, my Dear, 'tis difficult t' Advise, } Fools are so Plenty, and so Scarce the Wise: } To judge of Men, we shou'd not Trust our Eyes; } Outward Appearance may Delude the Sight; Nor is it good to gaze too near the Light: For tho' your Beauty, like a Painted Scene, May Dang'rous prove to the Vile Race of Men, Who at the greater distance do Admire, And shun the heat of Love's Important Fire. Whose Little God, like lesser Thieves, unseen, } Steals to our Hearts, we scarce know how or when, } His Standard hoists and Guards the Fort Within; } Then like a Tyrant does our Peace Controul, And absolutely Lords it o'er the Soul: Thus, with your Heart, your Fortune he'll Dispose: He does the Man, you but the Husband chuse. And tho' a Fool, you must the Wretch receive; For where we Love, we soon our Persons give.
Therefore, Melissa, wisely Guard your Heart; What Nature won't defend, defend by Art:
Shun, I advise you, most Devoutly shun, Those Servile Apes that swarm about the Town; Pert, Noisie Coxcombs, Self-admiring Beaux, Known by their want of Wit, and Gawdy Cloaths:
Of all the Creatures Nature does provide, To stock the World from Ignorance to Pride; Of all that from her various Bosom spring, A Beau I think the oddest kind of thing; A selfish Compound, singular, and Vain, Half Ass, half Puppet, and the least of Man; One that seems just for Nature's Pastime made, A Gawdy Carcass, with an Empty Head; Whose only Knowledge lies in modish Dress, And seldom looks much further than his Glass. A Creature only Govern'd by his Will; And never Reads above a Taylors Bill; A Wretch extreamly Whimsical and Proud, Stiff in Opinion, Talkative and Loud; And that which most Compleatly Arms the Fool, Is, That the Fop's Emphatically dull. That such, Melissa, may Address, 'tis true, Write a soft Song, or senseless Billetdoux, But 'tis Themselves they Admire in't, not You: And she that's basely Yok'd with one of these, Must e'en be Wedded to his Vanities; Doat on a Thing that scarce deserves a Name, While he with Slights rewards her Vertuous Flame: For tell me, can he less Indifferent prove, Who thinks no Woman can Deserve his Love? No, no, Melissa, never think he can; For if you do, you're Cozen'd in your Man.
Self-Affectation sways his little Sense; Nought but Himself he Loves, and Ignorance. By fatal Chance, if such a Man you Wed, Better, Melissa, thou had'st Dy'd a Maid: Ev'n such a Lover, were a Plague too great; From such a Husband, Guard me, Oh my Fate!
Shun too, my Dear, the Lewder Wits o' th' Town, As watchfully as they'd avoid a Dun. For such a Man too soon wou'd let you see, Lewdness and Marriage do but ill Agree. Oft at the Theatre such Sparks I've seen, } With Rakish Looks, half Drunk, come Reeling in; } Tossing their Wigs, their Backs against the Scene. } Regardless of the Play (a Mark of Wit) Bow to some Lewd Companion in the Pit. Take Snuff, fling round, in the Side-Box be seen, Whisper a Mask, and then Retire again, To some Lov'd Tavern, where's their chief Delight, } There in Debaucheries they spend the Night, } Then Stagger homeward by the Morning Light. }
Thus the Extravagant squanders his Estate, Scarce e'er Consid'ring till it be too late: And then a Wife must Cure the dang'rous Sore, A Fortune too, his Acres must Restore; The Woman Found, is by Addresses won; They're married: He's profuse, and she's undone. The Wound once heal'd, he soon forgets the Pain, And takes the Trade of Lewdness up again: In Vicious Days and Nights his Life is spent; The Pleasure his, but her's the Punishment; For now the Heav'n she Dreamt of, proves her Hell, Whose only Fault was Loving him too well. Pensive all Day she sits; all Night alone; She does her slighted Love, but more his Loss bemoan. By kind Endearments Fraught with Innocence, She strives to soften his Impenitence; Fain wou'd she turn him from the winding Maze, Win him to Love, and be the same he was; But Vain her Sighs; her Prayers, her Tears are Vain, } She might as soon her Freedom re-obtain, } As think to Mollifie th' obdurate Man. } Who like her Person, slights the fond Advice, } And when with Love she wou'd his Soul Entice, } Flies from her Arms, and Revels in his Vice; } Till she, alas, foreseeing what must come, Consents, and with the little left he packs her home.
Of such I give thee Caution to beware, } Fly 'em, Melissa, like a Tim'rous Hare, } That Strains along the Vales t'avoid the Hunters Snare. }
And from a Soldier too, thy flight direct; In his Rough Arms, what can a Maid expect; Long Absent days, and tedious Widow'd Nights: Are those the Marriage Joys, the vasts Delights We promise to our selves, with him we Love? Or shall we else such Constant Creatures prove, To leave our Country, and turn Fugitive: Follow the Camp, and with the Wanderer Live. 'Mongst War-like sounds our softer hours to pass, Scorch in the Sun, and Sleep upon the Grass: No, no, Melissa, 'tis an Auxious Life; Honour's his Mistress; let it be his Wife.
No Man of Bus'ness let thy Heart approve; Bus'ness is oft an Enemy to Love: Nor think, my Dear, thou canst be truly blest With one that's Wedded to his Interest. Worldly Affairs does his Affections cloy, As that which shou'd preserve it, does destroy. 'Twixt two Extreams you wretchedly must Live, Or bad, or worse, as his Affairs do Thrive; Whose good or ill Success, must be the Rule, One makes him Insolent, and t'other Dull.
Let no Aspiring Courtier be thy Choice; Avoid in Courts, the Bustle and the Noise; Where Vain Ambition hurries on the Mind, And always leaves more solid Joys behind: As when the Thrifty Clown, securely Blest, His Barns with Plenty, with Content his Brest, Possest with hopes of a long lost Estate, In haste forsakes his humble harmless Seat. With Bagg and Bundle, Trots it up to Town, } There wildly Gapes, and wanders up and down, } And's kept in Ignorance till he's undone. } Some weighty Sums receiv'd for Corn and Cheese, Are Spent in Treats, and Giv'n away in Fees. Mean while the Lawyer so well Acts his Part, } With empty Pockets, and an Aking Heart, } He sends him home again to Plow and Cart. }
So the Gay Youth does Lavish his Estate, And bribes into the Favour of the Great; Prefer'd he sits like Fortunes Darling Son, To's Friends, and what he was, a Stranger grown; Till soon some turn of a Revolving State, Leaves him to Curse Ambition, and his Fate; Threaten'd with Want, perhaps the Youngster Writes, And Lives (or rather Starves Genteely) by his Wits.
Therefore, Melissa, Guard thee from surprize; Let none of these betray thee, if thou'rt Wise; Let not their Songs, nor Sighs, thy Soul Entice. But if thou wou'dst be happy in thy Choice, Above 'em all, a Gentleman prefer; One free from Bus'ness, undisturb'd with Care; Yet in the Publick Good (without Vile ends) To serve his Country, and his Countries Friends: Travel his Understanding shou'd improve; For as it helps his Knowledge, 'twould his Love. As to his Person, 'tis not to advise; All Women see not with the self-same Eyes. In that you might your own Opinion use, Your Heart wou'd teach you; but were I to chuse, He shou'd not be Effeminate or Proud, (I hate the Man that is by Pride subdu'd). In us I Grant a little Pride may be, Much less a Crime (and may with Sense agree) A Gift alone for our own Sex design'd, To awe the loose Opinions of Mankind; Who quickly else more Insolent wou'd grow: 'Tis Vertue's Guard, and Aids our Beauties too.
A Gay Appearance shou'd not make me err; I wou'd the Beauties of the Mind prefer. Among the Few, I'd have a Man of Sense, Endu'd with Modesty and Temperance; Not with a great, and yet a good Estate; Not too much Learning, nor Illiterate, And yet he shou'd (avoiding each extream) Know more of Man, than Man shou'd know of him. Be Gen'rous and Well-bred, but not Profuse; Not giv'n to Flattery, nor to take th' Abuse: Gentile his Carriage, and his Humour such, Shou'd speak him Sociable, but no Debauch. A Lover of his Country, and a Friend to Wit Read Poetry he shou'd, but shou'd not write; His Temper Lively, not to Wildness bent, His Talk Diverting, and yet Innocent; Not Unreserv'd, nor yet too Nicely Wise, Apter to Bear, than Offer Injuries; Courage enough his Honour to defend, But Constant in his Love, and Faithful to his Friend.
This is the Man I'd to my Heart prefer; } Such Men, Melissa, well deserve our Care; } You'll say they're Scarce, and I must grant they are. } Yet I resolve by such a Man, or none, (Unless by Love betray'd) I will be won.
But were I Woo'd by the Embellish'd Youth; His Soul susceptible of Love and Truth: By easie steps he shou'd attain my Heart, By all the Proofs of Breeding, Wit, and Art. Then like some Town, by War-like Numbers sought, That long against its Enemies has fought, And oft with Courage brav'd the shining Field, } Yet in the end by Want or Force compell'd, } It does with Honour to the Conqueror Yield. }
So to my Lover I'd my Heart resign, The Conquest his, the Glory should be mine. With mutual Love my Nuptials shou'd be Blest, } Then to my Arms I'd call the Welcome Guest, } And Celebrate with Joy great Hymen's Feast. }
Marriage is Bondage, but where Cupid Reigns, The Yoke is easie; Glorious are the Chains: His Fetters please, nor wish we to be Free, But Glory in the Loss of Liberty: And yet but half our Thanks we owe the Boy, He gives us Love, 'tis Hymen gives us Joy; Well might the Poets feign those Gods a-kin, For we are only Happy where they join. As when Aurora does the Bridal Morn, With an uncommon Gayety Adorn From its Illustrious Pride with ease we may Foretel the Brightness of the coming Day: So when true Love the Sacred Tye precedes, Secure of Happiness that Couple weds; No Threat'ning Storms do e'er Molest their Joy, Nor Anxious Quarrels do their Peace destroy; Their days slide on in the securest ease, And Circle in Eternal Rounds of Bliss.
Blest in my Wish thus far, my next should be, (For I Melissa, wou'd live far and free From the vile Tumults of this viler Town) To have some little Cottage of my own; No Spacious, but a Pleasant Country Seat, Where the Gay Spring shou'd smile on our Retreat; Delightful Gardens shou'd the Structure Bound, All Love within, and Innocence around; Adorn'd with Fruit-Trees curious to the Eye, With streaming Fountains, and a River nigh; Where, low-grown Willows do recline their head, And o'er its fall their Meeting Branches spread, As tho' they were by careful Nature hung, } To listen and regard its Murm'ring Song, } Whose Silver current as it glides along; } Does wash the Bank of some Delightful Grove, Fragrant beneath, and shaded all above; Where the fresh Seasons breathe their vital Air, And pretty Birds with untaught Songs repair; Where spreading Pines, and taller Poplars grow, Young Elms that do a pleasing Prospect show. Where Bow'rs of Yew, and twisted Hazles stand, With cluster'd Filberts to invite the hand; A Place by Nature fram'd to feast the Mind, By Art for Solitude and Love design'd; Where we wou'd walk, and waste our idler hours, Gather the luscious Fruits and various Flowers, Crop from their stalks the Columbine and Rose, } And from its Branch, the juicy Peach unlose, } And ev'ry Sweet of Nature should it self disclose. }
So the first Pair, of Innocence possest, Were in their Native EDEN truly Blest; At large they rang'd o'er all the flow'ry Land, And pluck'd their Food from Nature's lib'ral Hand: Tripp'd o'er the Soil, and to the Fountains ran. The Happy Woman She, and He the Happy Man.
Next in my Family I'd employ my Care, My Attendance few, but honest and sincere; I wou'd not have our happier Delights, Destroy'd by Gaming Days, or Drinking Nights. Nor yet look shye upon those Friends he brought, I wou'd seem Pleasant, tho' I lik'd them not: Courteous to all, and Lib'ral to the Poor, They still shou'd chant their Blessings at my Door; From whence dissatisfy'd they shou'd not go, Lest Heaven shou'd retrench its Bounty too; No Jars among my Servants shou'd be found, But Chains of lasting Peace shou'd still run round.
Thus we'd the Innocence of Life enjoy, For Love's a Beauty which does seldom cloy. As Peaceful Monarchs do their Kingdoms Sway, He shou'd my Heart, and I'd in Love obey, No change of Fortune shou'd pervert our flame, But with the good or bad, be still the same.