Ar't asleep Husband? A BOULSTER LECTURE, Stored with all variety of witty Jests, merry Tales, and other pleasant passages; extracted from the choycest Flowers of Phi∣losophy, Poesy, ancient and moderne History.
SECTION I. The Excellency of Women in their Creation.
DIscourses taking life from pu∣rest and refinedst Subjects, beget ever in the Reader most affection, in the Hearer most attention. Now, what Subject more pure than that which is of the most affable nature, amiable feature, Page 2 and pliable temper? A smooth thinne skin promiseth (saith the Philosopher) a free and ingenuous disposition: And where shall we find this philosophicall Idaea, but in a wo∣man? This caused the Oracle to give sen∣tence in a businesse which highly imported the Spartan State: that the approaching ca∣lamity of their principall Citie could not possibly be diverted, but by scattering the purest dust upon their Altars, which all their countrey afforded. Upon which An∣swer, it was long debated, what dust the Oracle meant by, to expiate the fury of the Gods: where, as it ever falls out in affaires of that nature, as many men, so many minds: Some, and those were rich Ground∣lins, who preferred Wealth before Wit, and esteemed Gold for the most absolute Good; were of opinion that the Oracle meant by the purest dust, the foile of Gold. Others, that no purer dust could bee scattered on their Altars, than the ashes of such honest and pious Patriots, who had exposed them∣selves to whatsoever Fortune could inflict upon them, to secure their Countrey, and become her safetie who bred them. Other mettall-men there were, who closed with that relation of Plutarch; who reporteth, that when Dionysius the Tyrant asked the Wisemen of his Court, which Copper was the best, Antiphon answered very readily, Page 3 that in his opinion, that was the most ex∣cellent, and the dust most restorative, where∣of the Athenians had made the pictures of those Tyrants, which, for their Countries delivery from such an insupportable tyran∣ny, Armodius and Aristogyton had dispat∣ched to their succeeding glory. But in the end, making recourse to the most esteemed Sage in all Greece, they were told, that it was the Dust of a Virgin; which was no sooner scattered, than their maladie was re∣moved. What excellent Cures have beene produced, what happie deliveries effected by these meanes, may appeare every where in the Poets: As in Andromeda, Polyxena, Iphigenia. This confirmes that pure mould of a Virgin: that refined dust, or substance of her Composition: reflecting ever upon the Excellency of Women in their Creation. Yet, it may be objected, Man deserves prece∣dency, because in his Creation he had prio∣rity. It is confest: yet might Woman seeme (if we may safely incline to the opinion of some Rabbies) to have a preeminence in the manner of her Creation: For where∣as Dust gave Man his Composition; Wo∣man took hers from Mans perfection. Yea, but the Matter shee was made of, fore-told what shee would bee. Shee was made of a Crookt Subject, a Rib: and out of her croo∣ked disposition (will some say, who stand Page 4 ill-affected to the Salique state) shee will not stick to tyrannize over a sheepish hus∣band, and give him rib-roast. A poore Ob∣jection! An equall and ingenuous exposi∣tion would rather frame this conclusion: That the Subject whereof she was made, begot not in her a crookednesse, but pliable∣nesse of nature: ever ready to bend her will, and apply her affection to the mould of Man: not cruelly to domineere, but con∣stantly to adhere to her Mate. Well did that wisest of Kings observe this; when he so definitely concluded: Where a woman is not, the house grones. This differed much from the opinion of that hard-hearted man, whereof I have sometimes heard this Tale;
What an excellent State accompanies the presence of a goodly Woman? What attractive beauty in the eye? What an ad∣mirable disposure in the contexture of eve∣ry part? So as I cannot sufficiently wonder at the stupidity of that meere Scholasticall Wooer;
I have sometimes read written in a win∣dow with a Diamond, by one, it seemed▪ who was not setled in his Choice, but like a wanton-wavering Wooer, had fixt on ma∣ny Objects, but on none such as yet hee could like; these lines:
But you, brave English Ladies, whose happiness it is to close both your actions and affections in one pure Orbe; you, whose immixed thoughts, cannot partake of an ir∣regular love; nor can sort with a subject of lightnesse; nor labour to attract a strangers love with a luring eye; nor imparadise a deluded Amorist with a dissembling fa∣vour; nor confine a light Passengers eye to a loose-displayed breast; nor soveraignise over a captiv'd Lover, in holding his aie mees your best melody; nor to open your windowes to get suiters; nor to offer your first Sacrifice to your Glasse, or Cerusse box. You, I say, who hold Reputation such an un∣valuable Gemme, as an Empire should not command it; nor the extreames of Fortune, even unto death, impeach it. You, who with much confidence can say with that Heroick Princesse, I know how to dye, but not to lose Page 13 mine honour. You, in whose chaste breasts, as in precious Cabinets of selectedst ver∣tues, are stored all graces: such, who hold in their highest scorne to converse with a light favourite, or to be sollicited in such a Suite as may detract from your honour. You, I say, are those faire and noble Patro∣nesses, to whom I addresse this Lab•ur. You are none of our Curtain Lecturers, who dis∣quiet the rest of your Husbands. Nor know you how to call them up into the Garret, to give them gentle correction. You have a better, and farre more gentele way to re∣claime them. Milde and temperate be your Reasonings; wooing and winning be your teares; and after a vertuous and well-com∣posed treaty, you are ready to close with them upon such faire termes, as the penance you enjoyne them is no suffering; for your sweet-tempered Natures chuse rather to suf∣fer with them. Farre unlike to that Shrow, who meeting her husband amongst other good fellows at a Taverne doore, and seeing him beare the Badge of that red-fac'd En∣signe from whence hee came;
Now to insist more usefully on this Sub∣ject; we have proposed to our selves to enter into a Discourse of foure distinct Motives to affection: which in their own nature be∣get affection; but inverted, expresse to life their owners disposition. The first shall be Beauty; a Pearle in the eye, and a Pinion to the heart: The second, Agility of body; Page 16 which begets in the owner a desire of liber∣ty. The third, Quicknesse of Wit; which, being not well seasoned, oft-times breeds occasion of distaste. The fourth, Gentle∣nesse of Speech; an excellent Ornament, and worth entertaining, if it be not shrowded or palliated with dissembling.
To the first then, because every gracefull accomplishment or perfection falling from it selfe, declines from what it was, and pre∣sents some dangerous imperfection which before it had not, we oppose Disdaine, being found for most part an individuall Adjunct to Beauty.
To the second we oppose Liberty: for what youthfull bodies, unlesse Mortifica∣tion hath confin'd and impal'd their affe∣ctions, by devoting them to retirement, in affecting a Collegiat or Cloystrall life in their very first ripenings of Nature, but being of Ability, they desire Liberty?
To the third, wee oppose Distaste. For Quicke and prompt Wits, if they be not with discretion seasoned, they become so freely licentious, as they lose more friends than they purchase.
To the fourth and last, we oppose Dissi∣mulation; a quality whereto our Whitest tongues are commonly subject. Of each of these we purpose to Discourse in order, ever giving Beauty her due character, when she Page 17 is Vertues follower: And to allay more se∣rious discourse with other pleasing passages of wit: you shall finde each of these Sub∣jects accompanyed with choyce Tales▪ such as may beget a modest laughter; and from equall judgements receive a faire Censure.
BEAUTY is a pleasing Object to the eye,* improved by the appre∣hension of Fancy, and conveyed to the heart by the Optick part. If the Owner that enjoyes it, know it: it begets in her a dis-esteeme and contempt of inferiour features. None can serve Eccho but Narcissus. What a scornefull eye shee casts upon common persons, or a Plebeian pre∣sence? Shee could finde in her heart to bee angry with the wind, for dealing so rough∣ly with her veile, or ho•sing up her skirts; and scourge those Aeolian scouts for being so saucy. She wonders that Venus should be for a Goddesse recorded, and she never re∣membred. When she sees our countrey-Beauties, with a scornefull pity she lookes on them, and returnes her judgement thus: "Alas, poore home-spun beauties! A civill requisite curtsy shee will not deagne to be∣stow Page 18 on more deserving lips than her owne: with a seeming aversenesse she forgets that winning salute of those Noble Trojan La∣dies; holding it too high a favour to afford a lip to the compleatest Lover. This that passionate Amorist well discovered in this Canto:
Now did that incensed Gentleman shew lesse passion upon the like re-greet from a disdainfull Lady▪ whose long practise in painting, and delicate tooth together, had so corrupted her breath, as Cocytus could not have a worser savour.
But of all others, there is nothing to be admired more in this their trifling with Love, than those nice conditions they stand upon; which, though their hearts stand in∣different, whether they be ever observed or no; they will peremptorily conclude, with∣out assent to such conditions, no Bargaine. Now, the principall Article must be, that Page 22 He who is prickt to be the man, must hold his Distance: Too much familiarity breeds contempt; and to avoid this: He must ob∣serve a kind of reverend state in her presence; Give her way in all arguments of discourse: And for as much as her brave disposition re∣taines in it selfe thoughts of Majesty, shee must have her Side for her selfe and her wo∣men, or what Male she pleaseth; divided Beds; seasons of repairing one to another; that every new visit may seeme a fresh kind of wooing. In which Encounter, as he is to shew himselfe importunate in his Suite, so is his spouse to shew her selfe reluctant to his desires. But the issue proves fearfull: for her long practise of Soveraignty over his weaknesse, brings this Faire one to that passe; as she begins to distaste him. Though the man be tollerable for his part, and of promising satisfaction, she cannot brooke him; yet if you should aske her the cause, it is onely this; Hee is her Husband. Like that great favorite Flaviano, who having taken to wife a noble Florentine Lady; grew in short time to dislike her: and being asked the reason why he could not affect her, be∣ing every way so brave and compleat a La∣dy?
Neither for all this would I have you to mistake me, as if I restrained affection one∣ly to Beauty: for I have knowne Fancy ta∣ken as much, though not so often, with De∣formity, as ever it was with Beauty. Yea, One in whom not so much as the least glympse or shew of favour appeared, ha's wrought no lesse impressive Effects in the heart of a deluded Lover, than if shee had been the Astrophel of the age; which the Poet seemes to confirme by his owne perso∣nall experience:
THe severall pass•ges through-out this entire Section, are partly extracted from Ariosto, Tas∣so, Boc•act, Rheginus, A••aeus, &c. And intend•d by them to cast a glowing shame upon those times wherein they lived: and on those persons at whom they aymed. Meaning by these lighter Page 25 Stories to reprove their lightnesse; and not to introduce any corruption of manners. This it was that reduced those Epyrotes and Laconians to such strict civill Order, by presenting those Ob∣screnities of the time in so free a posture, as by a discreet recollection of themselves, they became ashamed of their Errour: which Retractation in few yeares highly conduced to thier honour. And this it was which the Poet so nearely struck upon in these enlivened ayres:
DISDAINE is an humour bred from an over-weening opinion or selfe-conceit of some extraor∣dinary worth,* arising from per∣son, place, or power. Personall, as from outward gifts, or inward graces; Locall, as from office or dignity; Magisteriall, as from power or authority. Of the First are we onely to discourse; for Officiall or Ma∣gisteriall Government suites not properly with our feminine regiment.
It was an excellent argument of a noble Page 26 disposition in that brave Lady Marcelles, who gave this attestation of her Sex and Countrey, to her owne fame and Nationall glory.
The like resolution shewed many noble Ladies, during those raging persecutions, where neither viduall, conjugall, nor virgin estate, were they never so much strength∣ned with modesty, nor magnanimity, could oppose themselves against Souldiers fury, nor Tyrants insolency. Where, woe shall finde some flying, in defence of their ho∣nour, to desert and remote caves; chusing rather to become a prey to wilde beasts, than to expose their unblemished honour to the Barbarous cruelty of savage Miscre∣ants. These found a hand ever ready to strike, to prevent a staine: preferring an honourable death before an ignominious life. This might be instanced, with much admiration, in that one act of the incompa∣rable Chiomara, a constant Consort to an unfortunate Prince; who upon discomfi∣ture of the Gallo-Graecians (a Province so styled from her mixt inhabitants) being ravished by a Roman Captaine, gave a me∣morable example of conjugall vertue; for she cut off the fellows head from his shoul∣ders, and escaping from her Guard, brought it to her Lord and Husband.
Others we shall likewise finde, purpose∣ly to preserve their honour, discolouring their faces, to make them seeme more defor∣med to the insolent Souldier. There was Page 29 nothing more hatefull to them than that beauty, which might probably ingage their persons to an act of infamy. To these I might adde that excellent saying of a reli∣gious Votaresse, who understanding one to be much inamoured of her, call'd him aside and told him:
But, howsoever that memorable Mar∣celles, of whom wee formerly made so ho∣nourable a mention, seemed in defence both of her selfe and Sex, to inveigh against Dis∣dain; holding it the most unwomanly qua∣lity that could be, to have an heart steeled against the perswasions of an affectionate Servant: Ariosto, that ingenious Poet, can informe us sufficiently of many hard-hear∣ted Page 30 Ladies in Italy; who prided themselves in nothing more, than to make their unhap∣py Lovers, Tragick Subjects: while Some of them raved with Orestes, transforming Fancy to a phrensy; and amongst many other, whose heavy Fates brought them to unhappy ends; he brings in three distressed Lovers murdered with Disdaine: The first, as well as the rest, under a borrowed name, he calls Infeliche: who to discover his in∣felicity, and make his name and fate pertake in one qua•ity, is presented weeping, and so long till he ha's left no eyes to shed a teare. The next, is his Inamorato, whose Disdain∣full choice brought him to that disaster, as hee vowed with an intentive fixing of his eyes upon the Sun-beames, day by day, ne∣ver to looke off that Object, till the reflex of the Sunne had consum'd his sight. The third, his Desperato; one who scorn'd to protract time, or make truce with Death: for upon his Ladies scornefull answer, as one Despairing of all future fortune, be∣cause estranged from her favour; he leapes headlong from a Rock; which gave a period to his unhappy love.
Disdain then, it seems, hath soveraigniz'd in every countrey: while poore distressed Lovers, rest of all hope, abandoned health, rather than live a languishing life. So as, being so farre imbarked in this subject, I Page 31 must needs in this place acquaint you with a Letter, writ, it may well seeme, by a per∣plexed home-spun Lover; who impatient to admit any other complement in his lines, than what might to life best depaint his sor∣row, proceedeth thus:
DEarest Duckling, be it knowne to you, and to all People, that I have pissed bloud three dayes and three nights since I last saw you, and received that unwomanly relentlesse an∣swer from you: so as your harsh and untoward quality was the onely cause (blinke-eyed Cu∣pid forgive you) of this my misery and ma∣lady. Let it now suffice you, that I am utterly undone by you: while I live to subscribe (and loath am I to live such a Scribe)
Your most unfortunate Servant.
No lesse ruefull was the case of that piti∣fully-complaining Lover, who discovered his Judaicall passion in this manner:
Farre lesse hot in his Love, but more dis∣creet in his Choyce, appeared that Seignior; who having pretended love to a Shrow, though shee seemed a Sheepe, fell so highly in her books, as in the end she became a So∣liciter to her Suiter, importuning him much to marry her; to whom in a poeticall straine hee returned this answer, covertly shadowed under the person of another:
One more I will onely here insert, and so descend to the next subject: wch I have occa∣sionally heard related of a wanton widdow, who scornefully and in a jeering way, dis∣closed that Disdaine which shee lodged in her heart. An ancient Batchler, who had been ignorant before, what the working of Love was, or what effects it produc'd; ha∣ving had formerly good accesse to her house in her husbands time; which promised him, as he thought, no lesse successe now after his death: made one day suite to this widdow; she, neither gave him great hope, nor any just cause to despaire. And thus his cold suite continued, till she falling aboord with a more amiable and affectionate Suiter; one, whose rising-youth both seconded her ex∣pectance, and promised more performance: One day, amongst the rest, upon more fa∣miliarity betwixt them, shee began to ac∣quaint him how such a Batchlers-button had her in chace, and if his arguments did not disswade her, for ought shee knew, shee Page 34 meant to make him her Choice. This shee never intended, for her affection begunne now to be free towards this active youth; and to scorne nothing more, than a doublet with a Monsieurs Belly; a payre of Trunk∣hose; an inclining hamme, and a mouted beard; for so was this old Batchler accom∣modated. Notwithstanding all this, her young choice feared much to suffer a de∣feat; which to prevent, so soone as he came to his chamber, rapt with a poetick fury, or amorous fancy, he addresseth these Lines unto her:
This Letter sent and delivered to her hand, who had already devoted her heart; the selfe-same day she chanc't to leave it up∣on the drawing-cupboord, while she went Page 35 into her Orchard to take a walke: Her o∣ver-worne wooer, as one impatient of lon∣ger delay, came, as it happened, that same time into her chamber, as he was formerly accustomed to doe; where finding this Let∣ter open, and directed with an amorous in∣scription, he dispenced so farre with civili∣ty, and her patience, now in her absence, as to peruse the contents: which did not a lit∣tle nettle him: howbeit, to shroud all things with as much secrecy as he could, he held it discretion; and to discover no passion, till he saw further occasion. While he stood thus conversing with his owne thoughts: The Mistresse of his thoughts came in, never so much as suspecting the discovery of her friends Letter. After some conference be∣twixt them, he renewes his suite, and with the best Rhetorick that the Termes of Law could afford, he enforceth his love-plea; but his long impertinent preamble was soone cut short with this tart answer:
But having thus farre discovered the ef∣fects of Disdaine; and displayed the dan∣ger of this Humour with variety of in∣stances, Page 37 to afford more solace to the Reader, I purpose now to descend, in the same me∣thodicall way, to the rest of the Subjects, as they shall arise in order.
AGILITY OF BODY.
AGILITY of body proceedeth from a quicknesse or vivacity of spirit,* enlivened by a sweet and equall temperature of the Hu∣mours. This appeared in the exact tempe∣rature of that Universall Monarch, the in∣vincible Alexander: whose body was of that excellent composition, as like a sweet perfume, or some odoriferous confection, it sent forth a sweet smell wheresoever it was. The like we reade of that beautifull Alci∣biades, whom Plutarch reports, to be the best favoured Boy in all Athens; one of such Agility, as he bore away the prize in every mastery: of a winning complexion, and performing constitution. Albeit, hee was never more outwardly beautified, than hee was by too free and frequent consorting with his Curtezan Timandra, blemished. His faire face begot him a foule fame. His Agility of body, the gage of infamy. Agile and active women we reade of in all Ages; Page 38 such as even in in publick managements of warre, shewed themselves both for spirit and action to surpasse the effeminacy of their Sex. This might we instance in that war∣like Semyramis, the puissant Thomyris, the undaunted Menalippe, the couragious An∣tiope, the heroïck Hippolite.
In the Empire of Monomotapa, boun∣ding upon the Kingdome of Congo, among all the rest of the Emperours Souldiers, the most valorous in name are his Legions of women, whom hee esteemeth very highly, and accounteth them as the very sinewes and strength of his military forces. These women doe burne their left paps with fire, because they should be no hinderance unto them in their shooting; after the use and manner of the ancient Amazons, that are so greatly celebrated by the Historiogra∣phers of former prophane memories. For their weapons, they practise bowes and ar∣rowes: They are very quicke and swift, lively and couragious, very cunning in shooting; but especially and above all, ven∣turous and constant in fight. And that their Prowesse might be seconded by Policy: In their battels they use a warlike kind of craft and subtilty: For they have a custome to make a shew that they would fly and run away, as though they were vanquished and discomfited; but they will diverse times Page 39 turne themselves backe, and vex their ene∣mies mightily with the shot of their arrows. And when they see their Adversaries so greedy of the victory, that they begin •o disperse and scatter themselves, then will they suddenly turne againe upon them, and with great courage and fie•cenesse make a cruell slaughter of them. So that partly with their swiftnesse, and partly with their deceitfull wiles, and other cunning shifts of warre, with which long custome and con∣tinuance have made them familiar, they are greatly feared in all those parts neare which they inhabite: retaining in them those mas∣culine spirits, as they hold it not sufficient onely to defend their owne, unlesse they inlarge it by their Enemies spoile.
They doe enjoy by the Kings good fa∣vour certaine Countries where they dwell alone by themselves: and sometimes they choose certaine men at their owne pleasure, such as best likes them both for favour and feature, with whom they doe keepe compa∣ny for generations sake: So that▪ if they bring forth Male-children, they send them home to their fathers housen: but if they be Female, they reserve them to themselves, and breed them in the exercise of warre.
So lightly doe they affect any sensuall pleasure, as they would not admit it, were it not to preserve Society: and to continue Page 40 their flourishing Feminine government to a succeeding Posterity.
But wee are to finde other exercises for these Agile Bodies; yet modestly; not such as that Soile to her Sex, the insatiate Mes∣salina practised in her Antonine Bathes. These would strike a glowing shame in a chaste cheeke. Nor will we receive into the List of our Discourse, the least mention of any hard-hearted woman; for our Penne is addressed rather to pencile their praise, than detract any way from their fame. For what, though some women have bestowed their Agility onely upon Cruelty, tyrannizing above the softnesse or delicacy of their Sex; Every Larke may have his crest (to use that old proverbe of Symonides) but every wench hath not the same mole, though the same mould. What though Orpheus were torne in peeces by women? Hippolitus guiltlesly m•rdered by a woman? Hercules poysoned by a woman? The Capitol betrayed by a woman? Few or none of all these acts, but with an e•sy exposition, might admit Apo∣logies. For first, what those women did to Orpheus, might upon the first glance seeme cruelty; yet he may thanke himselfe for ef∣feminating their youth with his melody; the onely moving Scene which brought on his Tragedy. Next, for Phedra, though her f••t admit the worst Apology; had she not Page 41 lov'd so much, she had not become so wilde. The lover is ever blinded, nay madded with affection towards the object beloved. It is not given to us, to love and to be wise. Discretion is admitted for a Directrice in all affaires, excepting love: yea, though the Object of her love was unjust: Love hath alwayes challenged a priviledge in acts of Justice. Thirdly, for Deianira's poysoning of her dearest Hercules; 'las, if there were poyson in too much affection; shee was guilty of it: render her, as shee was, delu∣ded. Glad would shee have been to enjoy him solely, by weining him from his un∣lawfull love of Omphale. There was no ve∣nome in this. Though the issue prov'd fa∣tall; firme was her faith, her love loyall. Lastly, though that treacherous Tarpeia might be as strongly charged with Censures, as she was pressed downe with Targets: All Historians are not of one opinion, touching the moving cause of her Treason. It was not hope of gold, nor of bracelets, but the affe∣ctionate embraces of an amorous youth, who had already surprized her heart, and why not then by her meanes, as well the Capitol?
Nor is it discretion, as I conceive, in man to reflect upon these, by way of aspersion. None ever of their Sex committed so foule a crime, as to burne Diana's Temple, and that Page 42 was done by the masculine spirit of an He∣rostratus. None amongst them so treache∣rous, as to betray their owne Lady, to usurpe an unjust soveraignty; yet was this done by a Nabarzanes. None so cruell, as to embrue their hands in the blood of their owne Alliance for filthy gaine; yet was this done by Pygmalion upon Sycheus. Idaea, indeed, was cruell in perswading her Phi∣neus, Aegenors unfortunate son, and Arca∣dies unhappy Prince, to put out his childrens eyes, which he had by his first wife Cleopa∣tra: but if she were cruell in perswading, he was more unnaturall in consenting. Tul∣lia, indeed, shewed her selfe an unnaturall childe, in causing her charriot to be hurried over the dead corpse of her discomfited fa∣ther: yet was her usurping Tarquin as un∣just, to plant his Empire in blood, which shortly expired to his dishonour. In these then, let us hold both Sexes, as equall de∣linquents.
But these Agile bodies are none of those Bona-roba's that wee are now to converse with: Cleopatra's Pearle-broths, and li∣centious bankets become our Subjects. We must present such active spirits, as were those of Penthisilaea's and Antiope's, who in an amorous encounter would mee• their brave metall'd Macedons, and returne with equally-conferred favours, equall honours.
Page 43These were Ladies, who had never taken Physick to restore their decayed strength, nor been in custome with their Apotheca∣ry for a Potion to procure love, or a Powder to enable nature. Nature had given them that strength, as no Art could improve their state. Suppose them then comming in paires, to receive their first fruits. But you must imagine them withall, taking the ayre, tra∣cing the fields, and traversing the diapred meads, where they are as ready to take as give: To take a Green-gowne, as to give a Sillibub: for if you should barre them of Liberty, they could finde small employment for Agility of body.
LIBERTY points at two Objects properly,*Mind, and Body. The former, the better, because pu∣rer. For restraint of Minde is a miserable servitude. For the other, many suffer restraint of Body, who fully and free∣ly enjoy inward Liberty. This the Noble Pi∣brach proveth in his Paradox of Liberty, with the benefit of imprisonment to a Mind win∣ged with Contemplations heauenly. Which that restrained Lyrick no lesse merrily chan∣ted: Page 44
We are to hold then many free, who are bound; many bound, who are free. Those who are ingag'd to Earth, hold nothing more miserable, than to suffer restraint of body; the reason is, all their Lights and Liberties looke outward: whereas those, Page 45 who make Heaven their Haven, finde no calme but in a composed mind: no free∣dome, but in their Inner-roome. But the Creatures, whereof we are now to discourse, being carried away much by Sense, crave nothing more than outward Liberty; with∣out which, how should they enjoy the be∣nefit of their darling Sense? For they hold Agile bodies no fit stuffe to make Hermits. But admit, they should be coop't up, the Cat, for want of a Consort, will play with her owne tayle. As that nimble Monkey in Cheapside did; who playing her Tricks. above, while her husband was selling his trinkets below: made an assay to lay her heele on her necke; which she did; but like the Weasil in the Fable, could not get it back againe: till at last, after long strugling, fal∣ling out a bed upon the floore, her husband affrighted with the noise, caused his Fore∣man to runne up staires to know what the matter was: who returning backe, assured his Master, that she was either bewitched, or turn'd into an Ou beast.
Liberty is the very key that opens to Op∣portunity: which must be had; for a kind natur'd wench will see light thorow a small hole; yea, and with twirling of their A∣pron-string, have as ready an answer, if at any time taken napping, as if a longer time had given them provision.
Page 46The Tale of a countrey-maid, (for our Stories must fix on all Sexes, States, and Places) falls pat to this purpose: Who, when her Mother found her suspiciously in a corner with a young man:
The like Tale there is of a Good-wife, who being found by her husband in bed with her Neighbour; told him, that she did it for love of him, to save him a labour, and withall, to know whether other men had a stone at rigge, as he had, which made her suspect him for a Monster.*
The Tale of the Court-gentlewoman (to make a faire survey of Ci•y, Court, and Country) may take place in the next Story: Who being found in a long darke entry with a young Cavaliere: Her answer was, Page 47
But of all Stories, there was no Activity, sure, a wanting in those two joviall Bridal∣lers; neither justly could the One find much fault with the Other, having been, by all probability, both guilty: This Bride-groome, first night he was married, after such time as hee had given his Bride that Nuptiall benevolence which was requisite; presently, turning himselfe on his right side, fell a praying: His Bride intending Action more than Devotion, addressed her selfe to him, in this Bridall Curtaine Lecture.
You were told a Tale in our Discourse before, of a wanton Widdow, and her an∣swer Page 48 to a stale Batchler, and importunate Suiter: His resolute reply upon her repulse: With the occasion of that Widdowes an∣swer from a Poëm writ by an amorous young Gallant (which he likewise answe∣red) who disswaded her to lye frost upon greene.* And sure that Widdow was a fea∣ther of the same wing, who finding nothing so as she expected, at least, what her Agi∣lity of body required, twitted her second hus∣band with the ability of her first, telling him,
That arrogant Widdower discover'd himselfe too speedily, to become a speeding wooer: who encountring a rich Widdow, and one of a sufficient pleasing feature, to beautifie her fortunes: Told her, that hee could well find in his heart to make her his Bride, but he thought good first, to impart to her three things, which she might looke to finde from him, if ever she enjoy'd him: and to acquaint her all the better with his humour, they were these.
He shew'd himselfe a discreet Capricorne; who being made acquainted by an intimate Servant of his, that his wife abus'd his bed: and if he pleased, he should with his owne eyes see such a Cumrade of hers embracing her in naked bed:
Hee was moulded to as good a temper, who pretending one day an occasion of Page 51 going from home, purposely to try some conclusion of his wifes private affection: comming secretly home about dead time of the night, found what he had more reason to suspect than expect; his roome supplied by an active Youth; whose Batchler life made him more ready to incroach upon others possessions, than closed either with his honour, or the Owners reputation. His wife steeled with re•olution, as well as free∣dome of affection; tells her amazed Hus∣band, that what was done could not be un∣done.
Page 52That good-wife was of a merry humour, who, after the Miller had taken his moul∣ter, and by all likelyhood had done her a pleasure in grinding her too neare the Lou∣der: could not containe her selfe, but retur∣ning backe, and finding her Husband at home, cryed still—With ô the lusty Miller! Her Husband mufing much at his wifes mad humour: Sure I beleeve, said he, the Miller ha's done thee: yes, I warrant you, Husband, quoth she, and would have done you too, if you had been there. And as she begun, so shee continued her canting hu∣mour; With ô the lusty Miller!
That confident good-man received Sa∣tisfaction to the full of his wifes demea∣nure; who praising her one day above com∣parison, to one of his Neighbours: He ad∣vised him not to be altogether so opinionate of her honesty; but rather to try some con∣clusion whether she was in deed, what shee appeard in show: For, said hee, many can subtilely shadow their shame, and delude the world with a colour, and yet keepe a bit for their Friend in a corner. Be coun∣sell'd then by mee, and I will teach you a way to resolve you of all doubts; and it shall be thus. At night when you are in bed with your wife, you shall aske of her, if ever shee had use of any man beside your selfe; and if she deny it, as there is scarce Page 53 one of a thousand that will at first confesse it, leave the rest to my device; and if shee doe not discover it, being guilty of it, dis∣card me for ever: nay, I will never conjure more, but burne my bookes to save you a labour. This Device her Husband appro∣ved; and now when night approached, he puts those Interrogatories to her, as he was directed:
The next day, after this Spirit had retur∣ned to his shape, he laugh'd above measure, to remember how he had served his credu∣lous Neighbour: Which to requite, you shall heare how he used this jeering Spirit in the like nature.
The very next night he conveyes him∣selfe privately betwixt the Arras; whiles He, who presented before the part of a Spi∣rit▪ is now to converse with a parcell of his Flesh;
He showd himselfe a soft delicate Student, who being in bed with his wife call'd for his Booke. Which his Wife observing, call'd likewise for her Wheele. Why, what doe you meane said he? To fall to my Worke, as you doe to your Booke: And may you speed as I spinne. Meane time, I have spun a faire threed to become his Bride, who makes his Study of his Bed. But if you had made right use of all the Problemes you have read, you might have found that a Study was a place for you to conceive in; but a Bed for me. I could wish you Husband, to turne over Page 57 a new leafe, lest I in time turne Haggard and check at your love.
Which caused this effeminate Scholler, for feare of his Wifes displeasure, never to to suffer his Booke communicate with his Bed thereafter.
It was sometimes my fortune to bee knowne to a brave-domineering Lady, whose Will was her Law, though there was no Law in her Will. For her only sweet hu∣mour, was ever to be out of humour: being never better pleass'd, than to be displeas'd. Her Messe was ever serv'd up with store of Ponts. Her best Cloaths were sure to bee worne on Worst-dayes: and if any Neigh∣bour of quality came to visit her, she would feigne her selfe feverish and out of temper. This humerous Madam, as one cloyed with commanding, and now after the death of her noble Spouse, twitted with the dishonour of her second matching: When she could not revenge her selfe of reproch, tooke revenge of her selfe; by dying no lesse estranged from remorce, than shee lived at distance from repute.
It was a pretty apish answer of that Nor∣therne girle; who being asked by one, how She, being so small and slender, durst ad∣venture on a Man so strong and of so large a stature?
Page 58It was a shrewde reply which that Barbers wise returned her husband; who finding her scowling, louring and all out of temper, and inquiring the cause of that lumpish hu∣mour?
A wanton discursive husband, when he had rioted so freely in his talke, as modest eares grew weary in the discovery of his youth∣full liberty; his wife being then and there present:
That Widdow was in a merry-mourning mood, who having beene Surviver to many husbands: and being asked by one, who upon occasion came to inquire of her hus∣band, who was likewise lately dead:
And seeing Birds of one feather will flock together; That Tale which I have some∣times Page 59 heard of one, will passe well enough for current amongst the rest. A late-arri∣ved Traveller, who had authority to speake of strange things, by the priviledge of his Charter, relating the nature, quality and disposition of a Turke: and how his usuall Course was to have foure Meales a day: and every day to noone it with his wife. The good woman hearing this in the presence of her husband, and impatient of holding any longer:
Should I here relate the servile condition of those Women of Sio; Whose Husbands preferre base lucre before their Wifes honor: prostituting their bodies to shame, in hope of gaine: as I should display the one full of agility, so should I deblazon the other hun∣ting after base commodity. But as the Eliots were wont to bring forth their Slaves drunke, and acting all their obscene and brutish parts, purposely to deterre their children from the like filthinesse; and im∣plant in them a native horror to such un∣manly loosenesse: so I will give you here a touch of the slavish condition of those in∣habitants, to weine the most mercenary Page 60Palliard from the like qualities. You are to understand then, That the Women of Sio are the most beautefull Dames of all the Greekes in the World, and greatly gi∣ven to Venery; Their husbands are their Pandars, and when they see any Stranger arrive, they will presently demand if hee would have a Mistresse: and so they make Whoores of their owne Wives, and are con∣tented for a little gaine to weare hornes: such are the base mindes of these ignominious Cuckolds. A base traffick for money, to make a barter of Honour. There appeared farre more freedome of spirit, and no lesse agility of body in that fat Farrier and his bounsing Hussy; who meeting in a Forrest, and both addressed for pleasure: after long parliance, concluded to preserve the wen∣ches modesty, who seemed loath to doe ought uncivilly; that hee should blow her downe, for otherwise she would not incline to his motion: But how the Forrester com∣posed this Controversy, I leave to the Poet to deliver to you in this Epigramme for me.
To inlay this our Lecture with mixt sto∣ries, I shall adde one only Tale of a spritely Male, who, for love of a Female lost his Maile, and afterwards runne post-naked down Sautry-laine.
There was an Atturneys Clarke, who comming along with his Master by Stane∣gate-Hole, (or the Pursers prize) and hove∣ring a little behind his Master, purposely to ease himselfe: tyed his Gelding to a Stake in the Hedge, and went over into the Thick∣et adjoyning: where he no sooner enter'd, than he perceived a dainty young wench, of an amiable presence, cheerefull counte∣nance, & a wooing eye, beckning unto him, as if she affected nothing more than dalli∣ance: The Clarke, whose heate of youth prompted him on, though his Masters speed call'd him back, friendly and freely accoasted her, preferring his owne sport be∣fore his Masters speed. But while they were clozing up their youth-full bargaine, two lusty Takers leapt out of a Brake and sur∣prized him, calling him to a sharpe account Page 65 for the dishonour hee had offered their Sister: Hee, who had no time admitted him to put in his plea, besought them that hee might bee dismist: which Motion they inclined to, but by no meanes till he had payd his fees. To bee short, they stript him naked to his skinne; seazed on his Port-Mantua: and tying his hands behind him, mounted him Mo∣ther-naked as hee was, into his Sadle. His Gelding, missing his Masters horse, fell a galloping and neying after him. The Master with an other fellow-traveller, hearing such a noyse and clattering behind them, though a good distance from them, looking back, might see one in White with great speed pursuing them: They imagi∣ning it to be one in White Armour, put spurrs to their Horses: where all along Sautry-laine, this eagre chace continued: the man harmelesly following; they feare∣fully flying: till they got to Stilten, where they thought themselves happy in such an Harbour: where they reposed, till that Armed-man appeared a Naked-man; whom we will leave to the correction of his Master: to whom he made a free discovery of his mis-fortune, and consequently deser∣ved more favour.
With which Tale wee will close this Subject of Liberty, descending to the next, Page 66 though confined to a narrower Scope, yet of more ingenuity.
QUICKNESSE OF WIT.
*QUICKNESSE OF WIT, consists in a pregnant present conceipt, arising from an happy fancy or strength of apprehensi∣on, having an answer ready to any objecti∣on: or a pleasing delightfull humour in bandying jests one to another. Which are divided into Festive, or Civile: Both, if seasonably used, and without danger of any personall toutch, freely received; Though the Orator hold, that the former is ally'd to vanity, one degree nearer than the latter.
These Quicke-wits are best exprest in pre∣sent extremities. I have knowne some wits of our time, held it their greatest honour, to contest in arguments of Wit with Women: Nor have they held it lesse honour to gravell them. The conquest was not so virile, that it should reteine any such esteeme: But in these Duello's of wit, I have observed some of these selfe-opinionate ones, faile so farre in their expectance, as they ever merited least praise, where they were most confident of an undoubted prize. Page 67 A just judgement! That wherein Wits are most presuming, they should ever ap∣peare most failing. It is true, what the A∣pologue sometimes observed; Epimetheans are to bee found in every place, but it were rare to finde any one of all Prometheus race. To foresee what may befall, is an eye sur∣passing the lower verge: yea, we shall finde the pregnantst piercingst wits many times most blinded in what imports them most. Apt to pry into others secrets, but neglectfull of their owne▪ A censorious quick-sighted Argus to others Counsells: A blind Tyresias in the Survey of their own. It is a rare feli∣city to enjoy a quick-wit, & to have Humility to manage it. More have perish'd by it, than procur'd them safety from it. Ripe early Wits are soonest blasted; as rarest beauties quickliest blemished. Wherein those are ever most erring, that are most given to talking: especially, in observances, regreets, salutations, complements: which, many times fall out unhappily to those who most affect them; & following the current of Court-Rhetorick, mistake the termes: or through ignorance of the true Dialect of Speech, fall into ridiculous absurdities, by mistaking words, or inverting the use of them; familiar errors to most of our affe∣cted Speakers. This may necessarily seeme to introduce the Tale of that Finitive Girl•; Page 68 who comming downe from her Lady to a Gentleman; and desirous to excuse her Lady, that shee could not presently bee at leasure to receive his Message; requested him, that till her Lady was ready to dis∣patch him, he would be pleased to goe along with her and take some procreation in the Garden. Which could not chuse but puzle him asmuch to answer, as shee poore wench, was simply forward in her liberall offer.
Nor had that Curats wife any ill mea∣ning, how ere her words might be miscon∣strued, who comming to her Land-ladies house, and being asked of her;
Nor did that soft-temper'd Gentleman, show any great propriety of speech, nor per∣tinency of answer, when comming to the house of a neare-neighbouring Lady, and being demanded of her,
But to speake generally of quick-wits, they are naturally bold: which many Page 96 times endangers the owners discretion. There is no Discourse, wherein he will not have an Oare. No Argument, wherein he holds not himselfe fit to be a Moderator. Yet, in this he so farre over-shoots himselfe, as he findes it more prejudiciall for man to be accompanied by selfe conceipt, than to be indued with a meane, but humble conceipt. It was the Saying of a daring Stoick, that he was in all things so well resolved, as there was nothing wherein he so much as doubted: Which was likewise the arrogant opinion of Velleius the Epicurian. His confi∣dence had so strengthned him, as no opini∣on of error could surprize him: Imagining his knowledge to bee lyable to no error, so firmely and irremoveably sixt was he to an opinionate humour. But he who fooles himselfe with such an arrogant confidence, ever fails most in his expectance. He is most wise, who is lest opinionately wise. For he that seekes to be more wise than he can bee, shall bee found to bee lesse wise than hee should be.
But now, whereas many women have singular quick-wits; it is very rare for any such to have them, and not to know them. It is commonly seene therefore in publique Assemblies, how apt they are to give occa∣sion of discourse: and how willingly they embrace any Argument to exercise their Page 70 Wits on. And in this they have a great advantage of the stronger Sexe: For what∣soever they object by way of reason, re∣ceives a more favourable construction, than others may probably expect. For indiffe∣rent things delivered, where little is expe∣cted; begets more admiration in the hearer, than where more solid Arguments are handled, but by such where nothing lesse could be expected. Indeed, the grea∣test error that can bee found in these femi∣nine Disputants; you shall observe some of them (ever teserving our best esteeme for the discreetest and selectedst ones) to flow in words, but droppe in matter. Copiously shall you find them worded; but for matter penuriously stored. Howbeit, their very presence ever accompanies their discourse with an applausive grace.
I have in my time seene a Woman brought before a Judiciall Seate; where she was accused of enormious crimes: and such, as before she laboured to vindicate her owne honour, begot in her Spectators an hatefull horror: yet no sooner had she de∣livered her owne misfortunes; the undeser∣ved extremities of her Adversaries; the dis∣respect she bare to life; the tender care to redeeme her fame; than she begot teares in those who before did spite her: a noble Compassion in such, who before did hate Page 71 her. Now, if a quick-wit, prompt speech, and prepared spirit wrought such effects in actions of that quality, what might they produce in affaires of true worth and magnanimity?
It is true, what an excellent Moralist well observed: that it fareth with wits, as with diversity of Soyles. Some are naturally so fruitfull, that if they should be manured or marled, they would grow over with weedes. Many such luxuriant Wits there be; who, the more they are fed, the more are they famished. These must bee kept Sharpe, or they will not mount. Others there be, who must be forced, or they are starved, but these partake not of such where∣of wee have here discoursed.
To dwell longer on these I shall not need, seeing the Triall of wits will sufficiently informe you. Wee will descend then from those benefits accruing to quick-wits discreetly mannaged, to those distasts they beget by being too lavishly vented.
*PRECIOUSEST things have ever the worst keepers: which proverbe is made good even in this Subject. There was never good Wit, saith the profound Stagyrian, without some mixture of folly. Nay, the best Wits have the vicioust parts. Dange∣rous tooles to be in mad mens hands.
Let us reflect a little then upon that Noble Sexe, whereto we are to addresse our discourse: and in these rich Mineralls of Wit, observe if those purest and precioust metals are not blemished with some foile. Quicke and piercing be these feminine wits: which being well disposed, incomparably beseeme them. For as that Relater some∣times delivering a passionate Speech, ex∣pressed every passage so emphatically, as he begot a generall Compassion in his Hearers; till, in t•e end, Concluding his whole dis∣course, hee demanded of them what they thought of such an Orator? Their answer was, they could admire nothing more.
Page 73Every Action, saith the Philosopher, hath two helves or handles. And we shall finde these two metalld wits strike upon the same Shelves. The one more apt for projecting, the other for discoursing. This tart; That dangerous. As for our old Bel∣dame wits, wee will let them rust in the sheath: Their Plots are ever casting for Husbands for their Daughters: or how they may gather a little more uselesse trash into their knapsacks: which they enjoy with as much content, as those who live in continuall want. Our Stories must take life from more youthfull Madeona's. Such, as to purchase the persons whom they lov'd; and whose fidelity they had sufficiently ap∣prov'd; tooke upon them disguises, that they might enjoy the fruits of their affection with lesse suspition. Others becomming Pa∣ges to those who were foes to their Lovers; to make those whom they lov'd, happy Con∣querours. Others exposing themselves for Slaves, to secure their Sweet-hearts States. Of which sorts, you may furnish your selves with Instances plenteously both in our anci∣ent Roman and our latter Italian Stories. All which, as they pitched upon love, so closed they for most part with Comick ends.
But of all others, there are no Plots more desperately dangerous, then those which are grounded on Iealousie: which in all ages Page 74 hath brought forth such implacable Re∣venge, as nothing could finde it a period without blood. But our desire is not to ri∣vell your eyes with teares; nor to close our Curtaine Lecture with a funerall pile: But to furnish you with fresh Messes of merry mates, where the effects of Iealousie or Revenge shall winde themselves up in mirth. I will begin with the Tale of a Wenching Companion, who could not fare well but he must cry roast-meat: For having received a fair and free entertain∣ment from three severall witty Wantons in his Parish; it could not suffice him to enjoy them but he must boast of it, and so defame them. These three merry Gossips practised one day how they might pay him home in his own Coin: and how they might each of them affright him most, and harme him least.
The first, being a Barbers wife, was long in the suds, till she had wrought what she had so long sought; which the better to bring to passe, with an affable invitation she cheers her youngker, and wils him not to breake with her: for such a day would her hus∣band be imployed in trimming some Bur∣gesse against such a festivall day, and no time more opportunate for his safe ingresse and •gr•sse. The time is observed, all things •••ted: but while these two amorous fa∣ctors Page 75 are in naked imbraces, enjoying each other, by a private practice with her Maid, in comes the Barber. Hee perceiving no∣thing, chid his Dame, for spending so much time in her bed; bidding her arise for shame, for (said hee) I have trimm'd two gentle∣men already: yea, Husband (quoth shee) but I would know him that trimms you. —But you promis'd me, one day, Husband, to payre my toes, do it now for me, and I wil rise instantly. The good simple Barber, con∣scious of no such things as his wife had practi∣sed, began to give an edge to his razor, while his witty wife whisphering underneath, wil∣led the Currier to put out his feet, and to fall low in the bed, for fear of discovery. Which the poor trembling Snake did according∣ly.— O cut me nearer, quoth the Barbers wife: till he went so near the quick, as the Palsie-shaking Cavalier feeling more than hee durst finde fault with, to free himselfe from feare of further torture, bit the Barbers wife into the shoulder. This procured a shreeke from the wife; and caus'd the Hus∣band to lay aside his tool. So taking along with him some Camphier Bals for which he came thither, hee left this shaking Shark with his Subtill Syren together: the one trembling for fear; the other laughing at his fever.
The next was of the Lemnian Order, Page 76 a black-Smiths wife; One, who could forge and hammer any thing cunningly, to com∣passe her pleasure. And shee must play her Pranks too; which the better to effect, this Lady Venus pretends that her Vulcan is to play the Farrier abroad, and therefore pri∣vately invites this Martiall younker to her house, to play the part of a stout and stiffe Warriour at home. Such a pleasing occasi∣on requires all expedition: Love loosens fetters, and transforms feet to feathers to seize upon such a purchase. The way hee findes easie; his free accesse promiseth all successe: He is not only admitted, but per∣mitted to do what hee list. But an unexpe∣cted storme alters this Calme: while these two lye billing like two loving Payres, she heares her Husbands boisterous tongue below the stayres: It is high time then for her now or never to ply her anvile, or feele the fury of her Farrier: which to prevent (no wit comparable to a womans at a dead lift) she opens a Chest which stood close to her bed; and puts in her Paramour by the head and shoulders: and locks it fast, when she has done: Up comes the Husband, cha∣sing like an Horse-leach, and fretting like gumm'd grogran, to finde his wife ith' Cloth-market at that time oth' day. But poor wench, she feigns herselfe sick, giving such a passionate grace to her counterfeit Page 77 groane, as her simple Actaeon imagined her to be sick indeed. He, to comfort his sweet Dulip, asks her what she would have, and where her paine held her most? O, at my stomack, Husband, at my stomack; I finde a great loathing at my stomack. —Where's the Aqua vitae bottle, said the Smith? that will either recover thee or nothing. O, in that Chest, Husband, but I know not where the key is; the griefe of my stomack h'as made me quite forget my selfe. Marry, quoth he, but I will breake it up with my hammer and pincers; —I will not loose my Coy-Duck for a little labour. As they were thus communing, and hee preparing his tooles to breake up the Chest, or this Paramours Cabbin, you may partly ima∣gine what a pitifull perplexitie, that inche∣sted Lecher was in: Which hee discovered, for being not able to containe himselfe any longer, the chinks of the Chest disclosed his feare by the distillation of his Water. Which the disssembling sick Dame percei∣ving; Oh, quoth she, Husband, you may now save that labour, for by the jogging you have made, you have spilt all the Wa∣ter: and I thanke God, I am at better •ase then I was.
This highly cheered the good man to see his wife so well recovered: while she after the departure of her Husband releaseth the pri∣soner; Page 78 who came forth like a drown'd Rat, and without scarce taking leave of his jeer∣ing Minion, run downe stayres in a pelting chafe, vowing ever after to be more wary of preferring such a Didapper to his Choice.
But carnall repentance holds no long re∣sidence. The third merry Gossip, being a Feather of the same Wing, and had purposed to render her Wanton Tell-tale the like Wage: sends one Evening to this Fly∣blowne Flesh-Fly, acquainting him how her Husband, (being an Excellent Painter, and such an One as not a Rush-bearing or May-Morish in all that Parish could subsist without him) was to go a good way (as she pretended) stay a long time from home about setting forth of a Pageant; so as, hee might enjoy the freedome of her love secure∣ly, without the least suspition of any with∣in her family. The Joviall youngker for∣getfull of his late feare, and desirous to se∣cond her ayme, whose love was his lure; with winged speed fits himselfe for this Loves adventure: where he no sooner ar∣rives, than he is received with all expressi∣ons of familiarity and privacy of favour. Though she were a a Painters wife, and one practised much in adulterate varnish, hee found her affection laid on with such Co∣lours, as they were in graine and admitted no staine: for nothing was deny'd him, Page 79 that could bee desir'd by him. Hee found more agility and quicknesse in this amo∣rous Creature, than ever Pygmalion could doe in his artfull (but as then un-enlivened feature.) Prometheus his fire had infused such heat; as never more active nor virile love accompanied Ida's seat, nor Eryca's grove, than that love-entranced Myrmi∣don did enjoy in the seazure of his Pegge Painters love.
But were there no flaw in a Picture, Art might worthily admire her selfe, and e∣steeme her worke an Architype of Nature. Men would in time become Zanies and sur∣fet in the Sweets of pleasure, if there were no Alloes to immix it selfe with it, and allay the quality of it in some measure. This that sensuall Amorist felt, heard and understood; when ready stript to imbath himselfe in his Stove (or if you will) Stue of delights: that perfidious Phidias (for so no doubt our youthfull Gamester held him) was heard below: what a pickle then may you imagine this sou•'t Gurnet was in, at the resound of his voice? But some present course must be taken, to secure this unfortunate Goat, or there is no more life to be expected, than in a Picture which Art onely formed. But a device this Wan∣ton ha's in readinesse, to revenge her wrong; and with some feare to her Bed-fellow, Page 80 shroud both their lightnesse. The Plot is this: She wills him stirre his stumps; and follow those directions shee prescribes him. Hee must now of a living Creature become a dying Picture: he must hang be∣hinde the Doore for something, and bee as mute as if he hung there for nothing. Mo∣ther-naked hee hangs there by the Arms; while the Painter, who knowes little of the Drift or practice either, enters the Chamber, and contrary to the custome of the Countrey, begins to read his Wife a Curtaine Lecture; but shee, tender of her honour, puts up all with patience: telling him withall, that though she lov'd to take her ease, it was not altogether without pro∣•it; she could bargaine in her bed, that would pay for washing her sheetes. And to make this good, looke (quoth she) be∣hinde the door, what a Picture I have bar∣gain'd for at the second or third hand! Tell me now in good sadnesse, did you ever see any one nearer to life? Peruse every vein, sinnew, member, artery; and then resolve me, if ever you saw an exacter piece of Sym∣metry? Trust me, said the Painter, the Work is very lively, only I find one dispro∣portionable part, which our best Artists have ever held a great deformity. Now, the onely blemish which I finde in this Picture, is, that the one Codde hangeth Page 81 longer then the other; which I shall rectify forthwith. The Aguish-supposed Picture, fearing much that the Painter was fetching his knife or some other Instrument in use, to correct that error; which if hee did, he were undone for ever: just as the incensed Painter turned his back, leapt the the scarred Skaledrake from off the hinges of the Door: running naked through the open street, to preserve his Genitories from the stake.
Now, I will not aske you, which you verily thinke of all these put him in most feare, and harm'd him least; for so you may suspect mee that I relate these purpose∣ly to sell you a Bargaine. No, the disco∣very of these sleights was onely to set forth the Levity or want of Secrecy in those, who should be most strong: with the strength of their Revenge, whose Sex argues them to be most weake.
A Story to like purpose in our owne time and in our owne Clime I have heard; and it was thus. A loose Libertine, who car'd little for ingaging his honour, so hee might be Master of his pleasure. Amongst many others, to whom his irregular desires, had tender'd love and service; it hapned that there was a Gentlemans wife of good ac∣compt and approved fame, whose affe∣ction he strongly sollicited: Many repul∣ses Page 82 he received, but his impudence put him on afresh; renuing still his siege, hoping in time to become seazd of the Hold. At last, when shee could by no meanes dis∣swade him from his uncivill Suite, she see∣mingly consented to his request: yet ac∣quainting him withall, that her Honour was such a precious Gemme, as shee desired to have the Fame of it preserved, though it were privately blemished: If then hee meant to enjoy her, he must bee conveyed secretly into her Chamber: which hee, with much willingnesse inclined to. The Night is appointed; the manner of Con∣veying him contrived: a Trunke provi∣ded; to seaze him of what he so incompara∣bly desired. Meane time, shee acquaints her Husband with the whole Plot: Who infinitely longs for the approach of that Night, to discover to his shame, his odious lust: as the wanton Lecher was impati∣ent of that tedious day, to enjoy the shaken fruits of his ranging love. The Porter re∣ceives his hire, and directions from her: willing him to set the Trunke upon end a∣gainst the Wall: and in such manner, as his feet might stand upward, and his head downeward.
Long, may you imagine, did this incof∣fin'd Puffin lye there incased, before hee was opened: at last the Husband comes in, Page 83 and looking about him, demands whose Trunke that was? A Friends, answers she. What Friend, said hee? No friend should have any Trunke or any such matter in my Chamber, but it were fitting that you made me first acquainted what it were, and for what end it came hither. For I have beene partly made privy to your tricks be∣fore, Minion, quoth hee, seeming inraged: I will therefore make bold to see what trumpery you have here; and breake it open, if I may not receive so much favour from you as to have the key. She seeming∣ly dissembled all things, beseeching him to bee content, and spare the Secrecies of that Trunke: but the more her subtilty impor∣tun'd him: the more did her delayes see∣mingly provoke him. To bee short, the Trunke is opened, where this loose Lecher could not inwardly bee more polluted, than his fayre Sattin Suite (whose inside partak't intirely of Sathan) was found hatefully scummered. Now, with what dishonour he was kick't out oth' Chamber, I leave it to you, if you had your wives be∣sieged in like manner, to censure.
But amorous eares, no doubt, would be more delighted with hearing Devices of an other nature: as for instance, to heare the Party beloved cast a bait how she may de∣ceive a suspicious eye, to cloze her owne Page 84 content, and crowne the long-wished de∣sires of her lover.
That Tale of a wanton witty Dame will sound well in such eares, who advised her Sweet-heart, to secure them the better from her Husbands presence, to attire his Servant in a Beares skinne; being a Beast, which of all others he most feared and hated. The Sto∣ry I commend to the relation of this Poeme.
There bee other extreames of love which fall by degrees into mortall hate: hamme∣ring upon nothing more than revenge: and these tragicke effects are ever hatcht from jealous spirits: which the Tragedian seemes to discover in a passionate admiration: How boundlesse is the height of womans hate! This that jealous Dame published to all the World; when finding one day in a Cabi∣net of her Maids, divers especiall Love-to∣kens and affectionate Favours, which shee had bestowed upon a Servant of hers who s•ood strongly interessed in her love; be∣came so violent in her hate towards him, whom before shee preferred before all the World; as the very next time, that he presen∣ted his service unto her, hee was pistal'd by her, without ever so much as expostulating Page 87 with him the ground of her distaste.
Nor will wee leave this onely heere: As mortall, though lesse fatall was that womans malicious pursuit of revenge, (to give an instance in actions of baser brood) who accused one before a Justice for a Rape. The discreet Justice perceiving that the ground of her accusation proceeded ra∣ther from malice than any just cause, wi∣shed her to bee well advised before shee im∣peached him of such a Crime: for, said the Justice, I am halfe perswaded, in regard of the honest report and repute of the man, that hee is cleare. — But tell mee in good earnest, said the Justice, did hee ravish thee indeed? Yes, quoth shee,
Those who are addicted to melancholly, are ever esteemed most witty: and these most subject to Jealousy: On which hu∣mour, of all others▪ the Devill (as Guido observeth) worketh for his owne purpose most powerfully. This might appeare by the Story of that perplexed Gentle∣man; who being imployed in service a∣broad; and having a very beautifull Wife, desired to bee satisfied how shee behaved her selfe in his absence: To bee resolvd Page 88 herein, hee makes recourse to a Negroman∣cer; Who, after some little time, shewed him a Glasse, wherein hee presented to his view, his Lady in full proportion, and a young Cavalero with his breeches downe entring her Chamber: This amazed him much, for as he was naturally addicted to jealousie, so this so fully confirmed and strengthened his conceipt, as hee could scarcely containe himselfe from picking at the eyes of his Lady presented in the Glasse: And to second his conceipt with revenge, he begs leave of the Generall, that he might obtaine so much favour as to leave the Garrison for a season, and returne home in∣to his Countrey, to dispose of sundry af∣fayres which at that time required his per∣sonall attendance. Way being given him, he returnes home: where, though passion would scarce admit a parliance, he thought good to call his wife aside; and with much abruptnesse of speech, fire and fury in his eyes; he askes her what Company she had in her Bed-chamber such a day? She at the first, much amated, yet knowing her own in∣nocency to be without the reach of scandal, at last recollecting her dispersed and distra∣cted thoughts, shee call'd to minde who at that time accompanied her: Upon which recollection, she return'd him this answer:
This Story I inserted, to deterre such from giving too much trust to these Sorce∣ries: For what was the Devils sole pra∣ctice or aime in this false deceiving Glasse presented to that deluded Gentleman; but to suggest to his jealous thoughts grounds of revenge? He was ready enough to shew him occasions to increase his jealousy: but not to discover to him what person it was, to whom his Lady shew'd her selfe so fami∣liarly. He was ready to present to his sight a youthfull active Cavaliero, and that in an uncivile posture, entring his Ladies Cham∣ber: but never the love nor affection shee bore to himselfe, in this office she did to his Brother.
Hee was not halfe so much distemper'd with jellows; being farre more easily per∣swaded, Page 90 though hee had lesse cause to bee so quickly satisfied; who riding one day a Hunting, suddenly and unexpectedly re∣ceiving Newes that his Wife was brought abed, could not choose at the first but break out into some passion; thumping his brest, and doubting still that his Dogs, Actaeon-like, would not know their Master, cryed out, till the Field re-ecchoed againe, I am dishonour'd, I am dishonour'd. One (and such an One very likely as had a finger in the pye) seeing him in this mad mood; be∣gunne to chide him, bidding him be con∣tent for shame, and not to make the whole field witnesse of his folly; for what's the matter, said hee, that brings you to this di∣stemper? Why, my wife (quoth he) is brought abed. And why should shee not, answered hee? Because it is too soone (said this honest Goos•in:) all the world knowes, it is not above twenty weekes since we were married: the Childe then can by no wayes be mine. No more is it (said his friend) it is as much your wifes as yours. But, pray you Sir, tell me▪ will you publish your selfe a Ninnie to all the world! Is it not twenty weeekes since you were married, and twen∣ty weekes too since shee was married; and doe not these two put together make up for∣ty weekes? Tell mee then▪ how are you Unhonour'd? Which reason: this tractable Page 91 Trout had no sooner heard than he became well perswaded: humbly beseeching his Friend to excuse his errour, and not to pu∣blish to the World his folly: which hee promised to doe upon hope of a further fa∣vour; conditionally hee would not suffer himselfe to bee mis-led by any such jea∣lousy.
But to returne to our former Discourse, and the Subject whereof we now treat; As our Quickest wits are many times apt to mi∣nister occasion of distaste: so wee may di∣stinguish these occasionall grounds of di∣staste into three particular or distinct Mo∣tives. Some whereof might seeme so free from giving occasion in this time, as they may admit an exemption, and from so ge∣nerall a rule a regular exception: yet shall we make it appeare that even from Silence, wherein is many times shrowded a great measure of implicit Sense, distaste may bee taken as well as from Speech. For a Sul∣len clowdy humour can never sort nor sute well with a candid nature. But to our di∣vision: Distasts of this kinde may derive their being or essence, from Speech, Silence, or Impertinence. The first, in speaking more than they should; The second, in not speaking when they should; The third, in impertinent action, by declining from doing what they should.
Page 92Now, forasmuch as Instances give the clearest light and perspicuity to all Sub∣jects: our care shall be to illustrate these by examples: that what we propose, by way of opinion may bee confirmed in each of these by some exemplary person.
FOr the first; the Tale of that joviall good fellow, fals fit for our purpose; who to arme himselfe against his wifes shrewde tongue; amongst many other nights of good fellow-ship, stay'd, till af∣ter midnight playing the Cup-shot: and how he was encounter'd by the strength of his Fantasy and distemper'd quality with a supposed Spirit, and how he reasoned with it: all which I leave to the faithfull relati∣on of this Poëm.
For Guido reports that there are Spirits of such a merry Genius, as they are infinitely delighted with such pleasant Conceipts: As there bee others full of melancholy and discontent, who to vaste Tombes, silent C•ves, and darke Charnell-houses make their usuall frequent.
Nor is it easie to determine what affinity this Spirit had to his, who being found tardy, said, he was troubled with a Spirit, and so hotly pursued, as for feare hee was forced for want of other succour, to fly for shelter to his Neighbours wife.
To aggravate the distaste arising from these active feminine tongues, who will ra∣ther suffer the worst of Spite, than allay their Spleene: I might here relate the Tale of that University Virago (for the Civilest Page 95 places are not exempted from these Tetters;) a Girle of a stout stomack, though of a soft and pliable temper: Who, walking the streets one night, either to take fresh ayre, or in hope to encounter with some flush Heire; chanc't unhappily to meet the Major: who standing upon the punto of his autho∣rity, after he had unpin'd the Casements of his eyes with much difficulty, being close cemented together with rising so early; at last ask't her what she was?
There bee other Talkative Girles, who priding themselves a little too much in their glibbe tongues, many times in casting about to catch others, are catch't themselves: which I might take occasion here to in∣stance in the answer of a brave Blade, who being in Company of a bevy of joviall Wenches, who had whitteld him well with liquor; One amongst the rest finding him apt enough to discover his thoughts, im∣portun'd Page 96 him much to tell them what was the worst thing which he in his Conscience thought, hee had ever done all his life time.
Hee, unwilling to satisfie her demand, though seconded with great importunity, told her expresly; That though they had made him as right as their legge to their purpose, he would be loth to make them his Secretaries, who could not keepe their own Counsells: But for her especially, he never meant to make her his She-Confessor, who was as open as a Sieve, that could not hold water. At last, overcome with her instan∣cy, he told her roundly, that since she would needes out of ancient familiarity, injoyne him to such a discovery:
This unexpected answer made the rest of her Gossips bite the lippe: but for his in∣quisitive Comater, shee vowed, so long as she knew him, never to aske him any que∣stions.
AS Speech occasions Distaste by spea∣king too much; so does Silence in speaking too little: This might bee instanced in the discontent which a Sociable good fellow tooke in his wifes Silence: Who had intended, it seemes, to requite her Hus∣bands unthriftinesse, with an humour of sul∣lennesse. He, as it was usuall with him, com∣ming home at an unseasonable houre; asked of his Wife many questions, but received no answer to any. Having tryed many Conclusions to receive one comfortable tone from her, but all in vaine; at last hee resolv'd of a course to bring her to her tongue againe, and it was this: He gets the key of the Sexton, and goes into the Church: where he towls the Bell, as is u∣sually done for such as are dying. Some of the inhabitants come in, purposely to in∣quire for whom it was that the Bell was towlling? It was answered by this Con∣ceipted youth, that it was for his Wife, who was lately laid speechlesse.
Which report, no doubt, would in time loosen the strings of her tongue, and make her Husband know that she was recovered: and cause him confesse as much to his tor∣ment.
Page 98Albeit, in many questions Silence de∣serves to be approved and preferred: especi∣ally in such where the resolution of those questions propounded, may trench highly upon the Speakers credit: This, that for∣ward answer of a witty wench little consi∣dered; who had been long knowne to be no Niggard of her flesh, to One, and that a fa∣miliar One; who asked her the reason how it came to passe that all her children should bee so like their father, when all the World knew that they had many fathers?
FOr the last, though not the least, where distaste is ministred by Im∣pertinence of action, or a diversion from what it should intend, we might here bring upon the Stage, That trifling Girle, who fell a cracking of nuts, while another was taking paines to picke out the kernell of her virginity▪ with his surly answer to her:
Or that ill-nurtur'd Tom-boy; who like one of Domitians daughters, was catching Flyes, while her Sweet-heart was prefer∣ring his Suite. Thus have wee no lesse Page 99 plainely than fully discovered those various delights and benefits arising from Quicknesse of wit, well seasoned: with those distempers and distastes which usually accompany them, when too freely exposed. For these roving wits, as they ever strive to wound others, so they never come home unbai∣ted.
But, as that divine Plato sometimes said, The Lover is ever blinded with affection towards his beloved; So, even in these in∣ward graces, many become so affectionately doating on their owne parts and abilities, as no conceipt how present or pregnant soe∣ver delivered by another, may passe for current, if they may be Censors. So highly are they enamoured of their owne, as they dis-esteeme all others. These presuppose an exuberance of wit, which indeed, many times drawes nearest soaking, when it should be, in regard of the occasion offered, plenteously flowing.
But these presuming wits are ever safest when they are stillest: being generally transported, or extased rather, with a confi∣dence of their worth: as there is no person may evade them, wherein they will not take occasion to use the dexterity of their wits, and assume to themselves more free∣dome than is granted them.
It is a rule worth remembring: Page 100
But indeed, there is no Argument where∣in these prompt and nimble wits are better showne than in these subjects of Love: espe∣cially, where one Object begets an amorous Contest: and breedes Corrivals in pursuit of one Mistresse.
Which encounter admits no order; nay, admits no priviledge nor prerogative to na∣ture, so it may procure that matchlesse Page 101 booty, the purchase of beauty to her Lo∣ver.
This, if I had a purpose to inlarge my selfe any further in this subject, might bee instanced in the Story of the Gentleman and his sonne, both Corrivals to one Lady: and of the Impresses they writt with Dia∣monds in a Window privately, but expres∣sively. Where the Sonne perceiving his Father to bee farre in love with her, whom he so intirely affected: and to whom, if the presence of his Father had not interpo∣sed, he might have beene before that time espoused, wrote this Impresse with his Dia∣mond: Secreta mea mihi. Which posy his Father one day finding, by way of answer, wrote this▪ Et stultitia tua tibi. Which his Sonne chancing to read, clozed the con∣ceipt with this fancy: Nec tibi, nec mihi, sed dividatur. Which words might have relation either to the Party by them equally loved, or to the Impresse before; wherein ei∣ther for Love, or Folly, they might be equally shared.
But descending from these, I passe to the next Subject; wherein Gentle speech must take your eares, as Objects of beauty have taken your eyes: both which introduce a living Oratory, to worke the powerfuller effects upon your fancy.
GENTLENESSE OF SPEECH.
*GENTLENESSE OF SPEECH is an affable treaty or confe∣rence one with another. Or, a winning kinde of Rhetorick, which of all others, purchaseth most friends with least cost. An excellent grace it gives to Hospitality: especially, where a welcome accompanied with a cheerefull countenance is delivered with the mouth: and an enter∣taining eye becomes ready to usher in that speech. Where two meeke men meete toge∣ther, their conference (said Bernard) is sweet and profitable: where one man is meeke, it is profitable; where neither, it proves perni∣cious.
Many Motives be there to induce Fancy, which well tempered, worke upon no blind love, such as a deluded eye doats most upon, but a cleare and well-grounded affection. Such were those exteriour goods or embel∣lishments, which begot love in the behol∣ders of those Sabine beauties: which so ena∣moured the Romans in the infancy of their foundation, as they begot a succeeding alli∣ance in their posterity. Egnatius in Ca∣tullusPage 103 is brought out shewing the whitenesse of his teeth. Lacides with sleeke looks, and mincing gate. Pompey scratching his head with one finger. But as the wind Caecias drawes unto it Clouds; so did outward po∣stures beget sinister conceipts: for Lacides could not use that sleckenesse without suspi∣cion of lasciviousnesse: nor Pompey, that affected scratching with one finger, without opinion of wantonnesse.
White teeth imply a strong constitution; rolling eyes, like Lais Lamps, heate of affe∣ction; with a pure Sanguine, which is ever accompanied with a beautefull complexion. That which Euryala, Nurse to that subtile Greeke, praysed, when she washed the feete of Vlysses, was Gentle Speech, and tender flesh: both referring to two severall Sences; the one to the Eare: the other to the Toutch. Now to expresse the singular effects of the former, whereof wee are here to treat: There is nothing that ingageth more the af∣fection of the Hearer than affability of Speech. I have knowne a great and emi∣nent Person in this Kingdome; who, how undeservedly, I know not, having incurred the distasts of some Societies, touching some indirect passages, as they conceived, whereby they stood highly injuried: upon Conference with them, and declaring his innocency, not only freed himselfe of their Page 104 prejudicate opinion: but gained their good esteeme and affection. Nor is it al∣most credible what excellent fruits, this Gentle speech graced with a pleasing presence have produc'd both in affaires of peace and warre; at home and abroad.
It is the Wise mans observation: Soft speech mitigates wrath. We read of few so barbarous (if Commanders) who could not finde an heart to receive a compassionate teare: nor an eare to a faire submission.
Though Affranius, hearing his effemi∣nate Son cry out—Alas me wretched! hate such a weake servile condition in his Sonne, as he seconds it with this severe reply:
For in our Surveys of ancient and mo∣derne Histories: we shall finde ever some Princely compassionate Spirit, though a Conquerour, suffer in his Conquest. What passionate effects wrought that sad re∣lation of Aeneas in the heart of Queene Dido? How soone were those words (those Emphaticall words) setting forth the Tro∣jans misery, conveyed to the heart of that Page 105 affectionate Lady? But indeed in passages of love; when occasions of distaste chance to bee bred betwixt the parties: upon a faire and free parliance (if that happinesse may bee admitted them) how quickly are minds, before seemingly aliened, reconciled? Their former hate begins to resolve it selfe into amorous teares. So strong is the force of Gentle speech; seconded with easie reasons: which worke well enough in the eare of Love: who, melting in affection, is as wil∣ling to be attoned, as the party to move it.
Whosoever should but see to life persona∣ted that Princely Sophonisba, whose attra∣ctive Majesty and unaffected Eloquence, interessed her selfe more in hearts, than any Princesse of her time; would conclude hence, that a sweet and debonaire Speech works wondrous effects; as might appeare in those moving Speeches of hers, which so tenter'd her Hearers hearts, as •hee herselfe could not suffer more upon reflex had to her owne wrongs, than they did in commi∣serating her wrongs.
It was an excellent commendation which I have sometimes heard given to a Noble Peere of this Kingdome. That none ever came to him, how irresolved soever, but came away from him well satisfied. This was a great felicity: that none, were he ne∣ver so dis-affected to him upon his Entry: Page 106 but departed so well contented, as he won his opinion, whom hee before highly di∣stasted.
True it is, that vulgar Eyes and Eares are only taken with outward Objects. They stand not upon sounding or examining the vessell: so it make a noyse, they rest satisfied. A courteous answer or affable salute affords them sufficient measure of content: and makes them render an approvement of his affability to the World. This is very rare to be seene in the countenance of such who are advanced to high places. These can put on a sterne awfull brow: and make appeare very legibly, how their State is changed.
A poor State that begets pride! An un∣deserving honour, that moulds in the owner a supercilious aspect; a difficulty of accesse; a phantastick circular gate; and a surly uncivile speech! Weake habilliments of honour! But farre weaker Supports to beare that Colosse of honour up, if he should decline.
I have observed an excellent temperature in this kinde, in many of our Ladies: whose pleasing countenance, & affable salutes freed them of that censure which those disdaine∣full women worthily incurre, who hold it the best posture of State to dis-value those they consort with: and as those, who are transported with an opinion of their owne Page 107 worth censure nothing worthy hearing, but what their selecter judgements approve. Dainty Idols to doate upon! These had need furnish themselves of witty Husbands; or the Honey-month will be soone done with them. Whereas those, whom we formerly touched; resemble Lights shining in an o∣ther Orbe.
If their Husbands bee pleasant, they re∣joyce in his pleasure. If he suffer in any o∣verture which he neither expected, nor his actions deserved; they beare a part in his Lachrymae. Husbands to such wifes are made happy in their choice: and have good cause never to wish a change. For they may consort with those they affect, without fea∣ring of being call'd to an Evening account. If their dayes expence should chance to bee too immoderate; they need feare no fingers but their owne, to dive into their pockets, or to make privy search for more than can be found. These need not feare to have their shoulders besprinkled with Zantippee's livery: or to have their breakfast chang'd into a Morning Curtaine Lecture: Or to receive discipline for their last nights error: Or to weare their Night-Capps after the old fashion, with both their eares through them: Or dreame, that their pillows are stuft with horne-shavings. These can play the merry Mates with their wifes, and ne∣ver Page 108laugh till their hearts ake: and heare a horne-pipe plaid, and never rubbe their brow antlers. If they come home late (though sooner were better) they are entertain'd with a chearefull welcome: They finde no Pouts in their dish: nor amongst all their necessary utensils one Chafing-dish. Out of this preci∣ous Mine, was, surely, that good Burgoma∣sters wife cut out, who ever met her Hus∣band at the Portell with a gentle word in her mouth; a sweet smile on her lippe; a merry looke on her cherry cheeke; a paire of slippers in one hand: and in the other, a rubber (not at cuffs) but a Towell to rubbe him after his travaile: whereas that old beldam Thestylis would have exchang'd that rubber with an halter, if shee might have had her will, rather than be bound to such a Taske. And to such an one, without all doubt was he matched; who in a pensive plight, all full of discontent, published to the World, from whence he desired a speedy dismission, his hard Fortune in this Bridall Brawle.
This wench had beene a dainty dangling fruit for Timon's fig-tree. And very likely it is, that with one of this Aery that Falco∣ner had encountred, or at least it were to be wished, he had beene so matched: who comming to a Wedding with an Hauke on his fist, and being asked to what end hee came thither, beeing a Marriage-meeting, and no place for pouting, with his Hauke? answered,
Howsoever, a great measure of discretion is required in an Husband; first, to know the nature and temper of his wife: secondly, in the carriage or demeanure of himselfe to∣wards her accordingly. You see, how the same Sunne works severall effects upon Waxe and Clay: for it softneth the one, and hardneth the other. Let him apply this to his owne condition: by disposing himselfe towards her, to whom hee stands ingaged, nay religiously devoted by an inviolable tye of affection. I have heard of a dome∣stick combat betwixt two, who afterwards became such loving affectionate Turtles, as Page 113 nothing could displease the one, what the o∣ther affected. But before this continued peace could bee procured, or these Civill-warres quenched: many domestick bickerings and skirmishes were there, who might weare the buckler, and returne quarter-master.
The more he laboured to soveraignize; the quarrell ever became more implacable; for she ever ended that dayes conflict with this peremptory cloze:
*Indeed, were all Women of that servile condition, whereof the ingenious Barcley in his Mirror of Minds, reports those women to bee of; who cannot be perswaded that their Husbands love them,* unlesse they beate them: Correction then would bee found the only introduction to affection: But these Nations are more Civile; and our womanish Spirits more Virile, to endure such affronts. It is worthy our observation to relate what happned to one Iordan, in his marrying in those parts; being a native Page 115German, and one who had accompanied Barcley in his Travaile. He reports it thus:
But no modest eare can endure any such breake-necke-love: Wives are not to bee made Slaves but Companions. And as their constitutions are soft and delicate; so should their usage bee mildly tempered and affectionate. Sweet and gentle is their Speech; albeit, no Rule so generall, but admits some exception; full of rich de∣light is their Fancy. No storme of adversity so violent, but their pleasant society will allay it. No losse so heavy, but by the enjoyment of them, supplyed. Those dis∣persed Trojan Dames, how soone had they pacified their incensed Husbands, with a winning kisse, and a friendly salute? Their anger was soone done, when they saw those pearled teares distilling: those amorous armes spred abroad to imbrace them: those pretty witty prattles they had to entertaine them.
These were such harmelesse carelesse Charmes; as they wrought farre stronger Page 117 on the affection, than any other forcible Conclusion.
Now, as I have formerly observed, seeing there is no Society that can possibly subsist without speech: divers qualifications are to bee used, whereby that Cement of society may be better seasoned: and in all Compa∣nies better accepted: which I will di∣vide into these two necessary precepts. The first is, to know what you are to speake. The second is, to know when you are to speake. In the former, is Deliberation; In the later, is Modera∣tion necessarily required. He that knoweth how to speake well, knoweth also when hee must hold his peace: which may serve for an excellent Rule to the Later. Thinke an houre before you speake, and a day be∣fore you promise: and this may usefully serve for a direction of high importance to the Former. These observed, many errors incident to indeliberate speech, may be pre∣vented: which our too free and glib-ton∣gued Dames are usually subject to. I have noted a kinde of pleasing Dialect used by our City Dames to their Husbands: and delivered in that loving familiar way, as it infinitely became them: a kinde of fond∣ling speech, (as I may properly tearme it) or apish toying, neither unpleasing to their Husbands, nor unusefull to themselves: Page 118 as thus: —trust mee, Chick, thou shalt not. —Now, pray thee, Prick, doe not. -iffaith, you'r a sleake youth. —you playd the wag with mee last night. — well, God forgive thee. —wiltst buy mee this toy, my Pigsny? These pretty prattles make me re∣member that free and ingenuous confession of that rich Millanoise,
DISSIMULATION is most in Sem∣blance, least in Substance:* See∣ming most, what it is least: Most in profession, Least in expres∣sion. For,
Sundry proper Emblemes have our An∣tients Page 119 fitted them withall: Some whereof have Emblematiz'd them by Sodoms apples; faire to the eye, false at the heart: out∣wardly, promising juyce; inwardly, pro∣ving dust. Others to the Crocodyles of Ni∣lus; who never weepe, but they intend to wound. Others to the Hyene; who coun∣terfets the voice of man, purposely to prey on man: and requite humane hospitality with savage cruelty. Others, to the Har∣pyes, those three monstrous and ravenous birds, A•llo, Ocypete, and Celano, having maiden visages, but inhumane usages. O∣thers to the Sirenes, the three daughters of Achelous and Calliope; who on a Pro∣montorie or prospective rocke of the Sea were wont to sit, and by their sweet songs and amiable countenance, to draw passen∣gers unto them, whom they slew. Thus la∣boured our antient Emblematists to debla∣zon them; that like perillous shelves, o∣thers might bee aware of them. But cer∣tainly, as the Fish Sepia is bewrayed by a black colour which she casteth out to cover her; So these, though Tiberius-like, they glory in nothing so much as in cunningly cloaking their purposes with fair pretences: going invisible, and deluding vulgar opi∣nion with a Seemi•g good: they must come to bee unmask'd, and then that vizard or disguise which before kept them from Page 120 discovery, shall publish to the World, that as all humane wisdom is vanity, so no vanity lighter than that opinion which grounded it selfe on dishonest policy. This was wittily glanced at in the Apologue: who could not endure that mouth, from which cold and heat proceeded at one time.
Now there be severall kindes of this glo∣zing evill: some whereof, are more pleasing than greatly noxious: more delightfull than dangerous. For wee shall meet with some pretty harmelesse dissemblers, who are so far from plotting or projecting mischiefe, as they intend nothing lesse. Their Ambiti∣on is to purchase some trifling toy, or to wind themselves into their Husbands good opini∣on, by pretending most what they affect least: and by relishing least, what they affect most. Like that good witty wife, who affe∣cted liberty but might seldome enjoy it: and therfore did seemingly dis-affect it; that she might oftner procure it. Of all things, Husband, quoth shee, there are no plea∣sures I so little care for; as these Stage∣playes▪ they are the tediousest Showes to Page 121 mee, that are in the World. And this mo∣ved her Husband, who was of an harsh crosse nature, to carry her abroad to Playes, which shee most affected, though seemingly least desired. Another, who had a Months minde to see the Booths, Jew-trumps, Hob∣by-horses, and other Trinkets in Bartholo∣mew Faire, told her Husband, that she won∣dred (pretending Puritanisme) how people could be so naughtily given and prophane as to feast in such Booths and Brothels of sin, which her tender Conscience even yearnd withall. Which her Husband, no sooner heard, than to th' Faire they must goe: labouring to crosse her in that, which in∣deed contented her most. But you shall finde another merry Wanton, quite of an∣other humour: Her ayme is to purchase her pleasure under a vertuous colour. Her Husband, purposely to raise a rent; will have a Tenant: and many are proposed, but none as yet admitted. A Lodger hee must have: and shee prefers One in her thoughts: but of all others, when hee is in quest, she is ever at furthest distance. This puts on her jealous Husband, who would bee loth to bee directed by his wife in the Choice of his Tenant, to admit of him whom his cunning wife seemingly most dis∣likt, but really most approv'd.
Now, this Dissimulation is most expressed Page 122 in Subjects of Passion: as I have heard a Tale of a passionate Widow (for reverence sake, to beginne with the antientst degree first) who could not content her selfe, but shee would needes bee buried quicke in her Husbands grave.
Nor was that good wench voyde of all good nature, but very tender (it seem'd) of her Husbands safety; who hearing him un∣advisedly, as he was passing over Thames with other company, (as one who wish'd not his owne good) beseech God very hear∣tily, Page 123 that all Cuckolds were throwne into Thames! She kind heart, made answer: "Husband can you swimme? Poore Girle, shee doubted much his drowning; and therefore desir'd to be resolv'd, whether hee could prevent it by swimming? That young wife meant, no doubt, simply; who, when one of her Bridemaids told her the same day she was married, that she verily thought, that never any day would seeme longer to her than that day:
Alas, poore foole! many provisoes were there before she could well incline unto it, yet would she seale to it, provided that hee were well furnished. What variety of eva∣sions this Fondling had, dissembling with her owne thoughs: and pretending what she least meant, that she might appeare to her Bridemaids more indifferent than shee was, for that which she most dream'd of? A pretty kind of harmelesse shift! being, Page 124 what stands most with a maids modesty, and consequently in civility, merits her A∣pology.
No lesse simply than freely, did that single woman (for maid she cannot proper∣ly be tearmed) answer her Confessor; who, after shee had discovered to him a long Bead-roule of loose wanton pranks which •hee confest her selfe culpable of: Her Confessor began sharpely to reprove her: laying open unto her the haynousnesse of those sinnes: and telling her, that whoore∣dome was such a sinne as highly displeas'd God.
There is another kind of dissimulation too, which is so farre from incurring any grounded offence, as it deserves high ap∣provement. And this is, when Beauty is not only wooed, but seemingly wonne, to produce some good effect; by his meanes who imagines himselfe master of the prize. Of these, to omit instances in Sacred Writ, we shall finde our Stories plentuously sto∣red. The redoubted Thomyris could pra∣ctise this feate, to expedite her Sonnes re∣venge: and restore her Countreys fame. This did that chaste Penelope, deluding her numerous Suiters with hopes of successe: on∣ly to spin out time: and with her never-fi∣nished webbe to keep them ever in suspence. Page 125 This did that wise but unbeleeved Cassan∣dra; who, seemingly inclined to Apollo's suite; that hee should injoy her; if hee would bestow on her the gift of prophecy: which, when she had obtained, she denyed him that which she had seemingly granted. But the preservation of her Chastity impai∣red the Credit of her prophecy: being ne∣ver beleeved, were it never so true that shee related. This pious act did that memorable Hypermn•stra, who pretending nothing lesse than what her vertuous aymes directed themselves wholly to; saved her husband Linceus, from that fatall massacre, commit∣ted by her Sisters, in slaying their husbands. Nay, it ha's beene the safety of many flou∣rishing estates to dissemble Vertue•• and to comply with the times; ever expecting some faire opportunity to put in execution, what their addressements for the publique led them to.
This wise and commendable kinde of Dissimulation, some of our witty Wenches many times use; in putting on a Counte∣nance of Disdaine, at least, of strangenesse towards those whom inwardly they un∣feignedly affect. Nor have these Sleights produced insuccessive effects to their desires. For by this meanes, have they enjoyed, what their simple inclining affection would never have made them Mistresses of. For Page 126 profer'd fruit is sedome tasted: and if tasted, not halfe so well relishing, as if restrained.
Those golden Apples which the Hes∣perides, those three watchfull Daugh∣ters of Atlas so carefully kept; were more preciously esteemed, because they were by such vigilant beauty guarded Forts which open to their Beleaguerall. passages, unlesse the miseries of a long Siedge have brought them to that pusillani∣mity, promise no rich booty: nor to the winner any glorious victory. The way then for beauty to be priz'd, is to be rarely seene: and when seene, so indifferently seeming to be seene, as it desires to retire so soone as it is seene. This is the load-starre to affection, to •eeme estranged from the least thought of affection: and to fixe least in that Object, which h'as most interest in her heart. This that subtile Coy-duck had learn'd to an hayre: when, if any time she were invited with her jealouse Husband to a publique Feast; shee would alwayes fixe her eye upon the antientst and reve∣rendst in yeares at the Table: whereas the eye of her inward affection was elsewhere spheared: assuring her Husband, withall, that no Sight was more seemely in her eye, nor convey'd more reverend love to her heart, than a grave Old-man, who had al∣ready spunne the entire webbe of his Follies: Page 127 and could discourse with all sobriety of what he had seene in the World. And this neate kind of dissembling pleased her credu∣lous Husband out acry. For he believed, good man, that there was a thorow fayre be∣twix his Wifes mouth and her heart. Whereas, Meander had never more win∣dings, than she had dainty sleights and de∣vices, to delude his facility: and to shrowde from the World her private affection to youthfull liberty. Till in the end, found where she lest suspected: and closely infol∣ded in the embraces of a loose Lover, whom she entirely affected: she begun to relin∣quish shame, and in a publique manner to contest against her Husbands disability: And how her modesty had so long re∣strain'd her: but seeing no hope of reme∣dy, she held change no robbery: and that no Censure should thenceforth abridge her liberty. This Dissimulation produc'd a dangerous issue; such as a vertuous brest cannot harbour; we will therefore divert from this, and returne unto the former: being such a modest bashfull kinde of puni∣shing their desires: as, many times, that too much retiring or restraining of their Love-sick thoughts, procures no small di∣stemper to those who love and would not be thought so. As it hapned to that noble Ita∣lian Lady; who, loth to impart the ground Page 128 of her love: or to make any other, Secre∣tary to her owne brest: fell into such a languishing sicknesse, as, though the exper∣test Physicians of those parts consulted a∣bout her; labouring by all the meanes they could use, and all the receipts they could apply, not onely to discover the source and occasion of her griefe, but allay it: yet all their experiments were in vaine: they could not finde out the Cause: till shee at last (drawing neare her last) discovered it: For when her vitall parts began to bee so enfee∣bled, as they surceased to performe their of∣fice, and all hope of recovery perish'd, in the presence of her Dearest, whom, till that dying period, shee never made least show of, to be her Dearest, she tooke leave of all the World with this Dispassionate cloze: Adue, my deare Leontius. Which words were the last shee ever spake. But what deadly effect those words brought forth in her Leontius; the Story amply relates. For if the words of dying men be precious even to strangers: how impressive the voice of one we love, calling and beckning to us from the death-bed! O what a passio∣nate conflict, what a soule-dividing combat doe those words raise! How strongly doth griefe and affection, like Sisiph•s loving Twins, strive to inclose them! knowing that in a short space, a very short space, Page 129 that tongue, the Organs whereof yet speake, and move attention by their friendly ac∣cents, amorous interbreaths, teare-trickling adieus, was to be eternally tyed up in silence; nor the sound of their words salute our eares any more. This it was, which brought heart-sicks Leontius, to his bed of Earth soone after her. For recollecting with himselfe, how his love was the sole cause of her death: like an affectionate Mate, who well deserv'd so faithfull a Mi∣stresse, after her Obsequies finished, he im∣mured himselfe from all society with the World, where he enjoyed himselfe, till his many pensive dis-consolate houres brought him to her whom he loved above himselfe. But these are too heavy for soft •ares. That Love deserves approvement which is till death: but that Love requires a seasonable restraint which may occasion death. Those two Lovers are more for our purpose, who one day falling into a piece of Country-love-Complement, proceeded thus:
When a man bleeds at the nose, and through abundance of blood is brought in danger of his life, the Physitian lets him blood in his arme to turne the course of the blood another way. Let us apply this Phy∣sicall experiment thus: If Love issue out in too violent a streame, it is to be cooled by a temperate expostulation with Fancy: by discussing the probability of those grounds of affection which have taken seizure of the heart. Or else by fixing our eye upon some more attractive Object, divert the course of that madding passion.
But against these two it may be objected: For the first; that is a coole Love, indeed, that will admit of any such expostulation: for this would imply discretion; such Page 131 should be as farre estranged from Love, as youth from affecting the gravity of age. Loves axiome is this: None can truly love and be wise. And must affection then bee regulated by deliberation? Must wee exa∣mine what reason wee have to love, when Love even to this day hath beene ever im∣patient to converse with reason? Must we discusse what probable inducements wee have to love; when there are no such ar∣guments suffer'd to bee disputed of in the Schoole of Love? Must wee fall to betray Love, in asking Friends and Parents what they will give? Or stagger at our choice, or study a change; when our choice ranks not with us in blood; or Fortunes, or dis∣parity of yeares; or difference in other Tenets, which more concerne us? This were coole Love! And yet should Love be so moderate, if rightly seasoned: For to make choyce by the eye without relation to Reason, makes a •oole of affection: But what receipt against love when it breakes forth into extreames? Absence from the Object you love Yea; but Love is more vehement, when deprived of her Object. It is, where Reason gives reines to Fancy. For then is the Party beloved ever made the Object of the Imagination. This begets an obstruction in the stomack▪ a malignant quality in the appetitive part. This estran∣geth Page 132 the Eyes from sleeping: Because the representment of the person loved keepes the Senses ever waking. This distracts the eye, and makes it looke wildly: never min∣ding that whereon it fixeth, because taken up wholly with that it fancieth. And for that (as one well observes) Love is not to be strangled, but easily repelled, and by di∣stance allayed; and not only distanced, but by employments wearied. The way to remove an inconsiderate Love from taking too deepe rooting in you, is to pre∣vent the way of thinking of the party you love. Like that brave Spartan Lady, who when she heard of a disloyall act done by one whom she held deare; would not suf∣fer her thoughts to entertaine him; saying:
Now, for the latter Objection; how should we, will you say, fixe our eye upon any Object more attractive, than his per∣son to whom we have ingaged our heart? If we were, indeed, like those Paphlagonian Partridges (whereof our Naturall Histori∣ans report that they have two hearts) then Page 133 might we have one for an apparent Friend, and an other for a Friend in a Corner. But as a heart divided cannot live; no more can any Object really attract the eye, but what the heart doth unfaignedly love. Where the treasure, there the heart; but no treasure like Love to enrich the Treasury of the heart. The heart guides the eye: and can wee turne our eye from that Object which guides the heart? This were to dis∣semble with love: and disesteeme that which we most honour: despice that wee most tender: all which would exact re∣venge one time or other. This were too subtile love to come from a true heart! And yet, if you desire to prevent erring, you must in this manner mould your affection. Love by degrees, was a Sages Counsell: lest by bestowing all your love in wooing: you leave none when you come to marrying. It is said of the Iuniper tree, that of all other trees it makes the hoatest coale, and the coo∣lest shadow: The coale being so hot, that if it be rak't up in ashes of the same, it continueth unextinguished by the space of a whole yeare. Be you such sweet Iunipers; Woooers are but Shadows, saith the Poet; be your shades coole; but your coales hot. When you are once come to the heigth, heat and true fervour of love: let no steames of forraine fancy darken it: no stormes Page 134 of adversity weaken it. Yet let the Intro∣duction to Love, after you perceive a like∣lyhood of proceeding, be so mannaged; as your too much coynesse occasion no dis∣couragement. For by that meanes may you timely avoide, what your disdaine may otherwise deservingly inflict. But of all others, beware of Love-letters; for they are such Injunctions as you cannot appeale from. With such reservancy then become Warders of your 〈…〉 uningaged hearts, as your Favorite〈…〉 never shew witnesses against you under your hands.
*I knew one, who, excepting this Error, demeaned her selfe in actions of discretion and modesty, above the reach of scandall or reproofe; But betraying her love to the secrecy of Pen and Paper; and falling after∣wards to inconstancy, ingaged her selfe to her forsaken Friends privacy. Who so ten∣dered her esteeme, that till such time as shee had made an apparent breach and violation of her vow, by relinquishing her former choyce, and bartring love with an indiscreet exchange, never disclosed those sacred-secret ingagemenes shee had made; but with a constant defence of her honour, labour'd ever to cover her shame.
And this is the worst kinde of dissembling in affaires of love. For to dissemble or dou∣ble with ones Faith, is a dangerous equivo∣cation: Page 135 beeing such, as makes the Party which shewed inconstancy, of all others, most miserable in their affection. For it is not the outward rite onely which consum∣mates a Sponsall love: For if their hearts be not linked, before their hands bee ever joyned: their house musick is very likely to close in discords.
As I have sometimes heard a pretty plea∣sant Story, of two, who after such time as they had beene a 〈◊〉•hile married, fell into such debate an• vari•nce, as all such as neighbour'd neare them▪ were wearied with them: but their next Neighbour worst of all, for it was his hard fortune, good man, to ride for them. After they had continued thus for a good space, in these Civile broyles, without any amendement: One Evening, being in bed together, sayes the Husband to his Wife: This is a wonderfull thing, that we must after this manner all the yeare long make our House a Fencing-Schoole: Sure, Meg, quoth he, we were not rightly married, or else we should have liv'd more peaceably together: for wee have not any two Neighbours that so fearefully baste one an other. What thinkest thou, Wife, if we be married againe, and see if that will mend the matter? The Wife easily consented to his motion; and held it fitting, saying, she would doe any thing for a quiet life. With Page 136 all speed then runs her good man to a Sir Iohn; who, as he could read on no booke but his owne: so he was of no such deepe reading as to know whether Re-marrying were lawfull or no.
A new Bridall-feast is provided; Friends invited; nothing wanting to perfect what they both intended. At last, comming to the Church, Sir Iohn falls to worke; where he goes on still and without interruption, till he came to Who giveth this woman to bee married, &c. and holding her by the hand, looking ever when some one or other would doe the office of a Father, to give her:
But to dwell a little longer on this Sub∣ject, now in agitation; as pure love can admit no dissembling: so are young women to be cautious where they fixe their love. Many shall they encounter with all, who professe affection to all. But their drift closeth ever with such a Curtsy, as may ha∣zard their honour. These are our Liber∣tine Batchlers, who chuse rather to graze in Common pastures, than Inclosures. Yea, many of these will boast of your Favours: and i• publique places speake liberally of Page 137〈1 page missing〉Page 138〈1 page missing〉Page 139 will doe before their sweet Husbands depar∣ting; With — Hey ho — what shall I doe deare Love, if you dye? Marry another (sayes the Comedian) before one stitch of his shrouding Sheet bee broken; or those flowers which stuck his Corpse, bewithered; or one Wormling entred his Coffin. Yet will these cunningly disguise their solace, and with teare—blubber'd vizards close up his eies, and infinitely rejoyce in that last of∣fice. Then must they at his interment see∣mingly desire to be buried with him; rave, and looke distractedly, as if fancy had brought them to a frency; leape into the Grave; and performe all these pageants with such a com∣pletegrace; as not a Neighbour attends them, but suffers with them: commending their simple hearts, for leaving with such unwil∣ling hearts their faithfull Husbands.
But this sorrow is nothing so sincere as the Story of the Indian women discovers the lovely and lively effects of their mour∣ning. Who upon the interment of their Husbands, strive (by way of an amorous Encounter) in relation of their deservings to him, and his expressions of love to them, which of them may have the honour to bee buried with him. The Body of the Story presents it selfe thus: The women of India, when any of their Husbands dyeth, are wont to fall in contention through the ve∣hemency Page 140 of their affection, which of them (for they have many Wives) he loved best in his life: Shee that winneth, being very joyfull (and solemnly attended by a great Company of her Friends and kinsfolke fol∣lowing her) is cast into the fire with her dead Husband.
But were these, whereof wee now dis∣course, put to that Election, a short strife would end that contention. They must live by the quicke and not by the dead: and a living Dog is better than a dead Lion.
But the wantonnest of these cannot bee so light, as their Gentleman Vsher is, for most part loose: whom to the end we may here portray in his owne Colours, and to life the better, we have deliver'd in a Cha∣racter; which without any other discovery will present you him in his feature. Yet be∣fore wee go on in this lively delineature of so dangerous a Piece: Our purpose is to propose some reasons why wee have here brought him upon the Stage: and with what propriety hee fals upon our discourse; which may appeare in a more copious and perspicuous manner in this our prepared re∣lation hereafter.
There is a conceited Treatise composed by an Italian (as what wits more pregnant or present) intitled a Supplication to Can∣dlelight: discovering the abuses committed Page 141 and curtained by the silent and secret Shade of Night; where it might bee demanded, as God in Esay did sometimes aske the de∣vill our watchman, Custos, quid de nocte? What seest thou? what discoverest thou? Though Lanthorne and Candle-light hang out; though the Bel-man traverse the street; though the Constable and his rugged Gowne-men after a nod or two, take care for discharge of their place and punishment of vice, to put out a peremptory Question to a Night-walker, from whence came you? or, whither go you? whom do you serve? or, what businesse have you so late? yet it seemes they have no Commission to ex∣amine Coacted sinne: These may hurry a∣long by their Noses: and shroud a loose Gentleman-Vsher with as light a Curtezan in a running-Brothell from those conniving eyes of Endymion and his brotherhood. And this light piece must bee conducted to his Lord, while hee is to bee admitted to his Lady; to present both their Actions on the stage of Folly. With what a commanding posture rides this Foot-cloath sinne? How apt to forget his composition; and how con∣fident in the priviledge of greatnesse? These, generally, have their Purveyors to furnish them with such stuffe as may content their liqu'rish appetite, and feed their intempe∣rate desires with fresh fuell. In every So∣lemne Page 142 or Festivall Show, these Forragers take their stand: eying what beauties are of most attractive quality: then inquire they of their places of habitation: Occa∣sions they take to converse with them: and in short time so to winne in upon them: as they beginne to commend their Masters suit to their too easie attention: and with long battry, according to the strength of the Fort, so seaze on their affection, as they make entry to their Lords admission: clo∣zing their indirect aymes with an unlawfull Conclusion. These Contractors for ble∣mished honour; or those obscene Palliards, who preferre their trafficke in sinne, before the treasures of Sion: were sitte attendants for that wanton Damasella, who portray∣ed the affection of her heart in as light an Imprese; writing these lines with her Diamond in a Window:
Her Choice, it seemed, affected nothing more than Change. She could not conceit how any love could possibly be so pure, as to be confined to one Object: or so firme▪ as to restraine it selfe to one Friend. Her Page 143 Barge stood ingaged to many Owners: Whosoever would hazard their fame upon the adventure, might finde her as ready to impaune her honour: This was the condi∣tion of that Wanton Florentine, whose dire∣ction it was to some of her closest and se∣cretst reteiners, to invite such, whose perso∣nages promised performance, to their La∣dies house: for whom shee had a private Garden-house, where shee would as freely impart her Curtesies, as if one houre had made them commanders of her affections.
This was farre from that chaste and tem∣perate soveraignty, which that ever ho∣nour'd Lady bore over her desires: who being one day highly advanced for those exquisite parts which did accomplish her: and that incomparable beauty which made all others inferiour to her: answer'd her Husband, upon the recitall of those indow∣ments, in this manner:
Now, there is nothing that estrangeth affection from the party whereto it stands religiously ingaged; but either Contempt of that Object which it ought to love: or selfe-opinion in conceiting it selfe too wor∣thy of that Objects love. For the former; many Tragicall instances might be produ∣ced: Page 144 where the Parties Contempt begot in the Owner such Discontent: as nothing could heale it, but what did seale it with blood. Which distaste, as it is privately grounded, so these dangerous Agents, for most part aggravate it: Suggesting to them other beauties, or promising personages to to alien their affection from their owne. Now, for selfe-opinion; it is such a wor∣king illusion, as it presents myriads of fan∣cyes to the imagination. For if it bee in the Woman, it begets in her such a disdaine: as first, shee entertaines her Husband with a rare accesse: She prescribes seasons, which, good man, hee must observe, or keepe his distance. But a short time makes a perpetu∣all Progresse betwixt them. Beds must be di∣vided: A Countenance of strangenesse enter∣tained: The Baths must be visited: Private Friends admitted; Now, Gentlemen-ushers provided, such as can be secret, and with resolution performe their arrand. Her Doctor must tell her, and in the presence of her Husband; that living apart for a season would be infinitely usefull and behoofefull to her weak Constitution. And he beleeves all; puts up all; prayes for his wifes need∣lesse recovery: while shee, kinde Ducke, wants nothing but fresh imployment for her Libertine Fancy.
Long would it bee, ere shee would give Page 145 that repulse to an importunate Suiter (if his presence deserved the stile of a Lover) which that vertuous Theodora did to an eminent personage: whose inward parts, as they were exquisite, so were his outward highly accomplish'd. Who, being long time sol∣licited, but never vanquished, at last, by her vertuous instructions, she so won in on him, as he beganne to conceive a remorce; and to turne the course of his affection to a ver∣tuous admiration. This, when that Noble Lady perceived, to strengthen those good motions in him, which formerly had beene so farre estranged from him; One day, af∣ter such time as they had long discoursed to∣gether, but in such manner, as nothing was lesse intended than actions of dishonour: and he, taking a Lute in his hand, had plaid Lacrymae unto her: she forthwith, retur∣ned that Lute-lesson with a faire requitall in this pious direction:
Now, if this Selfe-opinion domineere in the man; how quickly dis-affects hee his Choice? No House more estranged from him, than his owne. No Bed more dis-re∣lishing, than what should be most pleasing. If hee at any time make his Gallery of the Street: his eyes are so farre from imitating the Swanne in fixing them on his feet, to bring him in a dis-esteeme with himselfe, as they gaze upon every Belcone. Not a win∣dow opens; nor a painted face lookes out; nor an enforced smile; nor leering eye; but these injoyne a Salute from him: an amo∣rous humble Cringe to an unknowne face: a formall curtsie, to a borrowed beauty. This Object sets his unfortunate Genius a worke. He h'as taken precise notice of her lodging: although her moveable estate will not suffer her to sojourne long in a place. And hee Page 147 resolves to lye siege to this easy-wonne Fort, and to call her to Parliance by Paper-pel∣lets. To the Soveraigne then of his thougts, whose short acquaintance might in mode∣sty impose a silence, he addresseth his letter, like a soone-taken Lover: His Page must deliver it; but so weake and imperfect was his Masters direction: and so little to life this Maddona's description, as many times, foolish Boy, he miscarries in his arrand.
As it sometimes hapned upon like occa∣sion, when an amorous young Gallant, and a profest Courter of Casements: having ta∣ken especiall notice of a young beautifull Lady, who, as hee thought, deserved as much love, as any earthly beauty cou•d possibly merit: and collecting by her eye, that there was no aversion in her from fan∣cy; sought by all meanes to become parta∣ker of his hopes; which all the better to expedite, hee sends his Page with a Letter to intimate the constancy of his zeale to her; and how hee preferred her affection before any contentment whatsoever. This unfortunate Boy, whose heedlesse care to his directions, made his Master as haplesse in his affections, comes to this Gentlewo∣mans Lodging, where he delivers his Let∣ter, but to another hand than he was dire∣cted to by his Master. Howsoever, the antient Matron, who not onely by the be∣nefit Page 148 of the roome that was darke, but with her cypresse hood vailed, perceiving well shee could by no meanes be discovered, or distinguished; not onely received his kinde amorous Letter, but return'd by the Page another: acquainting his Master, that, al∣beit nothing was more precious to her than her honour, and how many spyes were o∣ver her in regard of her strict charge, which was given the Matron of the House by her Father: if he would privately come to such a place such an Evening, and re∣turne her some valuable pledge of his pro∣fessed affection, shee would dispense with what shee tender'd most, to second his de∣sires. How acceptable this Letter was to this frolicke Gamester, we need make small question: But tedious seem'd the houres till this Evening came: which winged his loose thoughts with all speed, to approach the place of meeting. And to the end, hee might with more freedome enjoy the Ob∣ject he sought; he had furnished himselfe of a rich Juell, to ingage his affection unto h•r; and to confirme what hee had professed in his respect to her, whom hee so highly honoured. The experientst old Ma∣dam, who had more wayes to the wood than one; faithfully observes the time: and in such a disguised way, as she might be the Grecian Helen for ought that hee could see. Page 149 A sweet perfumed Roome; a rich bed; and so closely curtained, as old age from youth could not bee discerned. Nor needed hee to feare her coynesse; though shee pre∣tended at first a kinde of apish nicenesse. For the long Custome and habit of sinne had so inured her, as nothing lesse than modesty or shamefastnesse could possibly become her. Having now received the Gen∣tlemans Juell, which shee preferred before all his dalliance: she entertaines him with as free and liberall an embrace, as her icy-cold armes could afford. But scarcely had hee entred that Brothell-bed, or enjoy'd his seere and meldew'd Mistresse; but a fearefull cry of fire breaking forth with much violence in the very next Lodgins, with scaling Ladders raised to every Win∣dow, prevented the unfortunate Gamester of his decayed pleasure.
The unweldy Beldam, not willing to dye before shee were better provided for it: leaving her Mufflers behinde her, crawles with the best speed shee can from her shud∣dring Gallant: who seeing, by the light of the flakes of fire, and multitude of Toar∣ches without, the bald Scalpe of his Chop∣falne Bedfellow: made no lesse haste in fly∣ing away from that Hag, than she did to es∣cape from the fire. Nor could they without, cry faster Fire, Fire: than he within cryed, Page 150A Fiend, a Fiend. Nor had he power to get out of the Chamber, so surprized hee was with terrour. Till all feare of fire beeing removed, and all occasion of further disper∣sing it, prevented: The Constable of the Ward being desirous to know what raised that cry; entred the roome, where he found this halfe-distracted Gentleman, running up and downe the Chamber: and this de∣crepit Chrone, shoulder-shut with a fall, lying all along behinde a Trap-doore. But when the Constable had heard every pas∣sage, upon the Gentlemans relation, who uttered nothing without much distraction; to coole her fancy, and temper his frency; hee made bold to bestow them both in con∣venient Lodgings for such unseasonable Tradings. Which egregious disgrace so re∣claimed him, as loose love for long time af∣ter was a stranger to him.
The like Story might be here related of a young Prodigall; who, after such time as he had betaken himselfe to a Choyce: One d•scended of a noble family; and adorned with excellent Ornaments to accomplish that descent: growing weary of the en∣joyment of one beauty: & affecting nothing more than change: after many modest Curtaine. Lectures which his wife had from time to time delivered unto him, to decline him from that loose course which threatned Page 151 to him and his posterity an approaching misery: fell to that debaucht and exposed riot both in the Choice of his Company, and prostituting himselfe to all inordina∣cy: as it begune to lessen the respect and affection of his wife unto him: holding e∣quall distance with him, as he to her.
It chanced one time, that this Night-walker traversing the Streetes: and with other Associates exposed to the like loose∣nesse, entring an House of good-fellowship, where any light Commodity might be pur∣chased for money: the Protectresse of that brittle Society, to discover her Office and quality; demanded of these Cavalieros if they would have a Withdrawing roome and a Mistresse? By all meanes (said these Gallants) for what end came wee hither? And having bestowed them in severall roomes; Every one was readily furnished with his light Curtezan. But this prodigall young Gallant, on whom the Subject of our Discourse is here Sceaned, had of all others most property in his: for she was his owne wife. What a strange kinde of passion or Antipathy this intrview begot, I leave to the strength of your imagination; who can to life present two such Objects, as if you had beene in presence of them. Long was it ere the one could utter one word to the other: with glowing blushes some∣times Page 152 disclosing passion, sometimes shame. Affection was farre from giving way to a∣ny amorous encounter: and though Looks might speake, their Tongues had quite forgot all Dialect. At last, after a long continued silence, in an abrupt dis-joynted manner, her Husband addresseth himselfe thus unto her.
This advice delivered by so deserving a Creature, and in so winning a manner, might have wrought singular effects in any plyable or well-disposed Nature: but so strongly steeled was his relentlesse heart unto these, as with a disgracefull and unci∣vill kicke hee pusht her from him: vow∣ing, withall, to publish her shame to all the world, if she desisted not after that time to sollicit him, or personally to repaire unto him.
So strongly had those loose and light Consorts seaz'd on his affections: as stolne Waters seemed to him the sweetest. A con∣jugall joy, was a servile yoke, which his misery afterwards felt: being both by friends and fortune left. For having offe∣red the remainder of his decayed estate to that Common Sewer: hee dyed a miserable unpittied Begger. Whence we may collect and confidently avouch: That a great of∣fice Page 155 is not so gainefull (though too many at this day in their rising revenues to their injurious owners highly usefull) as the Principall-ship of a Colledge of Curtezans: no Merchant in riches may compare with these Merchants of Maidenheads, if their femall Inmates were not so flitting.
This may appeare in those usefull Collecti∣ons gatherd out of the History of Italy: the truth and authority of which testimony, if we may credit; Rome wanteth no jolly Dames, specially the street Iulia; which is more than halfe a mile long, faire building on both sides; in manner inhabited with none other but Curtezans; some worth tenne, some worth twenty thousand Crownes, more or lesse, as their reputation is: And many times you shall see a Curte∣zan ride into the Country with tenne or twelve horse waiting on her.
But to looke back upon our discourse: As there is nothing more dangerous to youth than selfe-opinion; so is it a cure of greatest difficulty, having taken once seazure of a Woman. This that flowrishing State of Mantua was in great hazard to have felt: when Isabella wife to Luchino Visconti, Lord of Millaine, a very faire woman; feigned to her Husband, that shee had made a so∣lemne vow to goe in Pilgrimage to Venice: and under that colour, obtaining licence, Page 156 she tooke Mantua in her way; where she lodged in the house of the Gonzagi, antient friends unto her Husband. And after she had supped, sent secretly for Vgolino; unto whom she declared, that for the fervent love she bare to him, she had taken on her that journey: beseeching him, in lieu of her entire affection, to keepe her company unto Venice.
This Loves-intended-Pilgrimage came to the eare of Luchino; who provoked therewith, laid siedge to Mantua; albeit, finding the friends of Vgolino innocent of the fault: and that Guido his father did his best to correct him, Luchino through inter∣cession, raised the siege.
Fitting for our purpose is that Story which our moderne age brought forth, being in effect thus. There was a dainty beautifull young Lady, who, selfe-opinionate of her owne worth, after such time as she had been a space married, fell in dis-esteeming of her Husband. He, having sought by all meanes to regaine her good opinion, and to ingrati∣ate himselfe in her respect, which his owne parts well enough deserved, howsoever he stood in her bookes neglected: could by no meanes receive a pleasing countenance from her. Which distaste wrought so strange∣ly and strongly on his spirit; that could never stoope to basenesse: nor ingage his Page 157 noble thoughts to an ingenerous revenge: (though many visible Motives might justly inrage him: and cause him transgresse the bounds of patience;) as he resolv'd to betake himselfe to Travaile: that so by distance of place hee might in time banish from his thoughts the cause of his discontent. But long had not he there remained, a banish'd man from his Countrey; but desirous to see some other Nations, and so by improving his knowledge, learne to forget his griefe: then being imbarked in a Merchants ship, bound for such a Coast, they were so encoun∣ter'd by contrary winds, as it hapned that they arrived at a small Port-Towne, within his owne native Countrey, where his Lady at that time resided, by occasion of some Fortunes lately to her descended. She, who, kept a liberall Table in the absence of her Husband, dis-affecting nothing more than privacy: hearing how a Ship was there la∣tely arrived, and diverse Strangers of see∣ming quality entered the Haven: Caused the Groome of her Chamber to addresse his way to the Port: where, if hee found any one of gracefull presence or personage, to invite him withall unsuspected privacy to her House. Her command is observed: and to second his Ladies desire, hee findes none more likely to tender her content, than her owne Husband.
Page 158But before such time as her Servant, sent forth upon this message, would returne his errand; he seriously eyed that Stranger: perusing his complexion and favour, which discontent and his late absence had so e∣stranged from his knowledge, as at first he could not know his Master. But at last, becomming assured that it was no other, & desirous to doe him a pleasure, as became a faithfull servant to so respective a Master: yet without so much as discovering himselfe, or acquainting him with any plot he had; he privately at first returns his message from his Lady: but withall, desires him, as he ten∣der'd a Ladyes honour, to use all secrecy: that his Ladyes freedome in her respect and entertainment to him (if any such curtsy should appeare) might bee free from all discovery. This the Gentleman pro∣mised, though wholly ignorant what was intended. Meanetime, her honest Groom returns an account of what he had done: ac∣quainting his Lady, that a Gentleman of as proper parts, gracefull presence and hope∣full performance, was that Evening landed▪ as ever his eyes beheld. And withall, how he had taken occasion to deliver her message unto him: and with what modesty it was by him accepted: and how to prevent sus∣picion, his desire was with all privacy to be admitted by some back way unto her Page 159 Chamber, and without Lights (fearing a∣bove all things the discovery of his Master.) Easy admittance is granted, a private way over a Moate, environing the house, is pre∣pared; nothing neglected, that might pro∣mise to this seeming stranger free entertain∣ment. Nor is her servant remisse in ought that may facilitate his lawfull affectionate desires. One thing only he conceives him∣selfe to have omitted, which might conduce highly to the effecting of his plot. Hee perceives a Diamond-ring upon his Ma∣sters finger, well knowne to his Lady by a private Posy: This, he wisheth him, upon his mounting the Stayres, and entring into her Chamber, at his departure, to bestow upon her. For, said he, our Ladies in these parts never receive any strange Servants, but they expect some token of their Love should be left them, to renue their affection upon next acquaintance: and give them more confidence of their secrecy.
This Lady longing for the embraces of so accomplished a Guest, as her Servants rela∣tion had described him: with a count'nance as cleare, as the roome was close, had long before this prepared a welcome for him.
Albeit, upon his entry into her Cham∣ber, he found no person there to entertaine him: Only a Lampe darkely burning; Page 160 which shewed him sundry choice and dain∣ty Succots, with other quaint Junkets: wherein, no doubt, Art had showne her selfe such a Confectionesse, as no∣thing was there awancing which might enliven Nature, or Italian-like, in∣flame vigour. Having taken a taste of such Pla•es as best liked him: a Faire Canopy-Bed, with Curtaines close drawne, invited him to take a further taste of what better entertainment was prepared for him. And having made himselfe unready, and draw∣ing the Curtaine a little aside, he might per∣ceive a Creature in the Bed, but seemingly covered with cloaths, as one unwilling to have her owne eyes witnesses of her too much freedome. Which the rather quick∣ned in him an ardour of affection: so as like a bold Stranger, he addressed him∣selfe to that forward and lawfull encounter. The Comick effect whereof, upon discove∣ry of him by the ring, produc'd (to omit all other circumstances of dalliance) a con∣stant reconciliation betwixt them. All which was brought to passe principally by her Gentleman Vsher. But all of them are not of one stampe, as you may perceive by this Character.
A GENTLEMAN USHER
IS his Ladies Creature; One who stands much upon his dimension and posture. A tall man he is of his Legges, and no lesse it behoves him to be tall of his Hands; being engaged to such desperate Encounters for the Wall. Pretty foole! He carries his Ladies Misset most gracefully, which she loves so tender∣ly, as she is ever putting him in mind of his charge: Prey thee Puny, doe not squeze my puppy. Continuance of imployment makes him in time grow more familiar with his Mistresse; Which makes her chastice the Sauce-boxe with her glove; meane time, the man knows her mind. Hee bestows so much time in the pointing of his Stelletto∣peake, and poudring his Locks, as he leaves little or none for his Orisons. He makes his whole Pilgrimage on earth a continued Peraembulation: and having learn'd to pace from his youth up, he can never shew him∣selfe commendable but in that garbe. He had an excellent shap't Legge, and a suffici∣ent Calfe, but every thing is worse for wea∣ring. If to reserve more state, the house be divided, and his great Lords roomes from his Ladies severed; hee is sure to be one that Page 162 must lye on his Ladies side. Should he fall of in his posture, through debility of na∣ture; her Page must be preferred before her Vsher: and the reason is, a Cock-Sparrow is more active than a Bald Bussard. He h'as a notable volubility of tongue; which he tips with such formall protests, as he will engage him yours, before ever he know you. He knows how to play the Secretary; and is oftimes put to't. Blush he will not, lest it should unrivet a Secret in his message. He reserves no time for reading, he bestows so much on walking; unlesse it be some wan∣ton Pasquill, a sociable accompt whereof he makes his Pastime. He h'as at all times ready accesse to his Lady, which procures him better successe in his Suite to her Lord. He must make no love to the Maid, lest it beget a jealous suspect in the Mistresse. Af∣fection cannot brooke Corrivals. If his La∣dy grow sickish, and desire to take fresh ayre, the Coach must he mount and jogge a∣long with her; where the Curtains must be drawn, lest the light discover her, or the ayre distemper her Here they couch as silent as a Charnell-house, but that mansion of frail∣ty they never remember. The height of his imployment principally consists in ushering his Lady to the Church; where it is admi∣rable, with what punctuall observance he conducts her to her Pew, kisseth her booke, Page 163 as if he had sworne by't; and to prevent all rash intruders, he stands at the doore, like a pious-pretending Pimpe, as if he were to keepe Centinall there for ever. And this he conceits to be one of his most tedious taskes; because Subjects of that nature doe not alto∣gether please his taste. It is rather his Ele∣ment to be versed in the perusall of Play-bils, which he presents to his Lady with great devotion; and recommends some especiall one to her view, graced by his owne judici∣ous approbation. His choyce she admits: to the Play-house she resorts: enters a prime boxe, and upon cloze of every Act, grace∣fully whispers in her Vshers care; com∣mends their action, and now and then at some amorous-moving passage, playes at Cent-foot purposely to discover the pregnan∣cy of her conceit. At Night, if her Gent∣leman heare of a Court-Maske, Show, or some other Presentment of State; Cupid be their Guide, winged is their Speed, eager is their Spirit, swifter is their Pace; so they may enjoy the Object that may please, and cloze their dayes prelude on Earth, with an Evening enterlude of Courtly mirth. But here, this Gentleman Vsher must shew him∣selfe rough, that he may get his Lady better roome. He must puffe and looke big, and swell like a pageant of State. A soft spirit would barre them both of all entertain∣ment. Page 164 By this his Lady h'as got a place, which was his Master-prize. The Present∣ment done, he must Vsher her home; which perform'd, a curious Knot of valiant Skin∣kers must Vsher him. The Cellar is their Centre; where they must drinke deepe their Ladies health to doe them honour; though a lasting surfet reave them of all health for their labour. Here he inhabits till he take a nap in the Cellar, or the napry Drawer be∣come his Gentleman Vsher to waft him to his Chamber. Now for his Place, though his revenues be but small, his vailes are great. His Ladies Purse is his portion, which sup∣plies him so long as he keepes Counsell. Her Count'nance is his greatest purchase, so as, by the losse of her favour, he dyes a Beggar. The fortune of a younger Brother call'd him to this place; since which time, he h'as ever walk'd most uprightly in his Vocation. But if the Master be a Tradesman, the Foreman of his Shoppe supplies this place, whereby he is made for ever. For if this reverend Trunke-hose turne up his heeles, whosoever stumble on his Grave, his Fore∣man Vsher is in faire possibility, to enjoy his grath. One of the greatest of his feares is Cornes on his toes : His Mistresse cannot endure halting; nor the condition of his place lumping. Vulcans polt-foot befits not an Vsher, nor his smug-looke a smooth re∣tainer. Page 165 His comfort is, as he begun with a small stock, so he cannot fall from any great state. As his risings were light, his height low, his continuance short, so his fall can∣not be great. Truth is, if he live to be his Masters survivor, (provided that he flow∣rish in strength and ability of nature) hee may prosper. But for most part, his Master out weares him, as he in his time outwrought his Master. The Meermaid h'as left him, but not without Consorts to attend him. Aches, Crampes, and Ring-bones are his incessant Associats. And now he walkes more upright than ever he did, for he cannot stoope, should a Diamond lye in his way: He remembers the follies of his youth, with —O the reines of my back! He needes no other rack, this will make him discover all. He is much troubled in his Sleepe, and awakes with an ache, which he utters in a shreeke: —O my Mistresse! 'Tis a wondrous thing to see how this spruce youth is metamorphosed! How his wild-luxurious beard growes unkemb'd, his lard-twilted doublet goes unbutton'd, and his Eve-dropping nose flowes like a common Sewer, and would bestow it selfe on any one that would wipe it. Well; he cannot possibly stand long; for his very legges, those proper Supporters of his youth, may now truly cry out with aged Milo; they Page 166 cannot beare a Calfe. It might be doubted, that death were better provided for him, than he provided for it, did not poverty bid him embrace it, and a Miriad of infirmities summon him to it. There is hope of him, for the flesh had left him, before he left the World.
*But we have insisted too long on these; let it be sufficient, that as there be some of those who reteine this name, properly ran∣ked in our Character: So be there those, whose better parts merit all approvement: But one Swallow makes no Summer: the Object of pleasure many times makes ship∣wrack of honour: whereas others, for whom we will ever reserve our deservingst approvedst thoughts, will rather chuse to leave their Coat in the hand of a loose Mi∣stresse, than lose their honour. That Ma∣xim, indeed, is too holding: if we be com∣panions to Ostriges, we shall savour of the Wildernesse. Nor, is there any Rush with∣out Mire: yet a Mirtle will shew it selfe a Mirtle amongst Nettles. And such we have of these; whom neither occa∣sion can corrupt; opportunity deprave; hope of fortunes delude: nor any indirect way decline from professing themselves just in discharging that place, wherein they stand necessarily interessed.
Now, in our diversion from these, wee Page 167 are to descend to Subjects of higher and more serious importance: yet such, as re∣flect ever upon the femall Sexe, wherein pleasure and profit, which ever make up the best Musick, shall hand in hand accompa∣ny you; to second your expectance with such variety, as our Discourse may amply recompence a retyred houre with double in∣terest to Posterity.
SECTION II. Imitable Vertues in Women.
VERTUE is of such a rare quality, as she can neither be over-priz'd, nor over-prais'd. Nor can this Prin∣cesse, whose beauty is her owne, without borrowing; and whose honour is essentiall in her selfe, without deriving, shew more true worth than when she deignes to lodge in that bo∣some, which may seemingly dignifie her least; though, indeed, by a modest improve∣ment of what it hath received, it magnifie her most. For to descend to the quality of every *Cardinall Vertue: we shall find rare instances in each kind; and such as may Page 169 deserve imitation of the stronger Sexe. And first of the first.
SOME jeering Swetnams,* whose strength of pen and abili∣ty of braine only consist in in∣veying against Women, will not stick, perhaps, to laugh, when they heare us speake of Prudence, and attri∣bute a great portion thereof to a Woman; and will say, Truly we have heard of some women cald by the Name of Prudence, but indued with Prudence there is scarce one amongst them, no not One. A weake inve•tive! It is sufficient, will these poore Criticks say, for women to have so much wit as to goe out o'th'raine: and some of them not so wise, neither: but like that simple She-cockney, imagine all the world to be a City, and every way they travell, such a continued Pent-house, as they need neither Cloake nor Hood to shrowd them; so well h'as the worlds Archi-tect provided for them.
But how farre these erre, we shall quickly discover; by those memorable and survi∣ving monuments of Wisdome; which Page 170 Women not only of former ages, but even in our owne times, have expressed, and to posterity recommended.
And first, to take our instances from a farre; how much did the Prudence of To∣myris bestead the Massagetes; when by her owne policy and dexterity of wit, she discomfitted the powerfullest and redoub∣tedst enemy that the World then had? In what a deplorable estate was her Countrey; when nothing but fire and fury assailed them without: want and famine within? When their strongest Forts were quite de∣molished? Their fruitfull fields wasted? And their people, by a fruitlesse resistance of a victorious Foe, consumed? Nay, reflect upon the miseries of this desolate and dis∣consolate Queene! how her sonne by an improvident and remisse mannagement of his affaires, became a Prey to the Enemy: his Army vanquished: himselfe slaughte∣red: all things disorderly scattred and con∣founded! Yet, was her spirit still the same. She well considered, if in that disaster her courage should quaile, what could proba∣bly follow but an irreparable Subversion? Though few or none then were left to af∣ford her remorce: neither was her Spirit so weake, nor Wisdome so small, but they had power enough to study a revenge. Which she effected with such expedite policy; as Page 171 she not only freed her distressed Countrey of that threatning calamity: but imbrued her hands in the blood of her Enemy, to re∣venge that cruelty wch he had not long be∣fore inflicted upon her own blood. Nor did this Wisdome of hers only appeare in the Government of her State: but in the compo∣sing or moderating of her owne affections. For whereas, her command had so farre in∣larg'd it selfe, as many neighbouring Prin•ces stood in feare of her: doubting that their more confin'd dominions might be swallowed up by her Greatnesse: Her No∣ble Spirit scorned to take advantage of o∣thers weaknesse: or to soveraignize over those who never gave her occasion of of∣fence. In a word, as it was her care to pre∣serve her own; so it was her Princely scorne to invade anothers. This moderation she shewed excellent testimonies of, in her death aswell as life: When she comman∣ded, that this Inscription should be ingraven upon her Tombe: purposely to make a try∣all, as it were, whether the same height of spirit succeeded to Princes of following times, which sometimes possessed her royall brest. The Inscription was this:
Many other excellent vertues was this Noble Princesse indued withall: which for brevity sake I must omit: passing to o∣thers of her Sex, who not onely equalled, but farre exceeded the most eminent Per∣sonages of their time in the prudent Carriage and Dispose of their affaires.
This that stately Semiramis shewed in the wise and peaceable government of the Assyrian state after the decease of her Hus∣band Ninus. What excellent Lawes were by her enacted? What Principles of State recorded? How free shee kept her king∣dome from division? How safe her utmost Coasts from invasion? With what policy, shee sought to remove from her selfe and people, all opinion of effeminacy: and Page 173 produce in others a conceit of their magna∣nimity: when shee commanded all with∣out distinction, to weare Tyars upon their heads: and to put on them womens appa∣rell; purposely to cover their effeminate parts: and by an Amazonian imitation to beget a confidence of resolution in her Neighbours? How carefull she was to in∣sinuate her selfe in the zeale and affection of her Subjects? What a wise course she tooke to effect it? And in what short time did shee confirme it? Admir'd she was by those to whom only report of her Wisdome had made knowne the greatnesse of such a Spi∣rit: enriched with such transcendent gifts: as it was not easy to determine whether the height of her Spirit for atchieving, or strength of judgement for contriving more exceeded. To summe up all in One; and all this in an imparalel'd One: had not one staine blemish'd her beauty, she had beene a Princesse of incomparable majesty.
Nor did that glory of Amazon, the in∣vincible Penthesilea fall short in those ac∣complishments fit to mannage a State: and to leave presidents both of Wisdome and Cou∣rage for posterity to imitate. How well shee rectified the disorders of a distracted Empire: and in every Designe exprest her selfe glorious to the improvement of such a State, and the advancement of her honour! Page 174 This might be illustrated by one Instance: For at such time, as Neighbouring Princes dis-valued their Feminine Government: and every one laboured to enlarge their Dominions by the Subjection of that State: She not onely preserved her owne from the injurious usurpation of forraigne Powers: but wonne of those, who were hopefull to make a prey of her. Nor was shee onely carefull to establish the foundation of an Empire for an age: but to recommend such usefull Lawes and Constitutions as might settle a prosperous State to their Suc∣cessors. Many famous Battels did she fight: and those with the renownedst and most vi∣ctorious Princes that then reigned. Yet sel∣dome or never was she discomfitted: But if at any time it chanced that shee should suffer, her moderation and discretion so temperately bore the losse, and so diligent∣ly laboured a redresse; as the second day made amends ever for the former re∣pairing her losses both with advantage and honour. All which I referre to those Stories, which with most probability and authori∣ty discourse of her.
What wisdome that excellent Sophonisba manifested to the world, in the discreet carriage of her affaires: if it were needfull here to relate, we might apply this Subject, in the instancing of her vertues. Who so Page 175 nobly demeaned her selfe in the daringst af∣fronts of fortune: as never more true re∣solution or constancy of spirit appeared in the most virile and heroicke tempers that e∣ver the world became possessor of.
Extremes could not amate her: nor distra∣ctions of State so divide her from her selfe: as, when her advice was sought, she could show the least perplexity in her well dige∣sted thoughts. Her owne safety was never so deare to her, as the Security of the State publicke. And when any of those antient Counsellours or Conscript-Fathers, who were to sit at the Sterne; seemed troubled: or shewed the least irresolution, she would usually interpose her selfe: and chide their weaknesse in this manner.
Next her, I might here instance the brave Berenice, a woman of incomparable beauty; alacrity of Spirit; strength and maturity of judgement. Next her the Sa∣bean Queene, that wise Nicaula: a Prin∣cesse so highly taken with the fame of Salo∣mons wisdome: as she left her owne Coun∣trey to bee one of his Auditory: leaving him with this attestation of him: I belee∣ved not the words, untill I came, and mine eyes had seene it: and behold, the halfe was not told mee; thy wisdome and prosperity excee∣deth the fame which I heard. Nor could so diligent a pursuer of Wisdome, be in her selfe ignorant of so inestimable a blessing. Ne∣ver did State enjoy more freedome; nor a∣bound with more wealth; nor partake so continued a peace; than Sheba's State en∣joyed. Nor could ought lesse bee expected, where such a Lover of Wisdome reigned. For if Plutarch commend Plato so highly for comming forth of Asia into Cilicia, for no Page 177 other cause, but onely to see his deare friend Phocion: what commendations might this noble Princesse seeme to deserve, who, though a Woman, left her owne Nation to heare the Wisdome of Salomon? Should we, next these, take a more exact Survey of the divine Prudence of royall Esther; whose discreet behaviour purchased Gods people so happy a delivery, even in their immi∣nentst danger? Or of that wise Abigall, whose discretion declined Davids fury from her churlish Nabal? We would so highly admire such precious Mirrors, for their pi∣ety, pollicy and discretion, as wee should accompt them wisest and deservingst, who drew nearest them in imitation.
Neither shall we need to travell so farre for instances: but that those flowers are e∣ver esteemed best of, that are brought from forraigne borders: For Princes we have here enjoyed of our owne; whose names retaine in all places of Christendome a me∣morable testimony for Wisdome.
Witnesse the living fame of our renowned Eliza, who made her kingdome an Elysium. Being of a Majesticke presence; judicious advice; constant resolve; terrible to her foe; affable to her friend; a gracious pre∣server of peace; a couragious advancer of Warre for honourable ends. Of a rare memory; a rich fancy; for dispatch happy: Page 178 and in present dangers fullest of noble spirit and alacrity.
And these shall serve for Instances in the first.
*THIS divine vertue, which is an Abstract of all the rest, that noble Thracian Lady well ex∣pressed; when, unurged, shee professed:
When that just Alban Lady heard what Demadis saying was, that Draco's Lawes were written with blood, and not with inke:
Just was that Dame towards her owne; when hearing, how her daughter had vio∣lated that Order whereto shee was Vestally devoted, she came before the Senate, and beseeched them for Iustice: who, when they had understood the quality of the Offence, and how the offender was her owne Daugh∣ter: They made answer; you need little doubt of Justice, in a Crime of such a na∣ture: yet might this personall offence have well deserv'd a Stranger rather than a Mo∣ther to be an Accuser.
Page 180Excellent was that resolution of those Almaine Sisters, who professed in a pub∣licke Place of Judicature;
The like example might wee her pro∣duce of a noble Gentlewoman in our owne Coast: who by the prodigall and dissolute Course of her Husband, falling into great poverty: was so far from inclining to any thought of Basenesse; as when her powerfull friends, commiserating her present Condi∣tion, wished her to enquire of something that might raise her Fortunes, and they would use meanes for procuring it:
What shall it benefit me, said that noble Matron, to enjoy what belongs unto ano∣ther▪ and betray my Fame, which I should preferre before all other? I cannot live, and be unjust: for life consists not in bee∣ing, breathing, or performing any outward action: but in a pure and undefiled Soul, raising her thoughts to an higher Motion.
When the Sabines had suffered that infi∣nite injury, in being deprived of the beauty of their virgins: though they might (pro∣bably) Page 181 have taken fit opportunity for re∣venge:
In that Election of Consuls, when the ver∣tuous Aurelia understood that her Hus∣band sought indirectly for voices;
Iustice, when perverted, may be compa∣red to the Celedonie stone, which retaineth her vertue no longer than it is rubbed with gold: but when employed to the preser∣servation of the State, and dispensation of what is just to every one, being neither in∣duced by amity, incensed by enmity, nor corrupted with hope of commodity: this divine vertue may be compared to the Sele∣nite stone; a precious gemme found in A∣rabia, which is of this nature and property, that when the Moone increaseth, it likewise increaseth in beauty: but when the Moone Page 182 decreaseth, it lesseneth of her splendor and glory. It retaines likewise another quality; and it is this: Being tied to any Tree, it makes it fruitfull: The application will ap∣peare both proper and usefull. When Chan∣ges in the State are most frequent; when Command seemes to soveraignize most on these smaller and inferiour Lights: then is shee most constant: in her beauty most re∣splendent. Neither can Might over-sway her: nor a despicable Plaintiffe dis-relish her. She ever shewes most Constant; when times seeme most wavering and fluctuant. Nor is any branch so seere; any member so fruitlesse, in the whole body of the State; which her application cannot make fruit∣full: so soveraigne is shee in her selfe, so commodious unto others.
Happy, will some say, were those dayes wherein Basil the Emperour of Constanti∣nople lived; that whensoever he came to his Judgement-Seat, found neither Party to ac∣cuse, nor Defendant to answer. Here needed no Conscript Fathers to sit upon tryall of Causes: no feare of Corruption, because that Halcyon peace admitted no occasion: What wilt thou give me, was no Interrogatory in those dayes. And yet me thinks that noble Princesse, in the moulding of Justice, and faire carriage of all businesse; made her State no lesse happy; who decreed: That Page 183 if any plaintiffe exhibited a Bill against any person, and could not prove the just∣nesse of his Action; he should pay treble costs to the Defendant: and besides his pe∣cuniary Mulet, receive such corporall pu∣nishment as the quality of the complaint deserved. This made commencements of Suites as rare as the former; by reducing the State to such an exact Order; as neigh∣bouring Princes had her in admiration: taking Presidents from her of State-Go∣vernment, to second her Rules in a serious imitation.
Thus have you heard how this Vertue, which our Philosophers have resembled to the Evening Starre for beauty; hath beene so carefully observed, and constantly pre∣served by women: as they addressed their endevours to no Object more seriously, than how they might improve her glory. Let us now then see what they did in ho∣nour of Temperance; a Vertue which sea∣soneth and relisheth the rest with her pre∣sence.
*EXTREAMES are those Shelves on which Vertue suffers. Livia dispatch't her husband, because she loved too little; Lucilia, hers, because she loved too much. But that noble Lady observed a faire and equall temper betwixt both these: when she pro∣posed this Conjugall Rule unto her selfe:
For as the Moone doth never Eclypse but when she is at the Full: so the Mind is never so much obscured, as it is with the su∣perfluity of riches. And againe, as the Moone is the furthest off from the Sunne which giveth it light, when it is at the Full: So a Man when he is fullest of Riches, is furthest off from that equity and justice, which ought to give him light, in all his proceedings.
For the first; The Saying of Archytas is much commended (nor deserves it lesse than to be highly approved) who being an∣gry with one of his Hindes, said:
The like commendations deserves that well composed temper of that Sage Chilo; who observing his Brother to be disconten∣ted, for being rejected in standing for Epho∣rus, and himselfe elected: wished his Bro∣ther not to take his repulse impatiently:
Nor was that Noble Ladyes temper to be lesse admired; who professed in a placePage 186 where her innocency had borne more than humane patience could well suffer:
Secondly, for the Concupiscible part; that Lady, though an Ethnick; had beene fruit∣fully Schooled in Morality, by confining her desires to bounds of such equality; who with much confidence affirmed:
Armenia, a noble Lady, being bidden amongst other eminent personages, to King Cyrus Wedding, went thither with her hus∣band. At night when they were returned home, her husband asked her, how shee liked the Bridegroome; whether shee thought him to be a faire and beautifull Prince or no?
So well had she limited her affections; as she would not suffer her eyes to wander: nor to be deluded with the glances of an unlawfull Lover. For eyes are those Tar∣peja's, or privy Conspirators, which lay the Fortresse of the Soule most open to advan∣tage. Page 187 Nor would the Heart give way to an unjust Love, if a leering eye threw not out first a Lure. For this end h'as that wise Creator made it a Sense of Sorrowing, be∣cause it is a Sense of Sinning. That a Con∣duit of teares, might better rinse that ken∣nell from whence the occasion sprung.
Nor have these Feminine Wonders exprest lesse command over their desires in con∣tempt of honour (an attractive bait to that Sexe) in their dis-esteeme of riches, or pompe in apparrell; dangerous Motives to unsetled Soules. Where you shall finde one so respect lesse of Honour; as being of∣fer'd her, she findes this answer to her a∣morous besieger:
Here shall you finde an other so indiffe∣rent for Fortunes; as her attestation is this:
What excellent Rules were these to mould the mind to every condition, accor∣ding Page 188 to that philosophicall Maxime:
Here shall you likewise finde an other so humbly minded; for outward Habit so in∣different: as she professeth;
But, whereas this Subject of Temperance, whereof we now treate, is most expressed in abstaining from luscious fare, pretious li∣quors, amber-broaths; with other fo∣ments of sensuall delight, wee shall finde what rare and incredible austerity many Page 189 noble Dames used in their practise of that restraint. Where some became so abstemi∣ous in that kind, as they observed Lessius Diet: in proportioning themselves such a weight or measure, as might sparingly suffice but never surcharge Nature.
Farre short of this Temperature came, in∣deed, the Wife of Domenico •ylvio; whom our Italians report to have beene so delicate a Woman, that she would have dew ga∣th'red, and in precious vialls conserved, to imbath her selfe withall, with other rich perfumes and choyce confections: and yet see the end of all these delicacies! e're she dyed, her flesh did rotte, that no creature could abide her: so much had loose effemi∣nacy corrupted Nature.
For this one, this exemplary enormious One, I could instance many of her Sexe, whose noble mindes were so farre aliened from such delicacy, as they would hardly suffer themselves to be invited to any Pub∣licke Feast, least they might occasion others censure by their abstinence. Others in a retyred privacy, (too monastick a course for our Gentry, whose education hath begot in them more desire of liberty) have embraced reclusive lifes; contenting themselves with such homely provision as that remote Place or Desart could afford them, where they had taken their Plantation.
Page 190The Romans, indeed, even at this day▪ make Recluses of their owne Houses; and whether out of jealousy or some other in∣nate quality, will not suffer their Wifes to go abroad, either to Church or any place else, and some of them scarcely to looke out at a Lattice Window; whence that Pro∣verbe came up:
Page 191This restraint those Noble temperate Ladies little needed, who held it an high derogation to their honour, to consort with any wine-bibber: or such, whose liberty had made them subject to any such ingene∣rous distemper. Excellent to this purpose was her saying:
In a word, heare what those brave Ro∣man Ladies held of Temperance:
Thirdly, for the Intelligible part; what quicknesse and pregnancy of conceipt hath appeared in women, may be collected by their ready Answers; and upon more deli∣beration, their weight of reasons: whereof Page 192 I shall here in this place speake but little: having occasion to treate more amply of this Subject, in that Section wherein I am to speake of their Witty Aphorismes, which long preceding times have recommended to Posterity. Where you shall finde such a complete Structure both for height of wit and depth of understanding; that as Cicero sometimes said of Galba's leaden and lum∣pish Body: His wit had an ill lodging. So without offence might it be spoken of those in respect of the weakenesse of their Sexe: They had rich stuffe for such weake houses. So preciously were they stored; so richly beau∣tified; so completely furnished with all intellectuall graces, as shall appeare in his due place. And so we will descend to the last of our Cardinall Vertues: Even that which may seeme most estranged from their Nature; yet through the strength and vi∣gour of their spirit, enlivened in the highest measure.
SOME will merrily say,* We like not well that you should com∣mend Fortitude in a Woman. We have Zantippe's enough in the World, who can breake the pate of a Philosopher, without ever studying for a Plaister. Their strength and spirit should consist in Tongue: for them to be provided of any other armour, was never so much as intended by Nature.
It is true; Nor is it our purpose to present them here playing their Prizes: but to ex∣presse their resolutions in time of danger, wherein they came ever off with their Countreys safety and their owne honour.
Epicharia, that famous Libertine of Rome, though she complyed well enough with her Husband; expressing that obedi∣ence, Page 194 which became a loyall Wife, patient in suffering; meeke in remitting; kinde and loving in all offices of affection; yet made privy to a Conspiracy against Nero (that prodigy of Princes) would not dis∣close the Plotters thereof, though tormented with cruell punishments. She chused ra∣ther to suffer the exquisitest torments that could be invented by the hand of Cruelty, than to discover them who labour'd to sup∣presse his tyranny.
Leaena, though a Prostitute, was indued with a brave spirit, who conspiring with Armodius and Aristogiton, her fa∣miliar acquaintants, against the Tyrant Hippeas, stood not agast at the death of her Friends (though torne with extreamest tor∣ments) but holding it basenesse to reveale the Complices, bitte in sunder her owne tongue, and spit it out in the Tyrants face.
But you will say, these were too fierce and furious spirits to be inclosed in effemi∣nate Caskes; we will therefore give you a touch of such, whose moderate and well-tempered dispositions exprest their worth, even in a princely command of their desires in outward things: scorning to lament for losing what they could no longer possesse: yea, so little joy conceiv'd these on Earth, as they equally rejoyc'd in forgoing or en∣joying whatsoever they possest on Earth.
Page 195It was a faire and imitable resolution of that well-affected Gentlewoman:
Nay, even in the deprivall of those bles∣sings which more nearely concerne them; and such as should touch Nature even in her bowels: have some of them showne such constancy of spirit, as they were ready to minister advice and comfort to those, who in respect of their Sexe and Place whereto they were called, might more pro∣perly have seem'd to performe that office to them. This might be illustrated by a do∣mestick instance of our owne. A person of high quality and ranke, no lesse than a Counsellour of State, hearing the report of the death of his Sonne, fell into such a passi∣onate overflow of sorrowing, as he would scarce admit any one for the present to have accesse unto him, or to minister any argu∣ments of comfort to him: This his discreet Lady well observing, thought it best to sup∣ply that Office her selfe, which others had so fruitlesly laboured to put in practise: So as one day, she begun thus to expostulate the grounds of his sorrowing in this manner.
But this Fortitude, which we here treat of, consists most, in respect of the Subject we now handle, in a Constancy of reteyning what is privately committed to them; next, in opposing whatsoever relisheth most with their affections. Truth is, though some too Page 197 Satyrically compared a Woman to Danäus tubbe; fitting her with no better Embleme; but as that Tubbe could hold no water, no more could she reteine long undiscovered any secret or counsell committed to her: yet may some of them, the worse sort I meane, be properly compared to Sieves, who let goe the best, but keepe the worst: as the better sort may be resembled to Fanns, which let go the worst, and keepe the best.
There are many chattering Iayes, that have no feathers: who cannot heare of a Storme, but they must make the whole For∣rest knowne to't. It is said of Geese (Birds, whose very appellations designe their sim∣plicity) that when at change of seasons, they passe from Cilicia over the Mountaine Tau∣rus, which abounds with Eagles: fearing their owne Secrecy, they carry Stones in their bils, for feare their cry should disco∣ver them to their Enemies. Reason, whose portion is our beauty, and whose gift our Makers bounty, should teach us that, which Nature hath instructed them; lest by decli∣ning from the rule of Reason, we become inferiour to them who never had the use of Reason. For there is nothing which so highly disparageth a reasonable Creature, as by too prodigall a discovery of himselfe, to lay himselfe open to the trust of an other. So as, it may be positively averred; There Page 198 is nothing that betrayeth a man so much to ruine as his owne credulity. Had that strongest of men seasonably foreseene this, he had never beene betrayed by a Dalilah. Yet have I heard some, and those cautious enough in other affaires, lay downe this for a Conclusion: That they would ne∣ver entrust them with their bodies, to whom they durst not communicate their Counsels. Which can hardly be without danger: but being an Error of Love, and no Love of Er∣ror, deserves a milder Censure. An allu∣ring she-Gossip is a perilous Jngle to siftout a Secret: and a rare constant Spirit ha's she, who amidst freedome of mirth, re∣teines a power in her selfe to conceale it. Nor (indeed) can such merit ought lesse than sharpe reproofe, who with the abuse of a minutes liberty, to ingage a strange eare to their attention, will expose the Secrets of so deare and near a Consort to Censure and Detraction.
Dionysius gave straight commandment, the head of Bryas, one of the Gentlemen of his privy Chamber, should bee cut off, for telling Plato, who had demanded of him, what the Tyrant did,
Husbands, who are Princes in their owne Families, are to be strict Censors of Such, who are apt to discover what they heare: and to inlarge it too, in hope to gaine more atttention from an itching eare. Nor, in very deed, doe such men deserve lesse re∣buke for their facility, who so freely im∣part themselves to those, bee they never so neare them, nor seemingly tender over them, who have no ability to conceale what in Counsell is committed to them. As we use then to try Vessels by their sounds, so were it good for us to try before wee trust. For if Shee, whom you have made choice of, have such a retentive faculty, as shee holds not her owne reputation at an higher estimate, than your secrecy: As shee is your Bosome-friend, so let her be your Se∣cretary. For if that which you impart to her, tend to your comfort; her Communi∣on will augment it. No single Instrument be it never so singular, can render the eare so full Musicke, as a Consort. Againe; is it a∣ny occasion of discontent? Her sweet society will allay it; by cheering it, if shee can∣not cure it. Many such excellent Creatures shall wee finde in the world; who affect nothing more than to share in their Hus∣bands misfortunes. To bee most of all his, Page 200 when hee is least his owne; Bearing the count'nance of his Fortunes in their face.
And these bee they, who well deserve to be retained in Counsell by their Husbands: because they preferre his Comfort before their owne, or equally as their owne: and value his Secrecy as their owne Safety.
As for others, who are too open-hear∣ted, to have any thing in Counsell to them imparted: Let their Husbands imitate that discreet Grecian of former times, who be∣ing told that his breath did smell, answered;
Let them alwayes, even in their Curtaine-conference, talke with Harpocrates, at the Signe of the finger on the Mouth: and learne of Anacharsis that the Tongue hath need of a more strong restraint than Nature. And that there is no greater ar∣gument of true Fortitude than to conceale Page 201 from others what were fitting to be concea∣led; and with a religious piety to reteine, whatsoever is by others in secrecy recom∣mended.
Let them not be so curious with them of Bethshemesh,* in the search of other mens Secrets; nor yet too carelesse with Heze∣kiah, in the discovering of their owne. Morality gives them a prohibition for the One, and a Precept for the Other:
Now, for the other particular, consi∣sting mainly in a strong and resolute Oppo∣sing whatsoever relisheth most with their affections: There is no point of Magna∣nimity of higher degree or nobler quality than this.
Milo shewed not halfe so much strength in bearing a Bull; as Stilpho did in bearing what most opposed his Will.
That Wife of Bath, upon whose Tale, at the instancy of some peculiar Friends, wee have by way of Comment, lately annexed some Illustrations, could tell you well e∣nough, what would please a Woman best. Now, when that Will or soveraignty of Command receives her Countermand from Reason: so as the Course becomes diver∣ted, Page 202 by declining from what the Party most affected: what a brave •onquest is this; and how well doe the Professors thereof de∣serve a vertuous esteeme?
She well expressed this in her selfe, who though naturally jealous, and (perchance) had sufficient Cause given her to bee so, be∣ing in Company where shee heard at large of those joviall pranks of her Husband, was so farre from inclining to passion, or falling into any humour that might give them oc∣casion of suspecting her jealousie; answered:
It were no lesse rare to observe some of our women; who stand most affected to curious Apparell; and to comply with the Fashions of the Age; to decline wholly from that humour; by affecting plain∣nesse: and with an entire distaste to all garish vanity, to entertaine no other habit than what might best suit with the modesty of their sexe.
Nor would I have this to proceed from sullennesse: as I have sometimes noted in a phantasticke Lady in this Kingdome: who in her private Chamber or Garden would accommodate her selfe like a complete Gal∣lant: but if any Neighbouring Gentle∣woman Page 203 came to visit her, shee would put on her meanest Apparell, saying;
Those, whom wee here propose for Pat∣terns to imitate; have set their rest on this resolution: Never to give way to their owne Wils: but if they desire liberty; to curbe those straying desires with a conveni∣ent restraint: remembring, how Dinah by gadding lost her honour.
If Luscious Fare; to moderate them by an imposed abstinence: holding Cleopatra's banketting an introduction to her wanto∣ning. If entertaining of amorous servants; to shut their doores from any such admit∣tance; knowing how that Vestall Virgin impeached her fame by too freely admit∣ting and conversing with Crassus.
Now, this noble resistance is best exprest, where opportunity is most frequent, and the strength or vigour of nature most pre∣dominant. It was an ample addition to Penelope's honour, to have an Husband so farre distanced from her; to be encounter'd with such confluence of Suiters; to live in the prime of her youth divided from her Mate, Page 204 and to preserve her fame so unblemished: as those who were most confident of her affe∣ction, could never so much as justly boast of any favour received from her, the giving or receiving whereof might trench upon her honour.
Some women, and those of noblest ranke, have we heere had; who not only declared to the world their true fortitude and vertu∣ous resolution in the lifes of their Husbands; who in martiall affaires and other publicke services, lived long time divided from them: but even after death, retained such constant Memorials of them: that though they wan∣ted their Persons, they kept their Portra∣tures ever neare them. Nor held they this sufficient, unlesse by a perpetuall Widdow∣hood they had preserved their Names in them. Their roomes bore the habit of mourning; Funerall Lamps were ever burning; No musicall straine to delight the Eare; No object of state to surprize the Eye. True Sorrow had there her Mansion: nor could they affect any other discourse than what to their Husbands actions held most relation. Each of these with good Cornelia could play the Mourner, and breath out their passions in this manner: Page 205
But to instance this resistance of Will in One for all. That discreet yong Gentle∣woman deserv'd so well in this point, as we cannot without injury to so meriting a Subject, omit her. One, for descent ranked with the best: of excellent naturall parts, and those enriched with such gifs of Grace, as very few equall'd her, none surpass'd her.
This Gentlewoman, having received sin∣gular breeding, and all liberty shee could possibly desire: Falling one day into a se∣rious Consideration of her owne state; de∣bated the matter with her selfe in this man∣ner.
Nor was this Noble-femal Convert slow∣er in performing than shee was in promi∣sing. For desiring a small portion from her Friends, to support her with a Competency of livelyhood: with a constant resolution shee bad farewell to those mis-spending pleasures which she formerly so tenderly loved. embracing a private retired life, where shee bestowed many precious houres in Devotion to her owne Comfort and o∣thers direction. A rare President in this Age, for one in the very flower of her age, to change the condition of light love, with the profession of a strict life.
Thus have wee made appeare unto you what excellent Professors, and Practisers Page 208Women have beene in all these imitable Vertues, with store of choyce Examples in each of them. From these wee are to descend to their Moderation of Passi∣on, wherein, as in all the rest, wee intend to bee as briefe as may hold with the qua∣lity of the Subject whereof wee are to intreat.
SECTION III. Their Moderation of Passion.
TO vindicate their weake Sexe from what they are most taxed: and cleare them in the testimony of Opinion of that wherein they stand most censured, might seeme to some super∣cilious Eye a taske of maine difficulty: And yet such a Province are we to enter, and to accomplish (if our hopes faile us not) to their demeriting honour. Nor doe we as∣sume this Taske, to ingratiate our selfe with that Sexe: For our decline from youth hath wained our affections from all such Ob∣jects: but to bestow upon such as deserved Page 210 well of Opinion, their just character, reward and guerdon.
It is our common English proverbe, The Worm will turne againe: and weake women, who have no other armor to shield them, no other refuge to shroud them but a few hasty words, or passionate teares, must needs plead their innocence, when injuries shall assaile them, with such supplies as Nature ha's afforded them. Yet even in this defen∣sive provision, I shall instance some so rarely moderate; as discretion injoyn'd them si∣lence in the one, and resolution a masculine patience in the other.
At that unexemplary disaster at Cannae, when the utter ruine and overthrow of the Romans rung in every place (not to mention the well-composed temper and resolution of the men themselves) with what moderation of p•ssion did those Roman Dames beare them∣selves? Farre were they from shedding ef∣feminate teares, or exclaming against De∣stiny, or demeaning themselves in any thing unworthily. No, their spirits were inflam'd to better and higher designes.
Yea, should we relate what incomparable moderation of passion, those famous Roman Matrones expressed in their great trials of patience, we should finde it more easy to admire them than imitate them. Though Oc∣tavia suffer in the highest measure; she can passe over her indignities with a sweet smile: and sleight her too good grounds of jealou∣sy, with a winning Letter, wishing only her Husband to be tender of his honour.
Porcia can suffer in a noble manner for her endangered Lord, yet scornes in teares to manifest her love. Her study is to se∣cond him with advice, to prevent danger, come off with honour, and leave to posterity a memorable testimony of his valour.
Tanaquil, that noble Lady, wife to Tar∣quinius Priscus, can in the lowest ebbe and defluence of Fortune, encourage her Hus∣band to noble attempts: saying,
By which advice he became so strength∣ned, and by her perswasions so incouraged as of a private Tuscane, he so discreetly and moderately behaved himselfe, that after the death of Ancus, he was created King of the Romans.
That temperate Caecilia, how wisely she moderated her passion in those extreamest gusts of Fortune, may remaine a singular instance in this kind. Danger could not beget in her a shivering feare; nor her pre∣sent suffering one trickling teare. She found nothing worth prizing but her ho∣nour; which preserv'd, she could with all indifferency entertaine any encounter:
Cornelia, whose very name merits a title of succeeding honour, shewed no arguments of unbeseeming passion in the very height of her affliction; knowing how to value the Page 213 quality of griefe. Though not the least beameling of comfort appeared, she retei∣ned such a noble spirit; as not a Roman Lady but admir'd her; nor any Annall writ in her time, but records the memory of her. Nothing could trouble her but Septimius treason: and this appeared more nobly in her. For nothing can be more o∣dious to any Heroick mind than the igno∣minious act of a Traitor. And what worse than to see a servant betray his Master? To see one, whom her lord had relieved; with many favours graced; and to immerited ho∣nours advanced; deprive him of life to whom both his life and Fortunes stood in∣gaged!
To this vertuous Lady, whose many mis∣fortunes had taught her sufficiently how to moderate passion; and with a discreet checke to discourage the proffer of any light affe∣ction, might those Lines be aptly applied, exhorting those young Ladies to follow the steps of so noble a Grand-mother.
Page 214Nor is there any such necessity to fetch our instances from Tiber: Excellent women have both former and present times afforded within this hedged Garden, whose admirable temper, to their never-dying ho∣nour, hath deserved no lesse praise. Such, who could smile at misery, and with such a composed grace entertaine the stormes of Fortune: as none that saw them, could doe lesse than highly condemne her of inequa∣lity of judgement, or want of sight, (to her a proper attribute) to bring them downe to the lowest part of her wheele, who deserved for moderation of passion, with other argu∣ments of discretion, to be ranked with the highest in the Common-wealth.
Nor, indeed, can this moderation of pas∣sion, whereof we now treat, receive more approvement from any person, than such an one, who sometimes ha's enjoyed the ful∣nesse of earthly happinesse; and afterwards fallen into the extremities of want: Or such, who though they partake in all freedome and fulnesse of fortune; seconded by power∣full Friends: rewarded with deserving ho∣nours: yet finde an Eclypse or contraction of light in all these, by some private discon∣tent; which by strength of Assistants is in their power to redresse by revenge, but out of their noblenesse of spirit will not. This I could illustrate by many notable examples: Page 215 where we shall finde one amiable enough for a Consort; and too accomplish'd for a Prostitute, by him dis•valued, where she should be most honoured: disgraced, where she would be most approved. Nor can this unhappy man alledge any cause why he should not love her, but because he is tyed to love her; Which tye and title of wife does so vexe him, as she can devise no way to please him: yet is not her diligence any thing remitted; nor her desire to give con∣tent fore-slowed. Divided Beds can∣not distemper her: she hopes in time to win him to her, and waine him from those, who have aliened his minde from her. Nothing discontents her more than to be disconten∣ted: Whatsoever shall happen, she stands prepared.
O, but will some say, such a woman may be called rather a Picture than a Mirror! An Image made up of Rye-dow. One who is either so simple, as she knows not the quality of a wrong: or so sheepish, as shee dare not say her soule is her owne. And such are neither fit for Wives nor Mistresses. For as Fooles cannot at any time be troubled with mirth, because nothing that good is, can happen unto them: nor perplexd with griefe, because nothing that ill is, can seeme so unto them; beeing as incapable of the one, as insensible of the other: No more Page 216 can those apprehend the weight of an inju∣ry, either through weakenesse of spirit, or stupidity. Whereto I answer; that wee receive not here into the list of our Dis∣course any such Stoicall Apathists, who are insensible of passion: For such were strange Stocks to graffe on. Yea, the O•conomick well observes, that a Family through want of spirit in the Governesse, is no lesse dis∣ordered than by too much spirit dis∣quieted.
In a Legendary Story is mention made of such a Saintly Sufferer, which for the rarity of the relation I have here inserted.
There was sometimes One, who weary of the World, desired to waine himselfe from all secular cares,* and betake himselfe to a religious privacy: so as, within short time hee was received into the Covent. Now it hapned one day, that this religious man walking alone in the Garden, seemed as One much discontented: which the Ab∣bot observing, came unto him, demanding the reason of his heavinesse: willing him to impart unto him the occasion of his griefe, as became an inferiour member of the Socie∣ty to d•e unto his Superiour.
Nothing, reverend Father, answer'd he, concerning my owne particular: nor doth it repent me to have enter'd into this Religious Order: For I finde more com∣fort Page 217 in one houre within these Wals, than ever I could in all those possessions I in∣joyed in the World. But I must tell you, Father, that I have one only sonne, which I left behind me, and very deare was hee unto me; now I am much perplext in mind about him: for I know not how the World may deale with him. Tender are his yeares, which addes to the measure and number of my cares. Nor am I so confident of their trust, to whom I re∣commended him, as to free me from that piou• jealousy which I harbour in my breast touching him. Advise me then, deare Sir, what course were best to take, that my care may be setled: and his safety provided, on whom with equall hopes and feares the troubled thoughts of a fa∣ther are many times fixed.
Is this your cause of heavinesse, said the Abbot? To rid you from these cares, and increase your hope in his succeeding yeares, send him to me, and see what ef∣fect will come of it.
According to the Abbots direction, he causeth his sonne, who, indeed, was a daugh∣ter (which he dissembled for some reasons) to be sent for. Who, after some time of pro∣bation, was admitted to the Society. Now it chanced, that the daughter of an eminent Person, not farre distant from that Abbey, Page 218 was got with childe, and for some private respects to her selfe best knowne, desirous to conceale the true Father; layd the childe upon this supposed Brother (who was indeed a Sister.) This Saintly creature was so farre from defending her owne innocency, as she tooke unto it, as if she had beene the true father which begot it. The rumor hereof so highly incensed the Abbot; holding it to be a great scandall to his Society, to have any one under his charge, conscious of such impiety; as he straightly commanded that this adulterous person should be expulst the House: and to receive no reliefe, but such as common-Beggers were wont to have at the gate.
This Censure she receives with patience, without least discovery of her innocence: And though diverse of the Fraternity inter∣ceded the Abbot in her behalfe: acquain∣ting him with the piety of her fore-past life, with the patient suffering of whatsoever his Reverend authority had injoyned her: yet would not the Abbot relent, nor remitte any part of her punishment: nor ever be perswaded by all the meanes that could be made, to receive her againe into the Covent. Thus continued this simple innocent soule, free from that sinne, yet expos'd to all shame: relinquish'd by her selfe, because undefended: nor justifide by her father, Page 219 because he had vow'd that her Sexe should not by his meanes be discovered. Till at last, Death impos'd an end to her misery, and publish'd to all the World her inno∣cency.
The report whereof so highly perplexed the Abbot: as he with the whole Covent continued a long time sorrowing: not without admiration of her Patience: re∣commending her Memoriall to posterity for a recompence.
This example when you read, I ima∣gine, you will smile at; and say, this wench had a kinde heart that could so meekely suf∣fer for anothers offence: which argued in her, rather a senselesse stupid disposition, than any discreet Moderation of Passion. —And would you have us turne such young Saints, and in the end become Old Devils?
No; (though this unexemplary president might deserve more admiration than politi∣call approvement) we propose such whose Conceipts are apprehensive enough, to weigh the quality of a wrong; Spirits stout enough to revenge; and power enough to second that revenge: yet are en∣dued with so noble a temper, as they held it their highest honour, to expostulate the cause mildly; rather than with fire and faggot to menace a revenge, where they owe Page 220 an obedience: and ought to overcome ex∣tremities (so they be not above humane suf∣ferings) with patience.
Such an one as one of these, had that brave Colonell; who professed, that though he encounter'd with broyles a∣broad, he never found any brawlles at home: though he bicker'd with Stormes by Sea, he enjoyed a Calme still by Land. Not like that fierce Virago, who being married to a Souldier; ever used to wel∣come her Husband home with a powder; and being one day, in a more temperate mood, asked by him, why she used such liberty with her tongue, as after that man∣ner to entertaine him still with such hayle∣shot?
That Syracusan Generall gave a strong testimony of his Wifes temper, when in a publicke meeting, he protested:
Page 221Albeit, there are many, whose dis∣creet and well-composed temper can suffer all injuries; imbrace poverty with a plea∣sant smile: receive any dis-respect from their Dearest with incredible patience: yet, when their owne Fame shall come to be questioned; they hold that too precious a prize, too high a stake to bee hazarded. This was that noble Roman Ladies resoluti∣on:
No lesse absolute was she in the Com∣mand of her Passions; who being one day in private discourse with a Gentleman of excellent winning parts; and one whose glib tongue could winne ground upon least advantage: was demanded by him, how Page 222 she could brooke to heare her Husband to be such a generall Courter of fresh Mi∣stresses: and to boast of their Favours in her presence?
Thus have you heard their excellent tem∣per in Moderation of Passion, with what in∣differency they could beare the braves of Fortune; with what innocency they could beare the weight of injuries. How their Fame was the only Touch-stone of their pa∣tience: which secured, nothing so extreame, which they have not with resolution en∣countered, and with constancy subdued.
Page 223Which mildnesse begets in them a neare resemblance with that well-dispose femi∣nine Monarchy of Bees;* for as the Na∣turall Historian observes, that their King has no sting as other Bees have, reteyning such an offencelesse quality, as hee cannot sting any, sufficing himselfe with a Prin∣cely Clemency, to supply the place of Sove∣raignty: So these hold it power sufficient to have had the power to revenge: and by their inferiour Subjects to repell the inso∣lence of a bold intruder; holding it a dero∣gation to their honour, to become a personall revenger.
Certaine it is, that no vertue more enno∣bles a Rationall Soule than this Moderation of Passion: Nor deserve they either to ma∣nage any publique or private charge; who cannot restraine these insulting motions, which so miserably captivate the better part: as by giving way to appetite, man though he retaine the name, he loseth the nature & prime priviledge of man. He only, and none but he deserves to be honoured, who is with goodnesse endowed. For foot-cloath honour, it is but an Eye-object: it may exact of an humble Passenger a low Congy or Salute:* but his Horse, for ought that I know, being so richly covered, deserves as much honour as he that rides on it. And no doubt with a little helpe of a Cynicks Lanthorne, it were Page 224 very easy in this Silken age to finde with Aristippus, Stones sitting on stones, and bar∣barous Asses riding on Barbary horses. But we have other Surveys to take in hand: be∣ing now to descend from their Moderation of Passion, to their Continency in assaults; e∣ven to Those, where they bore most loyall love and affection.
SECTION IV. Their Continency in assaults.
OPPORTUNITY is a dangerous attendant for youthfull Love. And yet shall we pre∣sent to your eyes; such noble Commanders of their desires: as nei∣ther opportunity of place, nor importunity of person, though affection had entered farre into their bosome, could make them dispence with honour.
Long had that Roman Sophronia beene importun'd by a deserving Suiter; one, whose youth might deserve Love: and whose beauteous personage might have Page 226 seaz'd of store of Mistresses without much sollicitancy: One in whose eyes love spar∣kled: seeming to merit admittance without parliance. Yet findes hee his Sophronia of another temper, than to preferre her plea∣sure before her honour: She can addresse him this answer:
It could not chuse but redound highly to Scipio's commendations, that being a young man of 24 yeares of age, in the taking of a City in Spaine, he should so nobly vanquish his owne affections, by repressing his flames of lust, when a beautifull Maid was brought Page 227 him, as a trophey of his Victory: restoring her to a young man called Allantius, to whom she was espoused, with a great re∣ward, as an additament to her Dower. Yet for all this, it may be imagined with an easy glosse, that her Honour suffered an As∣sault: and that the Maids repulse begot in that victorious Commander a singular e∣steeme of her vertues.
It is true, that Darius wife and his three daughters, being spared by Alexander, im∣proved more his fame, than all those glorious attempts which ever he had atchieved. Yet our Criticks will not sticke to say,* but they were attempted: yet so constant were they in preserving their honour, as neither Maje∣sty could command, nor beauty (as what Prince more amiable?) allure; nor their owne present estate admit any unjust free∣dome to so commanding a Suiter.
But to prove unto you, that nothing is more incomparably precious than a Conti∣nent Soule; and that Conjugall Love held such a firme tye even amongst Ethnicks, as they preferred that gage before all tenders of sensuall Love or fading honour; I will relate here unto you one memorable Story, to improve that Sexes glory, and beget a pious emulation in posterity.
Cannia, Wife to Synattus, shall be the surviving Subject of this Story; whom one Page 228Synoris, a man of greater authory than he, loved; and making no small meanes to obtaine her love, yet all in vaine, supposed the readiest way for the effecting his desires to be the murdering of her husband: which he performed. This Act of horror was no sooner executed, and by the roabe of his au∣thority shrowded (as what guilt so hainous, but may receive her subterfuge from great∣nesse) than he renewed his suite, to which she seemingly assented: but being solemne∣ly come into the Temple of Diana for cele∣brating those Nuptiall rites, she had a sweet potion ready, which she drunke to Synoris: wherewith both were poysoned.
In which President, we shall finde rare constancy in an Ethnick Lady. Honour, though it be a baite that is apt to take the most constant minds, could worke no such effect in her. The vow she had made to her first Choyce, estranged her affection from all new Favorites. She could finde no brest to entertaine him; nor a Love to receive him; nor an heart to harbour him; nor an arme to imbrace him; who had embrued his hands in the blood of her Dearest. No Nuptiall rites can allure her; no hope of honor delude her; she holds fast to her first Choyce without Change. Yet since this Loving Murderer must needs enjoy her, she will incline to his motion, and with a Love∣sick Page 229 potion inshrine their livelesse bodies, without further enjoyment together. No other way could she finde to prevent it: and rather than she will assent to entertaine him for her constant Lover, who was her husbands cruell murderer, the Scene must be made truly tragicall, in both their disasters.
Admirable was the resolution of that no∣ble Captive; who, seeing her Husband not only discomfitted, but deprived of life; and her selfe presented to the Generall, as a boo∣ty worth receiving; being for beauty so rare, as the age afforded not a fairer nor more goodly personage: so bravely sleigh∣ted her restraint, as she expressed her selfe more like a Commander than a Captive: If the Generall at any time sued to her for love; she would with a seeming gracefull scorne reject him telling him;
No lesse constant in her vertuous affecti∣on was that noble Maid; who, having set her love upon a young Gentleman, whose parts were many, though his fortunes few: Her Father taking notice of her extraordi∣nary resp•ct towards him: and having divers times admonished her to forbeare his company; but all in vaine: at last he re∣solved of a course, by bringing in an other Suiter, in fortunes richer, though his bree∣ding m•aner; to weine his daughters affe∣ction from him. Many weekes were not Page 231 past, till the Match was concluded; the Marriage-day appointed, and all things prepared to solemnize this enforced bargain. But how farre the young Maids mind was aliened from her Fathers choice, might well appeare by the answer she return'd her Sui∣ter, at such time as he made her acquainted how all things were concluded:
But all this could not decline her hard-hearted Father from his rich unworthy choice. Married she must be, and to her la∣sting discontent. Which when it could not be prevented; you shall heare what acci∣dent hence insued.
The time being now come, when this in∣forced Match was to be solemnized, and Page 232 she to be given in Marriage: even then when her unhappy Father was to take her by the hand, and give her to her contemp∣tible choice: instead of her hand, he re∣ceived from her this answer:
This sorrowfull Spectacle (having shown her right arme without an hand) broke up that Match. For by the persuasion of Friends, her Father was moved to give her in marriage to her first Choice, with whom she lived in that content; as she thought her hand well bestowed, to rid her of one whom she so much hated: and confirme her his, to whom both heart and hand stood religiously ingaged.
Those Dainty Dalmatian virgins shewed no lesse Continency in resisting the assaults of their commanding Enemies: who, when they saw their People discomfitted, their Page 233 Country depopulated, their principall •ities demolished, and themselves Captives; were nothing at all amated. Insomuch as, being lead away prisoners, one amongst the rest stept out and spake in behalfe of herselfe and the rest in this manner:
Full of masculine valour, and carefull of preserving their honour, did those Scythian women beare themselves: when seeing their miserable Country made desolate by an un∣fortunate overthrow: they thought good to keepe touch with their discomfitted and dis-slaughtered Husbands. For having pro∣mised them, that if they were vanquish'd by their Enemies, they would performe the du∣ty Page 234 of constant Wives, and keepe their ho∣nours untainted in despite of all Assailants. These constant Dames no sooner heard of their husbands sorrowfull discomfiture, than resolved according to their promise, to pre∣serve their honour: with one voyce and vote being gathered together, they conclude to have themselves shut up in severall places provided for that purpose, and there burned, and in their owne ashes buried together.
There may be found likewise some of this Sexe, who having yeelded up the Forts of their Honours upon faire tearmes, and as they conceived, for their owne advantage; yet declined afterwards from that familia∣rity which they formerly imbraced: by for∣bearing their Company, whom they see∣mingly affected: And this strangenesse proceedeth from some reasons either out of simplicity or pollicy best knowne to them∣selves. This makes me remember that merry tale (to interveine mirth with more serious discourse) which I have heard sometimes told to this effect.
In the Towne of Brada (a place which ha's ministred sufficient matter of discourse in these later times) there were Souldiers bill•ted for defence thereof against the Ene∣my. These according to the freedom of their profession, continued there for a sea∣son in all jollity and pleasure: every one Page 235 having his dainty Doxy or Damasella to consort with. Thus they lived; loved, and neighbourly conversed, till the enemy ap∣proached: whose incamping spoiled their Courting. For being come before the Towne, with a firme resolution, as they un∣derstood, to winne, or perish: Those with∣in the Towne, fearing, as it afterwards proved, that it would be a long continued siedge; were advised to remove from them all such as could not be usefull for service, as Old men and Women; who if they stayed with them, would partake of their provision, but afford them no assistance in a time of such imminent danger. These Old men and Women, being thus disposed and privately conveyed to severall Ports adjoyning: This sharpe Siedge goes on: which fell out so commodious to the Enemy, so disadvanta∣geous to the Towne; as being blockt up from taking in any provision, they were driven into a great strait. Notwithstanding, with much prowesse and constancy of spirit. they repelled the force and fury of their Be∣•iedgers repairing by night what was ruined by day: and suffering no opportu∣nity to passe wherein they might either of∣fend the enemy, or defend themselves from his hostility. But seeing no possible hope of reliefe; and an extreame Famine drawing on; having beene inforced, for want of Page 236 better provision, to eate Horses, Doggs, and Cats; which begot diverse pestilent and contagious diseases within the Towne: and having now their Magazins so emptied, as their very last Corne was in the Oven. Yea, taking notice how they were jeered by the Enemy; when at any time they came neare the battlements: using to put their canes in arch holes, and to counterfeite the noyse of Dogs and Cats, to delude them: by making them waite for their comming out, that they might take them and feed on them. Being, I say, thus inclosed with all extreames, they resolved upon a parliance to yeeld up the Towne; upon such faire and honourable tearmes, as the least dishonour that could be, redounded to them: only, indeed, the Towne was wonne from them, which was not lost for want of courage, but provision.
And being now to leave the Towne with Antients and Colours display'd; and bul∣lets in their mouth: One of these brave me∣tald sparks, remembring himselfe how that sometimes before. Siedge was laid to the Towne: he was acquainted with a Bona-Roba; and how she was disposed of in such a Port: resolves with himselfe to repaire thither, and renue his former familiarity with her: but comming to the place of her aboad, he found the wind turn'd; being re∣ceived by her with an unexpected Coynesse; Page 237 which he much wondring at, demanded the reason of her nicenesse? Putting her withall in mind of their former acquaintance, which might be an inducement to move her to ten∣der him the like favour:
But to omit these, should we peruse the Stories or Records of all times, we should find admirable instances in this weaker Sexe for resisting the bold attempts of loose Sui∣ters: being so constant in the defence of their honour, as neither price could betray; nor prayer perswade; nor power enforce their affections, to give way to the least breach of their continency: crowning ever their no∣ble aymes with a cheerefull victory.
But I am to descend now to the next Sub∣ject: wherein it shall appeare that they have ever made Honour their highest Object: for in this may you see portrayed to life, not on∣ly their zeale to modesty, but their tender care to prevent all occasion of jealousy. No wandring eyes to hunt for a Suiter; no stray∣ing Page 238 feet, like Dinah's, to betray their honour. A modest countenance shall you finde with∣out dissembling; a comely Habit, without phantastick affecting; and a firme loyall Love without apish toying: Mine shall be the Taske; be yours the patience. We shall tender nothing to your modest eares that may possibly minister distaste; much, if o∣pinion transport me not, that may afford you benefit: and amply satisfy your longing appetite with a variously stored and well-furnished banquet.
SECTION V. Their Modesty in Count'nance, Habit, and expression of their affection.
THE Habit or quality of the mind is best discer∣ned by the carriage or composure of the body.
O, what a madnesse is it to change the very forme and mold of Nature, and to e∣steeme more of a Picture than a Reasonable Creature! S. Hierom writing to Marcella saith, d
Nor can it move lesse than a pious com∣passion in the heart of any well-affected Christian, to see such adoe made in patching and dawbing this outward cottage, which threatens ruine daily: and such neglect showne to the Inner house, which com∣municates Page 241 to the body, both life and beauty.
Petrarchs advice was otherwise: g
Seeing then, as Festus Pompeius saith, that common and base whoores called Schae∣nicolae used dawbing of themselves: i
Let beauty receive her improvement from no other hand than Nature; what mor•, Page 242 fals of from modesty, and argues a light dis∣position. But in my opinion, nothing dis∣covers lightnesse so much; a• to make strange eyes familiar with the knowledge of your Breast. No serious judgement can conceipt lesse than lightly of such exposed beauty; which that Epigrammatist glan∣ced at happily, when seeing one of these a∣morous Girles, who had no meaning to lead Apes in hell, but would rather impawne her honour than enter any Vestall Order, attyred in a light wanton Habit, and breast displayed, and this in Lent time; when graver attire and a more confined bosome might have better becom'd her; he wrote these Lines:
These Instances I the rather insist on, because there is nothing that impeacheth civile fame more than these outward phan∣tastick Page 244 fooleries, Where the eye gives way to opinion: and a conceipt is convayed to the Heart, by the outward sense: For, as by the Countenance, piety is impaired; so by the Eyes is chastity impeached. Where this is and hath beene ever held for an un∣doubted Maxim:
☞ Lacides Prince of Argos, one, whose noble parts deserved that Title, had he never beene advanced thereto by the suf∣frage of his people; was accounted Lascivi∣ous only for his sleeke lookes, and mincing gate.
So Pompeie, because out of an affected way, as was conceived, he used to scratch his head with one finger; albeit very con∣tinent and modest.
So Augustus discovered the dispositions of his Daughters, by the places where they frequented; the company with which they conversed. The Countenance which they shewed; the manner of their carriage when at any time suited. Lightnesse he found in Page 245 the one; and staydnesse in the other: while the one consorts with a Ruffian, the other with a Senator.
Now to follow our former method, and present to your eyes the Modesty of sundry women, whose excellent parts as they meri∣ted high approvement: so their modest be∣haviour inlarged those additions of their honour. Where you shall find a whole Ro∣man Family so derivative in their vertues one to another, as every action deserved some pe∣culiar attribute of honour,
One of these you shall finde giving these directions to her Daughters:
Another, though young, you shall finde of so composed a Countenance, and constant modesty▪ as when her Friends had conclu∣ded a marriage betwixt her and a noble Gentleman; whom she preferred in her affe∣ction before all others: made no other sem∣blance of joy, nor no other expression of liking than this:
Page 247More easily to be admired than imitated was the Modesty of that incomparable Ae∣milia; who, being one day invited to a sumptuous Feast; where, to delight the itch∣ing eares and wandring eyes of light Guests, were presented sundry wanton pas∣sages: Songs, whose very ayres resounded nothing but lightnesse; Obscene Motions and Gestures, which relished nothing more than Wantonnesse: was asked by a merry Gossip, who sat next to her, how it far'd that she laughed not at those revels aswell as the rest?
NEXT to this Modesty which many of our Feminine Mirrors shewed in their Countenance; we are to present unto you the De∣cency they observed in their Habit. Which, as it was first ordained to keepe the body warme two wayes: by keeping in the natu∣rall heat of the body: and by keeping out the accidentall cold of the ayre; becomes so Page 248 inverted by abuse, as it suites it selfe to nei∣ther of those Necessities for which it was first ordained. But the phrency of pride suffers no cold. Bedlam-like it can goe in slashes, to comply with times humour, and scarcely feele the distemper of any unseaso∣nable Weather. A Mistresse eye is an An∣tidote against a fever. Here you shall have one to beare more than Milo's Bull, upon their shoulders. Such a weight of Jewels, stones, borders and carknets, as it seemes wonderfull to me (to use the words of a Learned Father) that they are not pressed to death with the burden they beare. Others like so many pye-coloured Butter-flyes,* fal∣ling from Silke-wormes, and changing their nature with their colour, disguise themselves in the lightest stuffs of vanity; which kind of Habit may be, indeed, truly styled the minds Anatomy. With these nothing can be received into grace, that appeares grave: nor ought complete, that is not fantasti∣call.
Farre otherwise affected was that Noble Lady; who, when a Peere of this King∣dome came to visit her, and seeing all those inner rooms of her house hung with Black, demanded of her the reason of her sorrow∣ing?
She seemed constant to her Countrey weare; who comming over into this Island with other Out-landish women; was wished, to accommodate her selfe according to the Habit of our Nation:
A Divine answer return'd that excellent Lady to an impertinent Objection, when being one day asked, why she attir'd not her selfe to the fashion of the time?
EXPRESSION OF THEIR AFFECTION.
NEXT this, let us instance what rare Modesty hath beene shown by Women, in the Expression of their Affection. How loath to be seene to love; and how faithfull to those they did love: How shamefast in their professing; and how steadfast in their ex∣pression.
A rare Expression of Affection shewed that young Maid; who, seeing her Lover Page 252 deprived of all meanes to enjoy her by the aversenesse of his Father: and understand∣ing, how he had resolved through discon∣tent to take his Fortune beyond the Seas, with a religious vow, never to solicit any Womans love, for the space of five yeares: She, though till that time, she had ever borne him respect with such discreet secrecy and reservednesse, as no eye could ever dis∣cover her affection; intended under a dis∣guised habit, to accompany him in his journey. Cutting therefore her haire, and taking upon her a Pages habit; she came aboord in the same Ship wherein he was re∣ceived; and so continued during all that Sea-voyage, by the helpe of that disguise and discolouring of her haire, to her Lover, altogether unknowne. And being now arrived at the Port at which they aymed, this disguised Page beseeched him, that hee would bee pleased to accept of his service: pretending, that since his arrivall, hee had heard of the death of his dearest Friends, and such as his lively-hood relyed on; so as, he had no meanes to support him, nor in his present distresse to supply him, unlesse some charitably disposed Gentleman like himselfe, would be pleased to take compas∣sion of him, and entertaine him. This exil'd Lover commiserating his Case, tooke her into his Service; little imagining that his Page 253 Page was his Mistresse. But no doubt, bore his late-entertained Servant more respect for the resemblance he con∣ceived betwixt his Page and Mi∣stresse.
Thus lived they together for a long time: during which space, shee never discovered her selfe: holding it to be to no purpose, seeing hee had taken a so∣lemne vow (as was formerly said) that hee would sollicit no Womans love for such a time: so as, rather than he should violate his vow, (which by all likely∣hood hee would have done, had hee knowne who was his Page) she chused to remaine with him unknowne, expres∣sing all arguments of diligence and care∣full observance that any Master could pos∣sibly expect from his Servant.
Hope, which lightneth every burden; and makes the most painefull service a de∣lightfull solace, sweetned the houres of her expectance: ever-thinking, how one day those five yeares would bee expired, when she might more freely discover her love, and he enjoy what hee so much desired. But Fate, who observes no or∣der betwixt youth and age; nor reserves one compassionate teare for divided Loves, prevented their hopes, and abridged their joyes by her premature death. For be∣ing Page 254 taken with a Quartan-fever, she lan∣guished even unto death: Yet before her end, she desired one thing of her Master in recompence of all her faithfull service; which was, that he would be pleased to close up the eyes of his Page, and receive from him one dying kisse: and lastly, to weare for his sake one poore Ring, as a lasting me∣moriall of his loyall love. All which his sorrowfull Master truly performed: but perceiving by the Posy of the Ring that his deceased Page was his Mistresse: and that he had bestowed that Ring on her, at such time as he departed from her; it is not to be conceived, what continued sorrow he expres∣sed for her.
A Story of no lesse constant nor passio∣nate affection may be here related of that deeply inamoured Girle; who, though she preferred her Honour before the imbraces of any Lover: and made but small semblance of any fondnesse or too suspicious kindnesse to him, who had the sole interest in her love. Yea, so farre was her affection distanced from the least suspicion: as her very nearest Friends could scarcely discover any such matter betwixt them: yet at such time as her unfortunate Lover, being found a no∣torious Deliquent in a Civill State, was to suffer; when, all the private meanes by way of Friends that she could make, pre∣vailed Page 255 nothing for his delivery: and shee now made a sad spectator of his Tragedy. After such time as the Headsman had done his office, shee lept up upon the Scaffold: and in a distracted manner, called all such people as were there present, to witnesse: That hee who had suffer'd could no way possibly be a Delinquent, and she innocent:
Nor could this poore distempered Maid, by all the advice, councell, or perswasion that could be used to her, be drawne from the Scaffold; ever and anon beckning to the the Executioner to performe his office: for otherwise hee was an Enemy to the State, and the Emperours profest foe. Nor could she be without much force haled from the Scaffold, till his corpse was removed.
The Historian gives a noble attestation of that majestick Marcella:
But as Vertue receives her proper station in the Meane; so all Extreames decline from that Marke. I have heard of Some, who were so over-nice or gingerly precise Page 256 in Expressing their Affections; as they would not admit so much favour as a faire or equall Parliance, unlesse he observed his Distance, to their affectionate Ser∣vant.
These will not grant admittance to their Suiters, to preferre their requests in their Chambers. No; they must be distanced by some Partition or Window; or else wooe by Prospective Glasses: or utter their thoughts (with the Silent Lady) through Canes or Trunks; as if Affection were an Infection. But this nicenesse tastes more of Folly than Modesty. Those only deserve approvement, who can so season their Af∣fections with discretion; as neither too much coynesse taxe them of coldnesse, nor too much easinesse brand them of for∣wardnesse in the ordering of their Affe∣ction.
This closeth fitly with those Posies of two cursory wits writ in a window by way of answer one to another:
But thus much may suffice for instances of this kind: we are now to descend from the Expression of their constant but modest Love, to such as were Corrivals in their Af∣fections; which have in all ages brought forth Tragick Conclusions.
SECTION VI. The violence of some Women us'd upon such as were Corrivals in their choice: With Examples.
*THERE is no Maxime more holding than this:
Agreeing well with that of the Greeke Poet:
*Italy hath for many ages beene a Tra∣gick Page 259 Theater of such presentments. Where you shall finde here a Lady so violently strong in her affection, as her Servant must have Spyes neare him, if he Court but an other Mistresse: Civile cu••sies can hardly passe without some rackt Construction. This fury, that passionate Dame expressed; when, having entertained a Gentleman of excellent parts and worthy descent, to be her Servant: and having enjoyed the free∣dome of their Loves, with much familiarity for long time together: at last, by some re∣port which shee had heard, or some other bad office suggested to her, she con∣ceived a deep jealousy of her Servant, that he begun to aliene his love from her, by setting it on such an amorous Curtezan. Time strengthned his conceipt; For where sus∣picions of this kinde are not at first resisted, they become daily strengthened, and breake out into such fearefull issues, as they are very hardly without blood to be quenched. This jealouse Dame giving free scope to her own thoughts; contracted with a curious Lim∣ner to draw the feature of that Curtezan, as much to life as he could possibly doe. Which done, she caused this Picture a∣mongst other Pieces of incomparable art to he hung up in her Lodging Chamber. The next time that her Favorite came, having free accesse unto her, entered into her Page 260 Chamber: where she had withdrawne her selfe (purposely as may be imagined) into a private Closet adjoyning to that roome. Meanetime, her unhappy Servant taking a full view of all these Pieces, amongst which having found out the Picture of his Cur∣tezan, he bestowed his eye more upon it, than all the rest: which she observing through a Cranie, and being not able any longer to containe her selfe, came hastily out of her Closet where she had retired▪ and having saluted her Servant with a seeming-gracefull Countenance as if all had beene well, she began to aske him in good earnest what Piece he most affected, or (as he concei∣ved) deserved most love?
A revenge of like nature, though per∣formed in a fairer manner, was sometimes presented by that jealous Florentine: who suspecting the Constancy of her Friend: and vowing revenge if it prov'd so: at last she perceiv'd, that the grounds of her jealousy were not without just Cause. One day therefore she invites her Corrivall to her House: where pretending, after a free and friendly entertainment, that she had such a curiouse Antique Piece to shew her, as the world could not paralell: she brought her to a private retyred room remote from the noise of eare, or recourse of any. Where being enter'd;
And so it prov'd; for this fatall femini•e Duell, rest them both of their lifes: Albeit, the one lived some few houres after, relating the sad occasion of their quarrell: and Page 263 with what cheerefulnesse of spirit the Com∣bat was not only entertained but performed on both parts.
No lesse desperate, but fuller of dishonour was the designe of that jealouse amorist: who hearing sundry reports of her Servants inconstancy, would not at first be perswa∣ded of any such matter, giving him all free entertainment, after her wonted manner. Till at last, giving more easy way to credu∣lity; she began to examine the circum∣stances probably inducing to beliefe: and she found (as shee conceiv'd) sufficient grounds to confirme her suspicion; and consequently a withdrawing of his affe∣ction. But desiring much to bee more fully satisfied touching his familiarity with that Burgonesse, whereof such frequent re∣port was every where dispersed; she resol∣ved to counterfeate a Letter as writ from her servant unto her: and to the end all things might be with lesse suspicion carried, she used the helpe of her Secretary, who could so nearely counterfeate his hand, as comparing them together, none could scarce∣ly distinguish them. The purport of her Letter was thus:
This Letter she made up and sealed it with her Servants Signet, which she had got out of his pocket: and with all secrecy, lest her plot should be surpriz'd, and come to discovery, she delivers it to a faithfull vassall of hers, to be conveyed according to dire∣ction. Upon receipt of which Letter, it is not easy to imagine how variously her thoughts were divided betwixt Hope and Feare. Feare to forgoe one whom she so unfeignedly lov'd: Hope, to perswade him by the reasons she might use, to stay. Howsoever, she resolved to returne him an answer, which she addressed after this man∣ner.
This Letter Madame D' Alveare receives; which hastens her intended revenge. Lon∣ger did not the day seeme to that Corrivall, for the injoyment of her love; than it see∣med tedious to this inraged Lady, to accom∣plish her revenge. Which she performed with an act of horror in this manner.
Receiving benefit from the silence and secrecy of the Evening, a little before the time appointed, she privately repaires to the place; where she shrowds her selfe clo∣sely in a Tuft of shady Tamriks standing neare to the Garden-house: expecting still Page 268 her Corrivals approach. Which hapned all too soone. For comming to open the Door, this revengefull Lady having her backe towards her, pistolld her: using these words to aggravate the quality of her Crime:
Dainty Madona, your Lover now at last ha's found you to be true Pi∣stoll proofe.
And so it fell forth with this cruell Lady, who surprized by divine Justice, suffered a just legall censure for committing a fact of such horror.
But of far larger extent was her revenge; who being satisfied of the disloyalty of her affectionate Servant: under a faire and friendly pretence, invited him and her Cor∣rivall to a banket: where in diverse sugar plates she had caused poyson to be inclosed: with which she not only dispatched those two, at which principally her revenge was intended: but her selfe too, to the end that Tragedy might be more completely closed.
Other instances I might here produce from our owne Pale: but these may already seeme too many, being personated in na∣tures Page 269 of so sweet and pliable a quality. Neither let these unpleasing Examples di∣staste them, seeing our pen is addrest to returne them recompence in this Their Modest Defence, here prepared for them.
SECTION VII. Their Modest Defence.
NO age but may bring forth Presidents of cle∣mency and cruelty in both Sexes: There have beene ever Tares in the purest wheat; Cockle in the soundest graine; rankest weedes amongst freshest flowers. These were in∣deed, savage acts for such supple natures. But if the wisdome of Nature (to speake like a Naturall man) hath provided for the poy∣sonous Spider her Caule: give me leave, without the least apologizing of error, much lesse defending actions of such horror, Page 271 to weave a thinne Cob-web Vaile in a Mo∣dest Defence of such, who, even in these de∣signes though undeservedly have incurred high censure.
It is an excellent rule which that Senten∣tious Seneca sometimes observed,* and to our use recommended: I had rather (saith he) offend by speaking truth, than please by playing the Flatterer; or palliating an untruth.
And the same Rule shall it be our care re∣ligiously to observe. For where pennes are free and not ingaged to any; Truth must consequently bee the argument of their Story.
There is small doubt, but some will as highly reprove Lucilia for loving too much, as Livia for loving too little: Both were (equally) occasions of their Husbands deaths. Yet was there as great difference betwixt these two effects, as be∣twixt Love and Hate. Phedra and Deja∣nira, both of them brought their Husbands to untimely ends. Yet what the one did, was purposely done, to be rid of him: what the other did, was casually done to rid o∣thers love from him. Good intentions many times produce heavy Events. And now and then, mischievous plots Comicall ends. Some have had their impostumes cu∣red, by their weapons, by which they were wounded. Others have had their wounds Page 272 impoisoned, where they expected to bee cured.
Olympia, mother to that great Comman∣der, the invincible Alexander, could not but thinke it ill in her to preferre so unjust a Suite to her Sonne, as to request, nay con∣jure him by so many Motherly Oblige∣ments, to send forth his Command that One, and he an innocent One, but much hated by the Queene, should be forthwith executed: Yet was the effect hereof good. For as her noble Sonne disswaded her from pressing any such unjust Suite: so it made him more cautious afterwards of enter∣taining any Suite, which his Mother pre∣ferred, through the injustice of that presiden∣tall One which she presented.
Mandanes, did ill in disclosing her Dreame: for it plotted the ruine of her Son: yet the effect proved well: for the exposi∣tion of that dreame made that Privy Coun∣cellour of State, Harpagus, to provide for the Safety of the Childe: and by the pro∣vidence of heaven, to raise a flourishing Em∣pire out of a Shepheards Cottage.
Againe; of the contrary side: Clitem∣nestra thought she had done well for the sa∣fety of Aegistus, when she privately hid him, when those Grecian Heralds summon'd him; those fatall warres of Troy called for him. Yet what safety could there be in the Page 273 armes of Adultery? A fearefull revenge prevented their hopes! No sooner was that long tenne yeares Siedge finished, unhappy Troy ruined; that light dishonour'd booty, the hatefull remaines of vitiated beauty, wanton Helen restored, than Aegistus his shamefull retire was fully revenged.
The unfortunate Agrippina, whose birth was her bane, whose race was her ruine; thought she did well in fitting and accom∣modating her sonne, that Monster of men, for an Empire: yet happy had that Empire been, if it had never known such a son. His e∣ducation prepar'd him to comply with time: To ingratiate himselfe with Senators and Plebians. To affect popularity: and to cover the craft and cruelty of his nature with a seeming Clemency, and gracefull Majesty.
Thus may you see, how good intentions may produce ill effects: and some mischie∣vous Plots good ends. Some by loving their Husbands (or to use that complemen∣tall garbe) their Servants too well, have by their too much love ruined both their Ser∣vants and themselves. Some desiring to please, have made them perish whom they sought to please. Like that over-kind Duck who perceiving her Sweetheart to be tiklish, and thinking it to bee a pleasure, tickled him so long, till he burst his very Spleene with laughter.
Page 274Now take a review of all those Tragick Examples, which in our last Section we pre∣sented to your sight! Was there any one of those induced to shed blood for any hope of honour? Filthy lucre? or any other plea∣sure, save only to become sole Soveraignes, or absolute commanders of their own Love? Their Plots were; not to bring in an Em∣pire; usurpe immerited honour, or to send their eyes abroad, to hunt for new favour. Their desires were confined, their affections closed; their goale obtained: so they might but enjoy, without Sharers, those whom they so infinitely loved. Content is worth a Crowne: and this Crowne they held themselves seaz'd of, so long as they possest their owne.
Their owne, you will say! But you relate but of few such unto us. These whom you have brought forth for such Examples, had their bosomes open to more than their own Corrivals in others affections, as well as their owne. Which as they fell into feare∣full extreames, so were they enlivened by unlawfull desires.
It is true; yet are we in charity to col∣lect, that if they so highly valued stolne fruits, they would much more prize such as were lawfully enjoy'd.
You have heard sufficient store of Argu∣ments and Presidents touching their Conti∣nencyPage 275 in assaults; their Constancy to their owne. With what Equanimity they have borne all extreames to expresse their loyall hearts. Hope of fortunes could not tempt them; Baits of honour could not taint them; youthfull pleasure could not take them. They continued Widdowes in the absence of their Husbands. Resembling Snayles in the carriage of their houses: but Roes in dispatch of their businesse.
Whence it was, as I conceive it, that the Romans had a custome, that when any of their Maids were married, they were to bring their houshold stuffe with them, being such as was by their Friends bestowed on them; which being brought to their Bride∣groomes house: They were likewise to fol∣low in their Waine or Caroach (according to the quality of their persons) and at the Tressall of the doore, to breake the wheeles of the Waine, and to put off their shooes; implying, that from thenceforth they were to be House-keepers and no Gadders. And such constant House-wifes have we here of∣fered to your imitation.
Plato in his Dialogue entitled Symposium or a Gossip-meeting, by way of fiction, (which rellish best when they arise from a pure and refined invention) describeth the difference betwixt two kinds of Venus: whereof the first was more antient, brought Page 276 forth by the Heavens, whom Vertuous men doe follow: the second much younger, be∣gotten betweene Iupiter and Dione, whom wicked men doe serve. Which Fiction, as it is not without delight, so neither is the Morall without fruit.
Ye Modest Ones, for to you only is our Lampe dedicated, are these who are brought forth by the Heavens. Your Thoughts are fixt on that Spheare from whence you came. It is not on earth that can depresse you below your selfes, be your Fortunes never so dejected: nor on earth that may transport you, because your de∣sires are higher seated. When you Love, that love of yours is so purely sifted from all loose love; as it confirmes you nothing lesse than divine. When you Hate, that hate of yours is so farre from all extreames: as you have an eare no lesse ready to heare a Submission, than a tender heart to seale their pardon. When you give, you give chearefully; when you forgive, you for∣give freely. You cannot heare any one de∣famed, but with an averse eare and declining heart, you leave the relater to himselfe: or disswade him from dispersing such reports: or stand in defence of their honour whom you heare traduced, especially, when their absence leaves them unjustified. When any light object labours to suggest an im∣pure Page 277thought to your unblemish'd minds: you take a wise course; you give it a repulse at the first assault: left getting enterance, it plead possession: and disturbe the whole Family by her intrusion. Thus by making Heaven your Object; whatsoever is lesse than Heaven, you make your Subject.
Your Speech, likewise is so seasoned; that nothing is uttered by you, but what is true; knowing, that the ground of every Speech should be Verity; nor any thing with vehemency pressed, but what may re∣dound to Civile profit; knowing, that the ayme of every Speech should be Vtility; nor continued, but with a pleasing sweetnesse; knowing, that the grace of every Speech is Affability. You thinke twice before you speake, and may be demanded twice before you answer. You are not like our forward Gossips, whose tongues make themselves thralls. Discretion ha's so regulated your Speech, as it ever stands at distance with Lightnesse and Spleene. Your words, unlike many of our feminine discourses, reteine more weight than wind; they are like Nayles fastned by the Elders of the Assem∣bly; such is their efficacy. They are like Apples of Gold with Pictures of Silver; such is their propriety.
All your Dialect is regulated by the Rule of Charity; you scorne to Speake that Page 278 of another, which you would not have an∣other to speake of you. Your Discourse dif∣fers far from that Talkative Orator, whose use was to powre forth an Ocean of Words, but a Droppe of Reason. Or like that im∣pertinent Speaker, of whose studied but stupid speech this judgement was given:
Your Actions, are so pure from staine, as they represent the purity of your state. Your Workes desire not to be clothed with vailes of darknesse. You consider how that All-seeing Eye is over you, from which, though Adam fly to the bush, Sara behind the door, no, should the mountaines offer themselves for a shrowd: yet in vaine is such retyre: no place can hide us, from his eye that is ever over us.
It was Seneca's councell to his friend Lu∣cilius, that whensoever he went about to do any thing, he should imagine Cato or Scipio, or some other worthy Romane to be in pre∣sence. Page 279 This Rule you observe; you con¦ceipt with your selves in the sacred silence of your hearts, which are so close from the af∣fections of Earth, as they only aspire to the Contemplations of Heaven; that the eyes of all good men, no, even of those who are become Saints, of men, are upon you. Your desire is only to please them, who are only pleased with the Object of goodnesse: Be∣ing Pythagoreans to all the World, and Pe∣ripatetians to Christ;* mute to all vanities, and eloquent only to Christ.
You follow the counsell of a mellifluous father,* and of a Wise Morall: by setting alwayes before your eyes some Good person, to the end that you might so live as if he were ever looking on you, ever eying you.
There is no young Gallant that need en∣counter you in those tearmes which that cautious Cavaliere did in Erasmus to his wanton Mistresse:
But now to take a view of these Errors, to which your Sexe becomes most ingaged: or at least, for which you are many times innocently traduced. This free speaking Age will not stick to taxe you of Ambition: and wherein must this consist but in your desire of precedency before others of your Page 280 sexe; and soveraignity over such as should be your heads? And these will tell you of an an∣cient custome, which if you observed as you ought you would not transgresse that law of Obedience so much as you do. And this was; that when at any time a Couple were mar∣ried, the soale of the Bridegrooms shooe was to be laid upon the Brides head: implying, with what subjection she should serve her husband. But me thinks, this Rituall Em∣bleme or Emblematicall Rite was too much underfoot, to be observed by one that should be esteemed an equall-individuall mate. She came from his Side, not from his Foot. And though she be not to walk Checkmate with him, yet when her Check shall meet with him, it cannot chuse but both appease him & please him when any thing shall distemper him. There are some likewise that will say, how your Ambition clozeth not only here: Your darling ayme is Honour; you could love him that suits you, if he could bestow a new stile on you. The Title of Madame highly takes you. Nor is there any vanity that pleaseth more by playing on your fancy, than the naked Complement of Lo∣vely Lady. I have heard indeed, some of your Sexe so affected; but alas, this was but an harmelesse Ambition. Of which humour, that honour-inamoured Damasella seem'd to be, who in that Generall-grand Page 281 Call of Knights, finding in her Husband an unwillingnesse to accept, as she conceived, of that Honour; so farre at last prevailed with him by strong Reasons and high Rela∣tions of the Honour and Mirror of Knight∣hood, as she perswaded with him to enter∣taine it. But upon his returne home, having understood, how he had payd for what he got not; and disburs'd money for that he had not: She entertained the poore Pil∣cherd with a Bastinado: telling him with∣all, that though his dungrell spirit would make her no Lady, her fury should make him know what she desired to be.
Truth is, such an innate evill is the desire of Honour, as that person who affects it not, is of a rare temper. And yet that brave Girle seemed to be one of these; who being Ladyfide, by an honour conferred on her decrepit Husband: presently upon report of it, thus replyed:
An other Error you are likewise taxed of (as what sexe or degree so innocent, which the freedome of a calumnious tongue may not traduce) and it is, your usuall frequent to Court-Maskes and other publique State-Shows: where you use purposely to present your selves, a pretty time before any such Shows are to be performed, in hope that some amorous Lord, or some other Complemen∣tall Court-Sparke will take you into some with-drawing roome, to court your beauty, and so ingratiate himselfe within the easy Lists of your fancy. So as, you come not thi∣ther so much to see what is there presented; as to be amorously courted, affectionately suited; all which is with such yeelding silence and pleasing smiles redarted, as they hold you wonne so soone as you are wooed, tain∣ted as soone as you are attempted, soiled so soone as you are assayled, ent'red so soone as you are assaulted.
Others likewise report you apt to take af∣fection upon the moving of any personall Action. If you come to a Play-house, and Page 283 there chance to see an Active Roscius brea∣thing life in his Action: you presently feele a glowing heate in your veines. You could finde in your heart to bestow the choice of a Lover on such an Actor. Weake-grounded malice, to vent it selfe on such loving frail∣ties! Injurious Tetters to femall honours! Because their sweet pliable natures are such, as they can find no harbour for hate; must they therefore be tax't, because their Love breaks forth into too much heate? These deserve so little answering, as if they had no other Advocate, even Nature her selfe would plead for them.
There be Some likewise who say; that as you are commonly light in the choice of your Love: so are you in your Love as sub∣ject to change. If your affection be for Youth; though it best please you: yet you can seemingly bestow it on Age, though nothing more displease you. And these ef∣fects those lovely fortunes of his loathed Love worke in you. And what is all the employment you take in hand, after such time, as you have given him your hand and heart, (but with no good heart) but how to cosin him? Your use is, they will say, to give your old Chrone a sleeping powder; that you may take the keys of his treasure from under his head, the sooner, and so, long be∣fore his death, make your selves his Admi∣nistrators. Page 284 You love him, but only in hope of a day will come: when you may freely make such an one his Heire, who may suite better with your affection, and in requitall share freelier in his fortune.
These will say too, that you bedew your Husbands Corpse with Stepdames teares. Those funerall flowers which bestick and bedeck his Hearse, cannot be so soone with'red, as your grief•s are vanished. You bury your sorrow with him: neither is that sorrow your owne, but borrowed. A New-husband is formalled, before your old One be formally buried.
Now; what poore traducements bee these? Might Heathens have their times li∣mited for mourning, and must yours be e∣verlasting?
Some will affirme too, that in compari∣son of men, your desires are more unboun∣ded; and this, they say, even our owne Mo∣derne Chronicles have sufficiently confir∣med. But we finde Bodin worthily taxed for writing that Caesar in his Commentaries should say, that the Englishmen of his time had but one woman for ten or twelve men; whereas indeed, Caesar never said so, or could say so, for that he never knew or heard of the name of Englishmen; seeing their com∣ming into Britaine, was (as may be clearely computed) almost 500 yeares after his death.
Page 285Againe; what might be the reason, will some object, why the Serpent first tempted the Woman rather than the Man? and this question (ever to your disadvantage) is no sooner, say they, proposed, than resolved by Chrysostome. Women are naturally unwa∣rier, easier, and frailer. So as, in that they are unwarier, they are easilier deceived; in that they are easier, they are sooner to good or evill perswaded; And in that they are frailer, they are the sooner vanquished. For this cause therefore would not the Devill assault the Man, but the Woman; for as∣much as he knew, that a Woman was sooner deceived, because unwarier; quicklier per∣swaded, because easier; and sooner vanqui∣shed, because frailer.
But this Objection I have so clearely assoiled in the very first Subject of this Booke; as I shall little need to stand in your Defence any further touching this parti∣cular. Only thus much may suffice: There is small question to be made, but the Serpents cunning knew well that he might by all probability soonest prevaile upon the weaknesse of a Woman: yet albeit, she was first tempted, and tainted so soone as she consented: the Man was as soone perswa∣ded by the Woman, though she infinitely lesse subtile than the Serpent; as the Woman, though the weaker vessell, was by the Subti∣lity of the Serpent.
Page 286But we will passe from these, to those ob∣vious reproofes which the present vanities of the Age lay upon you.
Some here, amongst other objections, which groundlesse spleene is ever apt to sug∣gest, and calumny with swift wings to dis∣perse; will say that ever since that time, that your teeth watred at the Apple, they have ever watred at forbidden fruit. A lico∣rish and luscious tooth hath ever since that time seazed on you. And were this all, it were to be borne with. You cannot see a proper piece of flesh, promising perfor∣mance; no dapper youth, whose strong sin∣newy posture confirmes him an able com∣plete Lover, but your eye wooes him, and in so hote a chace pursues him, as though your tongue be silent, your sight is attra∣ctively eloquent.
But what would these Criticks have you doe? Would they have you shut those beau∣teous Windows; and to open them to no Ob∣ject that may delight you? Is there such a necessity that you cannot looke on him, but you must lust after him? If there be any rare or prodigious Monster to be seene; we flock unto it, and bestow our money for the sight of it. And is it lawfull for us to fix our eyes with such greedinesse on a Mon∣ster: and unlawfull for you to delight that pleasing Sense with a beauteous Object of Nature?
Page 287Yea; but will these say, we direct not our censure nor judgement only by the Eye; we have other arguments to evince them of lightnesse: for goe to these late-licentiate Pattentary Sedans: you shall finde them shrowded there for strange arrands. Though their Couches have windowes to eye Spectators; they would not for a World wish that which the Philosopher sometimes Wished:* To have windowes in their breasts, that the whole World might transparantly looke through them. Poore Corky fooles! These can see nothing wagge, but they must p•epe here, and peepe there, and thinke it is Actaeons shadow: whereas, it is only the shadow of their owne deluded fancy which inthrals them to this misery.
Nor doe these only taxe you of a various lightnesse in respect of your Change, but of a jealous doubtfulnesse towards your owne Choice. If you gossip it, none must question it: whereas, if they, good men, to allay a tedious houre, or drowne the disquiets they suffer at home in a cup of Lethe, keep abroad late, they must be called to a strict accompt, and pay a new reckning, after their mispent day, in the evening.
Nay; you will tell your innocent Hus∣bands, when, God knowes, there is no great cause to suspect them:
But let us go on with these ungrounded calumnies; and discusse the strength and solidity of them to the bottome. Some of these Timonists, or feminine Tetters, taxe you of unbounded pride: These pencyle out your Borders, Habilements and Embrode∣ries; your toyes, tyres and dressings; your wimples, wyres, and curlings; your pain∣tings, poudrings and purflings. These, say they, make your fathers patrimonies to shake, to maintaine your bravery while you are Maids: And makes your Husbands Mannors, to doe you service, passe the A∣lienation Office. Alas, poore Girles! If you appeare carelesse in your dresse, you are quickly taxed of discontent; and if neate in your dresse, you are censured of pride. What you doe (I freely appeale to your selves) is to please the curious eyes of your Husbands: And perchance to prevent the worst: for should they see you sluttish, who knows not, but it might beget instead of loving you, a loathing of you; and consequently, make them hunt after new Mistresses: which would ruine all, by making such a breach, as scarce time could repaire, or the remainder of their declining fortunes redeeme?
It was the opinion of Lessius, that in some cases Women might use their painting and Page 290 poudring without sin: First, if it were to the intent to cover any blemish or deformity: Secondly,* if the Husband commanded it, to the end his Wife might seeme more comely in the presence of others: which was like∣wise the expresse opinion of Alagora: That to adde more beauty, were it by apparrelling or painting, yea though it were a meere work of Art, and colourably deluding, yet were it no mortall sin: confidentely main∣taining the use of painting, grounded upon these precedent respects.
But I shall not desire that my Lampe may give light to that line, which may seeme to give fuell or foment to any light love. The age is apt enough to sacrifice too many pre∣cious houres to Idolatrize such a Shrine. My ayme is only in a faire and just defence of your imitable actions, to wipe of all such injurious aspersions as calumnious pens shall or may lay on you.
In which Taske, I hold my oyle so much the better bestowed; for that I am confident that whereinsoever you are defective, you will labour to supply it, by perusing this and collecting hence what may truly make you most amiable and accomplished.
In the meane time, it shall be my constant opinion (nor doe I feare that there shall bee found the least sprinkling of heresy in it) that these Stigmatick Spirits, who have Page 291 steep'd their pens so deep in gall, have some∣times received some occasionall scars from the worst, which ha's made them so cause∣lesly, and without exception to invey a∣gainst the best. For these (as I conceive) have unhappily got a blow on the shins with a French faggot, or fed too freely on a Neopolitan Rabbet. These are they, and only they, who stick not to say, if you be old, you are lothsome; if young, you are gamesome: you can scorne them that love you; love them that scorne you. You can play the Snakes, shrowding your selves under the fre∣shest and fragrant'st flowers: but you have a sting to dart upon every State. You can play the Syrens by tuning your voyce, to al∣lure the amorous Passenger to Vice: But sleight you these malicious affronts: you have within you to secure you; which will so highly improve you, as you remaine perch'd above the compasse or reach of scandal. Yet is not all this which hath been hitherto spoken in your Defence, so to secure you (for so should I delude you) as to disswade you from standing upon your guard. There is in no place security, brave Ladies: Neither in Heaven, nor in Paradise: much lesse in the World.* For in Heaven the first Angell fell. Whence Esay: How art thou fallen from heavē, O Lucifer, son of •he morning? For he fell un∣der the very power of the Deity. Adam in Page 292Paradise,* the place of all delicacy. Iudas in the World, from the Schoole of our Saviour, the Seed-plot of all Sanctity. In one word, are ye Maids? you have your patterne in a Dor•as. Are ye Wifes? you have your pat∣terne in an Esther. Are ye Widdowes? you have your patterne in a Iudith. These, though dead, their memories live: and by their lifes prescribe you how to live; that living as they liv'd, and doing as they did, your memories may live when you are dead.
And so I descend from their Modest De∣fence, well becomming Creatures of such di∣vine Excellence, to their Witty Aphorismes, Apothegmes and Answers; which I shall illustrate in sundry choice and select in∣stances.
SECTION VIII. Their witty Aphorismes, Apothegms and Answers.
TOo strait and narrow was the confine of his shallow conceipt, who wish'd his wife to have no more wit than to goe out o'th' raine. It seemes, he had a desire to ingrosse it all to him∣selfe, and to suffer his wife to have small or no share with him. But such a Consort were a poore Helpe. We shall here finde Creatures of an higher pitch: such, who knew how to allay the discomforts of a per∣plexed Husband by their wise and sociable Page 294 sharing with him in his affliction. Others so nobly composed, as they scorned to stoup to the lest thought of basenesse, when crush∣ed with the greatest weight of affliction. Others so far from coynesse to those they lov'd, as to their highest hazards, they not only exprest it, but suffer'd for their affecti∣ons. Others such kind loving Turtles, as they could not endure to lose the presence of their owne; or to conceive any defects or infirmities in their owne: and though all beside themselves distasted them: yet were their true affectionate thoughts ever indivi∣dually knit and cemented to them. Others, who could make such excellent use of their decayed beauty; as they made it their Em∣bleme of mortality: begetting no lesse veneration with their riveld age, than they did affection with their enamor'd youth. Instances in each of these we shall take occasion to offer unto you, with such witty Aphorismes, pretty Apothegms, and pithy Answers; as may infinitely delight you. And first, of such as could apply com∣forts and cordials, seasonably to their dis∣consolate Husbands, when surrounded with Objects of approaching misery.
☞ Theogena wife to Agathocles (of whom we have made honourable mention else∣where) shew'd admirable constancy in her Husbands greatest misery: shewing her Page 295 selfe most his owne, when he was relin∣quish't and forsaken of his owne: and con∣firming her true affection with this resolu∣tion:
The like constancy of love, and comfort in advice shewed Sulpitia to her•, when she plainely told him:
Secondly, for such, whose brave and well-composed temper would not suffer their masculine spirits to stoupe to any Dis∣asters: we shall furnish you with imitable patternes in that kinde: A lovely Lydia, who could with Medea in the Tragedy, expresse her selfe nobly, and make death and danger the least of her feares.
This that brave-spirited Martia shew'd good proofe of, curing all threats with this exquisite receipt:
Thirdly, you shall finde such, who were so farre from coynesse to those they lov'd, as no danger could decline them from their embraces, to whom they had sacrificed their affections. This that incomparable Mar∣cella well discovered; answering such as ad∣vised her to bee more reserved in her love, with that elegant Poet, in this manner:
This that constant Chariclea expressed to her dearest Archas; when in a Tablet she caused this to be ingraven, to confirme her resolution, in despite of all opposition:
In the fourth siege, (though they deserve an higher place) shall you see presented such tender-hearted Turtles, who held it a pu∣nishment worse than death, to be deprived of the presence of their owne: No Object Page 297 could delight them, being reft their sight whose affection only inchain'd them.
Of this ranke both Divine and Humane Stories render us two examples: The one is that of Caja Tranquilla, who ever used this apt Posy for a Bride-bush, to her royall Spouse Caius Tarquinius Priscus;
☞ This that noble Lady Armenia, (whom we have formerly mentioned, and whose memory cannot bee too much re∣vived) with a princely modesty seconded; when being invited to King Cyrus Wed∣ding, went thither with her Husband. At night when they were returned home, her Husband asked her, (amongst other Cur∣taine parliance) how shee liked the Bride∣groome, whether she thought him to be a faire and beautifull Prince or no?
Nor could some of these conceive any such defects in their Husbands, as were more than manifest to the Senses of others. So as, when one of Hiero's enemies reproach∣ing him with a stinking breath: he went home and question'd his Wife why she told Page 298 him not thereof?
No lesse gracefull than loyall was the an∣swer of that young Bride to her Husband;* who being borne of the Scottish borders, & married to an Englishman, was demanded one day by her Husband, whether, if she were to play the Souldier, she would fight for her owne Nation, or for his?
☞Some Aphorismes there be, if they may merit that stile, who lose much of their state, by their too weake discovery of an A∣nacreontick Spirit, and rendring themselves too light.
That wench was of a more amiable face, than admirable conceipt: who having en∣ter'd marriage with a Tradesman, and after∣wards entertaining too familiar acquain∣tance with a Knight; By whom, as it was suspected, she had children as well as by her owne Husband: stickt not to aske this wise question at a Gossips feast:
A reverend old Bencher, the very first night that he went to bed to his Lady; She sent forth a Shreeke; and being asked the cause;
That amorous Tomboy was a kinder Trout; who, though she had no competent portion, yet had she a competible proporti∣on, an incomparable affection. She, one day, upon a loving Enterview, debated the mat∣ter with her Sweet-heart in this sort:
That Girle approv'd her selfe an expert and experienc'd Artist for repairing the de∣cayes of a broken Tradesman; who being Page 300 rudely encounter'd by One, who shew'd himselfe more haughty, than his state was weighty; more sensually light than suited with his gravity:
That hote-brain'd Calacute shew'd him∣selfe of too Italionate a temper; whose Wife being surprized with an extreame Fever, which drove her into so a violent a di∣stemper; as the fury or phrensy rather of her disease, forc'd her to discover many things she did, and (perchance) more than she ever did. He, after her recovery, be∣lieving what her distraction had intempe∣rately disclosed, willed her to goe along with him to his Countrey-house: where, upon his departure from her, he was pleased to use these words unto her:
That haplesse Malecontent fell upon a desperate conclusion; who, having relin∣quish'd his owne Bed for the embraces of a a Strange Woman: and in a Melancholly Fitte, taking a pinte of white Wine and mixing it strongly with Mercury;
But to leave the Suburra, and approach the Temple of Viriplaca; a place of more peace, and in the eye of goodnesse deserving more praise.
☞The Last, though not lowest, because furthest divided and estranged in their Page 302 thoughts from earth; are those, whose de∣cayed beauty, though it h'as divorc'd them from youthfull affection: yet hath the con∣stant opinion of their goodnesse purchas'd to their rivell'd age, a reverend estimation. This appeared in that sometimes faire Bel∣lingeria's excellent Apothegme:
We shall finde Aphorisms, Apothegm• and Answers of another nature, and a ri∣sing from a lighter temper; lesse serious, but no lesse ingenious.
This that pretty pert Girle expressed in her quicke answer to her Mother; who be∣ing reproved by her for looking so boldly on mens faces, saying, that it became Maids to be bashfull, and to looke upon the Earth, and for Men to looke upon Maids.
Shee came nothing short of this Girles boldnesse, occasioned by her own lightnesse, who after such time as shee had too freely plaid the Wanton, left the Child which she had brought forth to the Care and Charge of the Parish: and being rebuked for it, saying, shee was unthankfull, so to abuse that place where shee had received so many Curtesies:
☞ That witty wench return'd to a Dunse in a Cassocke as shrewd an answer (though she ever reflected more religiously upon her conjugall honour;) Who telling this Maid, that Women were at best but Necessary Evils, and that they were never needfull to any but in time of necessity: whereas the Lord stood in need of such as him.
That well-meaning Wife knew right∣well how to shape her Husband a Reply: Who, when her Husband told her that it should be progresse time for a season with him, and that they might lye apart, be∣cause it was Dogge-Dayes:
No lesse to purpose was that good Wifes answer to that Chimick Doctor: Who, tel∣ling her what rare experiments his sublima∣ted Art had extracted from the Philosophers stone. And that Kelly (that Austrian Captive) was but to him a Puny in that Mysterious Secrecy: And that, he would not only make her Pots, Pipkings, Kettles, Land-irons with all her other Utensiles, pure Indian Gold; but convert her selfe too, if she pleased, into the very same Mettall, and not only colour, but cover her quite over with gold:
Of such present flashes and flourishes of fe∣minine wit, we might here in large our selves with variety of Instances; but these for a taste, may serve at this time for a sufficient repast. Hence it may appeare that our ende∣vours have beene imployed, not only to ex∣presse Page 305 their maturity of judgement, which i• of highest worth; but likewise their preg∣nancy of conceipt, an infallible argument of a Mother-wit.
From these are we to descend in order, to the last but not least improvement of their honour: Their Eminent Labours; and how they were Assistants in the exquisitest Workes that have beene formerly composed, eyther for History or Poesy. Which relation will redound no lesse highly to their glory.
SECTION IX. Their Eminent Labours; And how they were Assistants in the ex∣quisitest Workes that have been formerly composed, eyther for History or Poesy.
*SUCH men, who have casten their Lots in faire fields, by making choice of such consorts, whose vertues confirme them Mirrors, and whose lives are lines of ex∣amples unto others; finde Hymen smyling, nay shining on their Nuptials all the yeare long. Whereas such, Page 307 who cast their Lots in barren fields, by joyning hands to sensuall Brides, Brothell-Beds: who are nothing but voyce or ayre; with a small portion of skin-deepe beauty to practise on deluded Sense, till it grow weary. The Bodies of such men, I say, be∣gin to undergoe Mezentius torment, living in the embraces of the dead till they dye. For as death holds in his power all that is past, governs all that is present, and pretends to governe all that is to come: the very like Soveraignty ha's death over these who have enwreath'd and embath'd themselves in such loathed embraces. Dead they are to all for∣mer comforts, for those are vanished: Dead to all present comforts, for these are from them estranged: Dead to all future com∣forts, unlesse their earth be with Heaven exchanged.
The Stomack, (to use the words of an ex∣perienst Practist) resembleth the good man of the House, and being the cause of all Concoction and Digestion, must be fortified and strengthened, by being kept tempe∣rately warme, retentive, and cleane, with∣out oppressing humours; not empty, or fa∣sting, being nourished by it selfe, more than by the reines; and lastly in appetite, where∣by Digestion is sharpned.
Their Stomacks are of a strong Con∣coction, that could digest Wenches of such an Page 308 humerous condition. But I shall spread a Table dished up with Creatures of another nature, choycer temper, and such, as with modesty and majesty can tender you a Boul∣ster Lecture.
Not a smyle but implyes state; No light smyle that may imply a staine. In these you shall finde (to use Verstegens words) A restitution of decaied intelligence in Anti∣quities, concerning their owne Nation. And lest I should keep your Stomacks too sharpe, or tyre your patience with too long pre∣ambles, I present here unto you their Cata∣logue.
Zenobia, (to begin with a Princely pat∣terne) after the death of her deare Spouse O∣donatus, though a Barbarian Queene, yet by her reading of both Romane and Greeke Hi∣stories, with other memorable relations, su∣ting well with the passage and posture of those times, so mannaged the State of that rich and free City Palmyra in Syria, as she retained those fierce and intractable people in her obedience: and in a Princely priva∣cy, reserving ever some select houres for per∣usall of Philosophicall Politicks, Oecono∣micks, Naturall and Morall Philosophy, Discourses of History; all which held good 0correspondence with her Majesty, she a brid∣ged the Alexandrian, and all the Orientall Histories: a taske of no lesse difficulty than Page 309 utility; whereby she attained the highest pitch of wisdome and authority.
The like inward beauty upon her Sexe, bestowed that vertuous Cornelia, mother to the victorious Gracchus; who, as she was an Exemplar or Mirror of goodnesse and chastity; so by the improvement of her edu∣cation to her children (the lineall branches of so hopefull a succession) she exprest her selfe a noble Mother, in seasoning their un∣riper yeares, in the studies of History, Poesy, and Philosophy. Next her, Portia, Brutus his wife; Cleobula, daughter to Cleobulus, one of the seven Sages of Greece. The daughter of Pythagoras (to leave Rome and descend to Samos) who after his death go∣verned his Schoole; excelling in all hu∣mane Learning; and afterwards, to give the World a further testimony of her cha∣stity, as well as ability; erecting a Col∣ledge of Virgins, shee became sole governesse or guardinesse of it. What shall I say of Theano, daughter to Metapontus, a disci∣ple of the same Sect? Of which name there were two; both highly enriched with all knowledge. The one a learned woman of Crete, and wife to Pythagoras: the other the wise of Antenor, who was the Priest of Pallas. What of Phemone, that my∣sterious Sibyll, who first gave life to an Heroick verse: and in exquisite compo∣sures Page 310 (amongst other propheticall raptures) recounted the memorable actions & occur∣rents of her time? What of Sulpitia, Ca∣lanus his wife, farre wiser than her ill-advi∣sed husband, who before great Alexander, feeling himselfe sicke and distempered, leapt into a great fire and there was burned: for she left behind her most soveraigne Precepts touching Wedlock, with the Relations of that age, in a most proper and elegant style? And Hortensia, daughter to that most fa∣mous Orator Hortensius, who for copious∣nesse of speech, gravity or weight of sen∣tence, gave a living lustre to her lines, a suc∣ceeding •ame to her Works? And Edesia, borne at Alexandria, one of such infinite Learning, sweetnesse of disposition, as she was highly admired by those that lived in her time: and amongst other excellences (to make her more accomplish'd both in forraine and moderne affaires) singularly read in Histories; then held a Study wor∣thy the entertainment of noblest Ladies? And Corinnathia, who is reported to have surpassed the Poet Pindarus in artfull and exact composures: contending with him five severall times, (as may be probably ga∣thered by the testimonies of the Ancient, and such as were happy Spectators of those glorious Duello's) for the Laurell Chaplet or Coronet, usually bestowed upon such in∣genious Page 311 followers and favorites of the Mu∣ses? And Paula, Seneca's wife, a Matron not only improved by his instructions, but highly inriched by the benefit of her owne proper Studies: ever reserving some choice houres for the perusall of such Relations, as either in those or preceding times had oc∣curred. So as, we may very well gather, whence the ground of her husbands griefe proceeded; whence the source of his sor∣row was derived, in bewailing the igno∣rance of his Mother, not sufficiently seaso∣ned in the Precepts of his Father: by refle∣cting upon the abilities of his Paula, whose discourse for History, Morall Philosophy, and all Humanity appeared so genuine and proper, as her very name conferred on her Family a succeeding honour. Lastly, (that I may not dwell too long on these Feminine Features, Memorable Mirrors, lest their di∣ligence should taxe some of our trimmer Ladies of their supine and neglectfull er∣rors) Argentaria Pollia, or Polla, wife to the Heroicke Lucan, is said to have assisted him in the apt and majestick composure of his verses: being no lesse rich in fancy, than hee himselfe when most enlivened by a Poeticall fury. Nor did she restraine her more prosperous studies, only to dimensions; being no lesse conversant in Historicall Relations, with other humane Page 312 Sciences, than Poeticall raptures.
Such as these might make good Compa∣nions to Pray with, to Play with, to Con∣verse or Commerce with. These make the cheerefull beames of every day breake forth, as if every day were the Solemnization of a new Marriage day. These with an averse eare listen to the Apocryphall verses of those fondlings, nor can they credit them, when they heare them:
These have no knowledge of any such proverbiall experiments. For so much e∣stranged were they from fondnesse (an er∣ror too familiar with New-married Coo∣ples) as their discretion could never incline to any such lightnesse. Their youth never admitted youthfull parliance: nor stouped to any uncomely dalliance. Their affecti∣ons were not grounded on Sense, which made them to bee of longer continuance. For those Loves quickly expire and dye, which receive their onely infusion by the eye.
Page 313If thou wilt believe thy eyes, sayes Loves Lecturer, thou givest credit to thy betray∣ers; thy spirit will suffer a thousand paines and confusions: thou wilt take lookes for azure Mountaines, because that distance and proximity deceive the sight: a river may also deceive thee in its course, till a branch or strawe informe thee what way the streame goes. So may the Glo-worme delude thee with her burnisht Skales, and with a coun∣terfeate shine surprize thy sight.
Know, I say know (if at any time, any such adulterate beauty shall seaze on thee) that this Woman, this sin-•eered Curtezan; who seemes for•ally perfect, gulls and abuses thee. Yesternight she slept ugly, and this Morning is adorned with that beauty that thou so much praisest, so highly prizest, and yet she holds it not but by hire.
If thou hadst piece-meale examined her, thou would'st have found nothing but prinn'd cloth, parget powder and plaister; and to begin her anatomy at the head, the haire she weares came from the Periwigge-makers shoppe; for her owne was blowne away with an ill-wind that came from Na∣ples; and if any remaines, she dares not shew it, lest it should accuse her of the Time past. Her Eyes have no other browes than those which a Pencill makes. Nor her face no other colour than that of painting: 'Tis Page 314 an old Idoll newly painted over, and yet it is no little wonder to see a Picture have Mo∣tion: and she is such a one, who hath almost found the secret of that famous Negroman∣cer (that pretended to grow young againe, by shutting himselfe in a glasse-violl) since that all that which hath made her appeare so faire, as thou speakest, comes from the Alembick waters, Esseno's, and painting. If she would suffer her face to be washt, thou wouldst know her no more, she would be hideous unto thee; rivels and ridges would each where encounter thee: And were it not for the Confections she eates and the Per∣fumes she weares, her mouth and feet would quickly make thee stop thy nose; if thou shouldst kisse her, all thy lips would be stuck with oyle and grease; embrace her, and she is nought but past-boord, canvas, & whale∣bone, with which all the body of her gowne (the better body of the too) is stuft, to re∣paire the faults of her proportion; and when she goes to bed, she leaves upon the table (at her beds-feet) halfe of her person in putting of her Cloths.
Upon what then is thy bleered Judgement founded, that thou findest her so accom∣plish't? Thy eyes have they not betrayed thee? Admire thou thy ignorance, and know (not to trouble my selfe with this womans imperfections) that most of the rest Page 315 of the Sexe (meaning such only as have ingaged themselves to shame, and exposed their honour to sale) are but beasts full of pride, who triumph over the simplicity of men: and that even those who seeme to be worth somthing, bring a thousand sufferings to those that seeke after them; so that at the end of the account, the expences doe always arise to more than the Principall.
And to make thee despise the embraces of these kind of Creatures, put before thy eyes that secret infirmity, to which nature hath so often subjected them; and I believe thou wilt entertaine a profitable disdaine, and re∣pent that thou ever lovedst a thing so vile and hatefull.
By this, we may collect how miserable that Love is which draws breath from a de∣ceiving sense: whose beginning, as the best of it is but fonding, so the issue thereof is many times seconded with distaste and re∣venge, closing their once pretended, but now vanished love, with an easy forgetfulnesse. For None takes greater pleasure to bee re∣venged than a Woman, when she revenges her selfe on her discarded Friend or Favo∣rite; and to play with advantage is the most pleasing and greatest vengeance that can be taken. And that they are apt to forget, who is it having eyes, and sees not? Experience will tell you, that she ha's seene one, that Page 316 with her right eye wept for her dead Hus∣band, and with her left laughed to her li∣ving Friend. But wee have reserved our Lines, and bestowed our Oyle on better Subjects. For even to descend to our own Moderne times, we shall find store of no∣ble Ladies, who are enriched with such unequall abilities, such matchlesse indow∣ments both by Art and Nature, as they have deservingly acquired, and constant∣ly reteined that Select style of THE WITS. Their desire is, to have their Muses rather Buskin'd than Busked. Sweet and dainty Ayres are the attendants of their Eares. High and Heroick measures those treasures, which they desire to store; and which give an incomparable grace to the Theatre of our state.
These are they, who hold houres of such estimate; as they cannot endure that the least minute should expire in vapour, or spend it selfe upon perfume or powder. Yea, with some of their precious darling Poems have I sometimes encounter'd, wherein I found couched such a priority of Art and Conceipt, as they matched if they outstrip't not many of our most ambitious and laurel-assuming Labours.
Others we have, who though they be not al∣together so happy for strength of fancy; yet are they no lesse usefull in an other faculty. Page 317 And these bee such, as read Principles of Huswifery to their well-ordered Family. These will never spend, where discretion bids them spare; nor spare, where repu∣tation bids them spend. These know how to command without domineering, how to mannage the charge of an House with∣out mutining. These can welcome their Husbands home with an affable smyle: and can put on the same Count'nance in the en∣tertainement of his Friend, without a thought of ill. These, though their care be great; yet so modest are they in arrogating ought to themselves, as they ascribe the good carriage and dispatch of all things to their Husbands wisdome and providence: holding ever the approvement of his fame, to be the improvement of their owne. If at any time, These be given to Read; they make right use of what they read. They read not to dispute, but to live: Not to talke, but to know. Humility ever keepes them Company, both in Gate, Speech, Looke, and Habit. They are circumspect whom they consort with▪ ever remembring that true Maxime:
*Where observation may informe every cautious Reader, lest through indiscretion he deservingly suffer; That a man ill-mar∣ried, may boast that he possesses in the per∣son of his Wife, all necessary qualities to be put into the List of Martyrs.
Whereas, these, whom we here discourse of, are so far from making their Husbands suffer, as they esteeme it their highest ho∣nour, equally to close with them in the har∣mony of their comforts; and to allay the surcharge of their griefes with the sweetnesse of their temper. This the Poet in the person of Cyrnus cheerefully chanted:*
In one word then, Brave and noble-dis∣posed Ladies, be it your care to be the Same we have described you; so may you amply requite us for this Service wee have done you.