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PAULO PURGANTI AND His WIFE: An Honest, but a Simple Pair.

Est enim quiddam, idque intelligitur in omni Virtute, quod Deceat: quod Cogitatione magis à Virtute potest quam Re separari. Cic. de Officiis. Lib. 1.
1 Beyond the fix'd and settl'd Rules
2 Of Vice and Virtue in the Schools,
3 Beyond the Letter of the Law,
4 Which keeps our Men and Maids in Awe,
5 The better Sort should set before 'em
6 A Grace, a Manner, a Decorum;
7 Something, that gives their Acts a Light;
8 Makes 'em not only just, but bright;
9 And sets 'em in that open Fame,
10 Which witty Malice cannot blame.
11 For 'tis in Life, as 'tis in Painting:
12 Much may be Right, yet much be Wanting:
13 From Lines drawn true, our Eye may trace
14 A Foot, a Knee, a Hand, a Face:
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15 May justly own the Picture wrought
16 Exact to Rule, exempt from Fault:
17 Yet if the Colouring be not there,
18 The Titian Stroke, the Guido Air;
19 To nicest Judgment show the Piece;
20 At best 'twill only not displease:
21 It would not gain on Jersey's Eye:
22 Bradford would frown, and set it by.
23 Thus in the Picture of our Mind
24 The Action may be well design'd;
25 Guided by Law, and bound by Duty;
26 Yet want this Je ne sçay quoy of Beauty:
27 And tho' it's Error may be such,
28 As Knags and Burgess cannot hit;
29 It yet may feel the nicer Touch
30 Of Wicherley's or Congreve's Wit.
31 What is this Talk? replies a Friend:
32 And where will this dry Moral end?
33 The Truth of what You here lay down
34 By some Example should be shown.
35 With all my Heart, for once; read on.
36 An Honest, but a Simple Pair
37 (And Twenty other I forbear)
38 May serve to make this Thesis clear.
39 A Doctor of great Skill and Fame,
40 Paulo Purganti was his Name,
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41 Had a good, comely, virtuous Wife:
42 No Woman led a better Life:
43 She to Intrigues was ev'n hard-hearted:
44 She chuckl'd when a Bawd was carted:
45 And thought the Nation ne'er wou'd thrive,
46 'Till all the Whores were burnt alive.
47 On marry'd Men, that dare be bad,
48 She thought no Mercy should be had;
49 They should be hang'd, or starv'd, or flead,
50 Or serv'd like Romish Priests in Swede.
51 In short, all Lewdness She defy'd:
52 And stiff was her Parochial Pride.
53 Yet in an honest Way, the Dame
54 Was a great Lover of That same;
55 And could from Scripture take her Cue,
56 That Husbands should give Wives their Due.
57 Her Prudence did so justly steer
58 Between the Gay and the Severe,
59 That if in some Regards She chose
60 To curb poor Paulo in too close;
61 In others She relax'd again,
62 And govern'd with a looser Rein.
63 Thus tho' She strictly did confine
64 The Doctor from Excess of Wine;
65 With Oysters, Eggs, and Vermicelli
66 She let Him almost burst his Belly:
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67 Thus drying Coffee was deny'd;
68 But Chocolate that Loss supply'd:
69 And for Tobacco (who could bear it?)
70 Filthy Concomitant of Claret!
71 (Blest Revolution!) one might see
72 Eringo Roots, and Bohé Tea.
73 She often set the Doctor's Band,
74 And strok'd his Beard, and squeez'd his Hand:
75 Kindly complain'd, that after Noon
76 He went to pore on Books too soon:
77 She held it wholesomer by much,
78 To rest a little on the Couch:
79 About his Waste in Bed a-nights
80 She clung so close for fear of Sprites.
81 The Doctor understood the Call;
82 But had not always wherewithal.
83 The Lion's Skin too short, you know,
84 (As Plutarch's Morals finely show)
85 Was lengthen'd by the Fox's Tail:
86 And Art supplies, where Strength may fail.
87 Unwilling then in Arms to meet
88 The Enemy, He could not beat;
89 He strove to lengthen the Campaign,
90 And save his Forces by Chicane.
91 Fabius, the Roman Chief, who thus
92 By fair Retreat grew Maximus,
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93 Shows us, that all that Warrior can do
94 With Force inferior, is Cunctando.
95 One Day then, as the Foe drew near,
96 With Love, and Joy, and Life, and Dear;
97 Our Don, who knew this Tittle Tattle
98 Did, sure as Trumpet, call to Battel;
99 Thought it extreamly à propos,
100 To ward against the coming Blow:
101 To ward: but how? Ay, there's the Question:
102 Fierce the Assault, unarm'd the Bastion.
103 The Doctor feign'd a strange Surprise:
104 He felt her Pulse: he view'd her Eyes:
105 That beat too fast: These rowl'd too quick:
106 She was, He said, or would be Sick:
107 He judg'd it absolutely good,
108 That She should purge and cleanse her Blood.
109 Spaw Waters for that end were got:
110 If they past easily or not,
111 What matters it? the Lady's Feaver
112 Continu'd violent as ever.
113 For a Distemper of this Kind,
114 (Blackmore and Hans are of my Mind)
115 If once it youthful Blood infects,
116 And chiefly of the Female Sex;
117 Is scarce remov'd by Pill or Potion;
118 What-e'er might be our Doctor's Notion.
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119 One luckless Night then, as in Bed
120 The Doctor and the Dame were laid;
121 Again this cruel Feaver came,
122 High Pulse, short Breath, and Blood in Flame.
123 What Measures shall poor Paulo keep
124 With Madam, in this piteous taking?
125 She, like Macbeth, has murder'd Sleep,
126 And won't allow Him Rest, tho' waking.
127 Sad State of Matters! when We dare
128 Nor ask for Peace, nor offer War:
129 Nor Livy nor Comines have shown,
130 What in this Juncture may be done.
131 Grotius might own, that Paulo's Case is
132 Harder, than any which He places
133 Amongst his Belli and his Pacis.
134 He strove, alas! but strove in vain,
135 By dint of Logic to maintain,
136 That all the Sex was born to grieve,
137 Down to her Ladyship from Eve.
138 He rang'd his Tropes, and preach'd up Patience;
139 Back'd his Opinion with Quotations,
140 Divines and Moralists; and run ye on
141 Quite thro' from Seneca to Bunyan.
142 As much in vain He bid Her try
143 To fold her Arms, to close her Eye;
144 Telling Her, Rest would do Her Good;
145 If any thing in Nature cou'd:
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146 So held the Greeks quite down from Galen,
147 Masters and Princes of the Calling:
148 So all our Modern Friends maintain
149 (Tho' no great Greeks) in Warwick-Lane.
150 Reduce, my Muse, the wand'ring Song:
151 A Tale should never be too long.
152 The more He talk'd, the more She burn'd,
153 And sigh'd, and tost, and groan'd, and turn'd:
154 At last, I wish, said She, my Dear
155 (And whisper'd something in his Ear.)
156 You wish! wish on, the Doctor cries:
157 Lord! when will Womankind be wise?
158 What, in your Waters? are You mad?
159 Why Poyson is not half so bad.
160 I'll do it But I give You Warning:
161 You'll die before To-morrow Morning.
162 'Tis kind, my Dear, what You advise;
163 The Lady with a Sigh replies:
164 But Life, You know, at best is Pain:
165 And Death is what We should disdain.
166 So do it therefore, and Adieu:
167 For I will die for Love of You:
168 Let wanton Wives by Death be scar'd:
169 But, to my Comfort, I'm prepar'd.


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Title (in Source Edition): PAULO PURGANTI AND His WIFE: An Honest, but a Simple Pair.
Author: Matthew Prior
Genres: answer/reply

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Prior, Matthew, 1664-1721. Poems on Several Occasions [English poems only]. London: Printed for JACOB TONSON at Shakespear's-Head over against Katharine-Street in the Strand, and JOHN BARBER upon Lambeth-Hill. MDCCXVIII., 1718, pp. 111-117. [42],506,[6]p.: ill.; 2°. (ESTC T075639) (Page images digitized from a copy in the Bodleian Library [H 6.8 Art.].)

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Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. This ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.

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