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I never seeke by brybes to please,
Nor by desert to give offence:
Thus do I live, thus will I die;
Would all did so as well as I!

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VI.

The Patient Countess.

THE subject of this tale is taken from that entertaining colloquy of Erasmus, entitled, Uxor Meupiyaμos, sive Conjugium: which has been agreeably modernised by the late Mr. Spence in his little miscellaneous publication entitled "Moralities, &c., by Sir Harry Beaumont," 1753, 8vo. p. 42.

The following stanzas are extracted from an ancient poem entitled Albion's England, written by W. Warner, a celebrated poet in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, though his name and works are now equally forgotten. The reader will find some account of him in vol. ii. book ii. song 24 (p. 195).

The following stanzas are printed from the author's improved edition of his work, printed in 1602, 4to; the third impression of which appeared so early as 1592, in bl. let. 4to. The edition in 1602 is in thirteen books, and so it is reprinted in 1612, 4to; yet in 1606, was published "A Continuance of Albion's England by the first Author, W. W. Lond. 4to:" this contains books xiv. xv. xvi. In Ames's Typography, is preserved the memory of another publication of this writer's, entitled Warner's Poetry, printed in 1580. 12mo, and reprinted in 1602. There is also extant under the name of Warner, "Syrix, or sevenfold Hist. pleasant, and profitable, comical, and tragical," 4to.

It is proper to premise, that the following lines were not written by the author in stanzas, but in long Alexandrines of fourteen syllables; which the narrowness of our page made it here necessary to subdivide.

IMPATIENCE chaungeth smoke to flame,
But jelousie is hell;

Some wives by patience have reduc'd
Ill husbands to live well:

As did the ladie of an earle,

Of whom I now shall tell.

An earle 'there was' had wedded, lov'd;

Was lov'd, and lived long

Full true to his fayre countesse; yet

At last he did her wrong.

Once hunted he untill the chace,

Long fasting, and the heat

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Did house him in a peakish graunge

Within a forest great.

Where knowne and welcom'd (as the place

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And persons might afforde)

Browne bread, whig, bacon, curds and milke

Were set him on the borde.

A cushion made of lists, a stoole

Halfe backed with a hoope

Were brought him, and he sitteth down
Besides a sorry coupe.

The poore old couple wisht their bread
Were wheat, their whig were perry,
Their bacon beefe, their milke and curds
Were creame, to make him merry.

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The good man's daughter sturres to see
That all were feat and well;

The earle did marke her, and admire

Such beautie there to dwell.

Yet fals he to their homely fare,

And held him at a feast:

But as his hunger slaked, so

An amorous heat increast.

When this repast was past, and thanks,

And welcome too; he sayd

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Unto his host and hostesse, in

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With whom he lodged all that night,
And early home he went.

He tooke occasion oftentimes
In such a sort to hunt.

Whom when his lady often mist,
Contrary to his wont,

And lastly was informed of
His amorous haunt elsewhere;
It greev'd her not a little, though
She seem'd it well to beare.

And thus she reasons with herselfe,
Some fault perhaps in me;
Somewhat is done, that soe he doth:
Alas! what may it be?

How may I winne him to myself?

He is a man, and men

Have imperfections; it behooves

Me pardon nature then.

To checke him were to make him checke1,

Although hee now were chaste:

A man controuled of his wife,

To her makes lesser haste.

If duty then, or daliance may
Prevayle to alter him;

I will be dutifull, and make
My selfe for daliance trim.

So was she, and so lovingly
Did entertaine her lord,

As fairer, or more faultles none
Could be for bed or bord.

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1 To check is a term in falconry, applied when a hawk stops and turns away from his proper pursuit. To check also signifies to reprove or chide. It is in this verse used in both senses.

Yet still he loves his leiman, and
Did still pursue that game,
Suspecting nothing less, than that

His lady knew the same:

Wherefore to make him know she knew,
She this devise did frame:

When long she had been wrong'd, and sought

The foresayd meanes in vaine,

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She rideth to the simple graunge

But with a slender traine.

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When she had seen the beauteous wench (Then blushing fairnes fairer)

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Thus thought she: and she thus declares
Her cause of coming thether;

My lord, of hunting in these partes,
Through travel, night or wether,

Percy. 1.

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