by: Matthew Prior (1664-1721)

      ANS CARVEL, Impotent and Old,
      Married a Lass of LONDON Mould:
      Handsome? enough; extremely Gay:
      Lov'd Musick, Company, and Play:
      High Flights She had, and Wit at Will:
      And so her Tongue lay seldom still:
      For in all Visits who but She,
      To Argue, or to Repartée?
      She made it plain, that Human Passion
      Was order'd by Predestination;
      That, if weak Women went astray,
      Their Stars were more at Fault than They:
      Whole Tragedies She had by Heart:
      Enter'd into ROXANA'S Part:
      To Triumph in her Rival's Blood,
      The Action certainly was good.
      How like a Vine young AMMON curl'd!
      Oh that dear Conqu'ror of the World!
      She pity'd BETTERTON in age,
      That ridicul'd the God-like Rage.
      She, first of all the Town, was told,
      Where newest INDIA Things were sold
      So in a Morning, without Bodice,
      Slipt sometimes out to Mrs THODY'S;
      To cheapen Tea, to buy a Screen:
      What else could so much Virtue mean?
      For to prevent the least Reproach,
      Betty went with Her in the Coach.
      But when no very great Affair
      Excited her peculiar Care;
      She without fail was wak'd at Ten;
      Drank Chocolate, then slept again:
      At Twelve She rose: with much ado
      Her Cloths were huddl'd on by Two:
      Then; Does my Lady Dine at home?
      Yes sure; -- but is the Colonel come?
      Next, how to spend the Afternoon,
      And not come Home again too soon;
      The Change, the City, or the Play,
      As each was proper for the Day;
      A Turn in Summer to HYDE-PARK,
      When it grew tolerably Dark.
      Wife's Pleasure causes Husband's Pain:
      Strange Fancies come in HANS'S Brain:
      He thought of what He did not name;
      And wou'd reform; but durst not blame.
      At first He therefore Preach'd his Wife
      The Comforts of a Pious Life:
      Told Her, how Transient Beauty was;
      That All must die, and Flesh was Grass:
      He bought Her Sermons, Psalms, and Graces;
      And doubled down the useful Places.
      But still the Weight of worldly Care
      Allow'd Her little time for Pray'r:
      And CLEOPATRA was read o'er,
      While SCOT, and WAKE, and Twenty more,
      That teach one to deny one's self,
      Stood unmolested on the Shelf.
      An untouch'd Bible grac'd her Toilet:
      No feat that Thumb of Her's should spoil it.
      In short, the Trade was still the same:
      The Dame went out: the Colonel came.
      What's to be done? poor CARVEL cry'd:
      Another Batt'ry must be try'd:
      What if to Spells I had Recourse?
      'Tis but to hinder something Worse.
      The End must justifie the Means:
      He only Sins who Ill intends:
      Since therefore 'tis to Combat Evil;
      'Tis lawful to employ the Devil.
      Forthwith the Devil did appear
      (For name Him and He's always near)
      Not in the Shape in which He plies
      At Miss's Elbow when She lies;
      Or stands before the Nurs'ry Doors,
      To take the naughty Boy that roars:
      But without sawcer Eye or Claw,
      Like a grave Barrister of Law.
      HANS CARVEL, lay aside your Grief,
      The Devil says: I bring Relief.
      Relief, says HANS: pray let me crave
      Your Name, Sir. -- SATAN. -- Sir, your Slave:
      I did not look upon your Feet:
      You'll pardon Me: -- Ay, now I see't:
      And pray, Sir, when came You from Hell?
      Our Friends there, did you leave Them well?
      All well: but pr'ythee, honest HANS,
      (Says SATAN) leave your Complaisance:
      The Truth is this: I cannot stay
      Flaring in Sun-shine all the Day:
      For, entre Nous, We Hellish Sprites,
      And oft'ner our Receipts convey
      In Dreams, than any other Way.
      I tell You therefore as a Friend,
      Ere Morning dawns, your Fears shall end:
      Go then this Ev'ning, Master CARVEL,
      Lay down your Fowls, and broach your Barrel;
      Let Friends and Wine dissolve your Care;
      Whilst I the great Receipt prepare:
      To Night I'll bring it, by my Faith;
      Believe for once what SATAN saith.
      Away went HANS: glad? not a little;
      Obey'd the Devil to a Tittle;
      Invited Friends some half a Dozen,
      The Colonel, and my Lady's Cousin.
      The Meat was serv'd; the Bowls were crown'd;
      Catches were sung; and Healths went round:
      Barbadoes Waters for the Close;
      'Till Hans had fairly got his Dose:
      The Colonel toasted to the best:
      The Dame mov'd off, to be undrest:
      The Chimes went Twelve: the Guests withdrew:
      But when, or how, HANS hardly knew.
      Some Modern Anecdotes aver,
      He nodded in his Elbow Chair;
      From thence was carry'd off to Bed:
      JOHN held his Heels, and NAN his head.
      My Lady was disturb'd: new Sorrow!
      Which HANS must answer for to Morrow.
      In Bed then view this happy Pair;
      And think how HYMEN Triumph'd there.
      Hans, fast asleep, as soon as laid;
      The Duty of the Night unpaid:
      The waking Dame, with Thoughts opprest,
      That made Her Hate both Him and Rest:
      By Such a Husband, such a Wife!
      'Twas ACME'S and SEPTIMIUS' Life.
      The Lady sigh'd: the Lover snor'd:
      The punctual Devil kept his Word:
      Appear'd to honest HANS again;
      But not at all by Madam seen:
      And giving Him a Magick Ring,
      Fit for the Finger of a King;
      Dear Hans, said He, this Jewel take,
      And wear it long for SATAN'S Sake:
      'Twill do your Business to a Hair:
      For long as You this Ring shall wear,
      As sure as I look over LINCOLN,
      That ne'er shall happen which You think on.
      HANS took the ring with Joy extreme;
      (All this was only in a Dream)
      And thrusting it beyond his Joint,
      'Tis done, He cry'd: I've gain'd my Point.
      What Point, said She, You ugly Beast?
      You neither give Me Joy nor Rest:
      'Tis done. -- What's done, You drunken Bear?
      You've thrust your Finger G-d knows where!




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