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This fatire, of almost double length to any of the rest,
is a bitter invective against the fair ser. 'Tis indeed, a common-place, from whence all the moderns hade notoriously folen their sharpest railleries. In his other satires, the poet has only glanced on some particular women, and generally scourged the men. But this he reserved wholly for the ladies. How they had offended him I know not : but upon the whole matter he is not to be excused for imputing to all, the vices of some few amongst them. Neither was it generously done of him, to attack the weakest as well as the fairest part of the creation: neither do I know what moral he could reasonably draw from it. It could not be to avoid the whole sex, if all had been true which he alledges against them: for that had been to put an end to human kind. And to bid us beware of their artifices, is a kind of filent acknowledgment, that they have more wit than men : which turns the satire upon us, and
particularly upon the poet ; who thereby makes a compliment, where he meant a libel. If he intended only to exercise his wit, he has forfeited his judgment, by making the one half of his readers his mortal enemies ; and amongst the men, all the happy lovers, by their own experience, will disprove his accusations. The whole world must allow this to be the wittiest of his fatires ; and truly he had need of all his parts, to maintain, with so much violence, fo unjust a charge. I am satisfied he will bring but few over to his opinion: and on that consideration chiefly I ventured to translate him. Though there wanted not another reason, which was, that no one else would undertake it : at least, Sir C. S. who could have done more right to the author, after a long delay, at length absolutely refused so ungrateful an employment ; and every one will grant, that the work must have been imperfect and lame, if it had appeared without one of the principal members belonging to it. Let the poet therefore bear the blame of his own invention ; and let me satisfy the world, that I am not of his opinion. Whatever his Roman ladies were, the English are free from all his imputations. They will read with wonder and abhorrence the vices of an age, which was the most infamous of any on record. They will bless themselves when they behold those examples, related of Domitian's time: they will give back to antiquity those monsters it produced ; and believe with reason, that the
species of those women is extinguished, or at least that they were never here propagated. I may safely therefore proceed
to the argument of a satire, which is no way relating to them; and first observe, that my author makes their lust the most heroic of their vices : the rest are in a manner but digreson. He skims them over ; but he dwells on this: when he seems to have taken his last leave of it, on the sudden he returns to it: 'tis one branch of it in Hippia, ano ther in Messalina, but luft is the main body of the
He begins with this text in the first line, and takes it up with intermissions to the end of the chapter. Every vice is a loader, but that's a ten. The fillers, or intermediate parts, are their revenge ; their contrivances of secret crimes ; their arts to hide them; their wit to excuse them ; and their impudence to own them, when they can no longer be kept secret. Then the persons to whom they are most addi&ed, and on whom they com monly bestow the last favours : as stage-players, fidlers, singing-boys, and
fencers. Those who pass for chaste amongst them, are not really so; but only for their vast dowries, are rather suffered, than loved by their own husbands. That they are imperious, domineering, scolding wives ; set up for learning and criticism in poetry, but are false judges. Love to speak Greek, (which was then the fashionable tongue, as French is now with us.) That they plead causes at the bar, and play prizes at the bear-garden. That they are golips and news-mongers : wrangle with their neighbours abroad, and beat their servants at home. That they lie-in for new faces once a month ; are suttish with their husbands in private ; and paint and dress in public for their lovers. That they deal with Jews, diviners, and fortune-tellers : learn the arts of miscarrying, and barrenness. Buy children, and produce them for their own. Murder their husband's fons, if they stand in their way to his estate, and make their adulterers his heirs. From hence the poet proceeds to shew the occasions of all these vices, their original, and how they were introduced in Rome, by peace, wealth, and luxury. In conclufon, if we will take the word of our malicious author, bad women are the general standing rule ; and the good, but some few exceptions to it.
IN Saturn's reign, at Nature's early birth, There was that thing call'd chastity on earth; When in a narrow cave, their common shade, The sheep, the shepherds, and their gods were
laid: When reeds and leaves, and hides of beasts
were spread By mountain housewives for their homely
bed, And mofly pillows rais'd, for the rude hus
band's head. Unlike the niceness of our modern dames, (Affected nymphis with new-affected names :) The Cynthia's and the Lesbia's of our years, 10 Who for a sparrow's death diffolve in tears.
Ver. 1. In Saturn's reign,] In the Golden Age.
Those first unpolish'd matrons, big and bold,
wood, And fat with acorns belch'd their windy food. 15 For when the world was busom, fresh and
young, Her fons were undebauch’d, and therefore
strong: And whether born in kindly beds of earth, Or struggling from the teeming oaks to birth, Or from what other atoms they begun, No fires they had, or, if a fire, the fun. Some thin remains of chastity appear’d, Ev’n under Jove, but Jove without a beard ; Before the servile Greeks had learnt to swear By heads of kings ; while yet the bounteous
year Her common fruits in open plains expos’d, Ere thieves were fear’d, or gardens were in
clos'd. At length uneasy Justice upwards flew, And both the sisters to the stars withdrew;
Ver. 15. And fat with acorns] Acorns were the bread of mankind, before corn was found.
Ver. 23. Eu’n under Jove,] When Jove had driven his father into banishment, the Silver Age began, according to the poets. Ver. 28.
uneasy Justice &c.] The poet makes Justice and Chastity fifters, and says that they fled to heaven together, and left earth for ever.