by: Matthew Prior (1664-1721)

      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 ev'n hard-hearted:
      She chuckl'd when a Bawd was carted:
      And thought the Nation ne'er wou'd thrive,
      'Till all the Whores were burnt alive.
      On marry'd Men, that dare be bad,
      She thought no Mercy should be had;
      They should be hang'd, or starv'd, or flead,
      Or serv'd like Romish Priests in Swede,--
      In shord, all Lewdness She defy'd:
      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's again,
      And govern'd with a looser Rein.
      Thus tho' 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 deny'd;
      But Chocolate that Loss supply'd:
      And for Tobacco (who could bear it?)
      Filthy Concomitant of Claret!
      (Blest Revolution!) one might see
      Eringo Roots, and Bohé 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 Waste 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 then 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 Tittle Tattle
      Did, sure as Trumpet, call to Battle;
      Thought it extremely á 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 rowl'd too quick:
      She was, He said, or would be Sick:
      He judg'd it absolutely good,
      That She should purge and cleanse her Blood.
      SPAW Waters for that end were got:
      If they past easily or not,
      What matters it? the Lady's Fever
      Continu'd 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 remov'd by Pill or Potion;
      What-e'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 poor PAULO keep
      With Madam, in this piteous taking?
      She, like MACBETH, has murder'd Sleep,
      And won't allow Him Rest, tho' 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.
      He rang'd his Tropes, and preach'd up Patience;
      Back'd his Opinion with Quotations,
      Divines and Moralists; and run ye on
      Quite thro' from SENECA to BUNYAN.
      As much in vain He bid Her try
      To fold her Arms, to close her Eye;
      Telling Her, Rest would do Her Good;
      If any thing in Nature cou'd:
      So held the GREEKS quite down from GALEN,
      Masters and Princes of the Calling:
      So all our Modern Friends maintain
      (Tho' no great GREEKS) in WARWICK-LANE.
      Reduce, my Muse, the wand'ring Song:
      A Tale should never be too long.
      The more He talk'd, the more She burn'd,
      And sigh'd, and tost, 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?
      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 scar'd:
      But, to my Comfort, I'm prepared.




[ A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z ]

Home · Poetry Store · Links · Email · © 2004