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Sore sigh'd the knight to hear his lady's cry,
• With all my soul,' he thus replied again,
Now prove your patience, gentle ladies all!
In that nice moment, lo! the wond'ring knight
there? • What ails my lord ? the trembling dame replied; • I thought your patience had been better tried : Is this your love, ungrateful and unkind, This my reward for having cur'd the blind? Why was I taught to make my husband see, By struggling with a man upon a tree?
Did I for this the power of magic prove?
• If this be struggling, by this holy light, 'Tis struggling with a vengeance,' quoth the knight, • So Heaven preserve the sight it has restor'd, "As with these eyes I plainly saw thee whor'd; Whor'd by my slave-perfidious wretch! may hell As surely seize thee, as I saw too well!'
• Guard me, good angels! cried the gentle May, • Pray Heaven, this magic work the proper way! Alas, my love! 'tis certain, could you see, You ne'er had us’d these killing words to me: So help me, Fates, as 'tis no perfect sight, But some faint glimmering of a doubtful light.'
• What I have said,' quoth he, I must maintain, For by th' immortal powers it seem'd too plain'• By all those pow'rs, some frenzy seiz'd your
mind,' Replied the dame : ' are these the thanks I find? Wretch that I am, that e'er I was so kind ? She said ; a rising sigh express'd her woe, The ready tears apace began to flow, And, as they fell, she wip'd from either eye The drops (for women when they list, can cry).
The knight was touchi'd, and in his looks appear'd Signs of remorse, while thus his spouse he cheer'd: • Madam, 'tis past, ayd my short anger o'er; Come down, and vex your tender heart no more: Excuse me, dear, if aught amiss was said, For, on my soul, amends shall soon be made: Let my repentance your forgiveness draw, By Heaven, I swore but what I thought I saw.'
*Ah, my lov'd lord!'twas much unkind,' she cried, On bare suspicion thus to treat your bride. But, till your sight's establish'd for awhile, Imperfect objects may your sense beguile. Thus when from sleep we first our eyes display, The balls are wounded with the piercing ray, And dusky vapours rise, and intercept the day.
So, just recovering from the shades of night,
Strange phantoms dance around, and skim before
your sight: Then, sir, be cautious, nor too rashly deem: Heav'n knows how seldom things are what they
seein! Consult your reason, and you soon shall find 'Twas you were jealous, not your wife unkind: Jove ne'er spoke oracle more true than this, None judge so wrong as those who think amiss.'
With that she leap'd into her lord's embrace, With well-dissembled virtue in her face. He hugg'd her close, and kiss'd her o'er and o'er,' Disturb'd with doubts and jealousies no more: Both, pleas'd and bless'd, renew'd their mutual vows, A fruitful wife, and a believing spouse.
Thus ends our tale! whose moral next to make, Let all wise husbands hence example take; And pray, to crown the pleasures of their lives, To be so well deluded by their wives.
THE WIFE OF BATH,
BEHOLD the woes of matrimonial life,
And hear with reverence an experienc'd wife! To dear-bought wisdom give the credit due, And think for once a woman tell you true. In all these trials I have borne a part, I was myself the scourge that caus'd the smart; For, since fifteen, in triunıph have I led Five captive husbands from the church to bed.
Christ saw a wedding once, the Scripture says, And saw but one, 'tis thought, in all his days; Whence some infer, whose conscience is too nice, No pious Christian ought to marry twice.
But let them read, and solve me, if they can,
• Increase and multiply,' was Heaven's command
Paul, knowiug one could never serve our turn, Declar'd 'twas better far to wed than burn.
There's danger in assembling fire and tow;
I envy not their bliss, if he or she
Full many a saint, since first the world began,
Know then, of those five husbands I have had,
Presents How'd in apace: with showers of gold, They made their court, like Jupiter of old. If I but smild, a sudden youth they found, And a new palsy seiz'd them when I frown'd.
Ye sovereign wives! give ear and understand, Thus shall ye speak, and exercise command,