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Compar'd with such a proud, insulting dame,
Sicilian 6 tyrants may renounce their name.
For, if she haftes abroad to take the air,
Or goes to Ifis' church (the bawdy-house of pray'r)
She hurries all her handmaids to the tak;
Her head, alone, will twenty dressers afk.
Psecas, the chief, with breast and shoulders bare,
Trembling, considers ev'ry facred hair;
If any itraggler from his rank be found,
A pinch muft, for the mortal fin, compound.
Psecas is not in fault : but in the glafs,
The dame's offended at her own ill face.
The maid is banish’d; and another girl
More dext'rous, manages the comb and curl;
The rest are fummon’d on a point so nice;
And first, the grave old woman gives advice.
The next is call'd, and so the turn goes round,
As each for age, or wisdom, is renown'd:
Such counsel, such deliberate care they take,
As if her life and honour lay at stake:
With 7 curls on curls, they build her head before,
And mount it with a formidable tow'r.
A giantess she seems; but look behind,
And then she dwindles to the pigmy kind.
Duck-legg'd, short-waisted, such a dwarf she is,
That she must rise on tip-toes for a kiss.
Mean while, her husband's whole estate is spent!
He may go bare, while she receive his rent.
She minds him not; fhe lives not as a wife,
But like a bawling neighbour, full of strife :
Near him, in this alone, that she extends
Her hate to all his servants and his friends.
Bellona's priests, an eunuch at their head,
About the streets a mad proceflion lead;
The 8 venerable guelding, large, and high,
O’erlooks the herd of his inferior fry.
His aukward clergymen about him prance ;
And beat the timbrels to their myftic dance,
Guiltless of tefticles, they tear their throats,
And squeak, in treble, their unmanly notes.
Mean while, his cheeks the mitred prophet fwells,
And dire presages of the year foretels.
Unless with eggs (his priestly hire) they hafte
To expiate, and avert th' autumnal blast.
And 9 add beside a murrey-coloured veft,
Which, in their places, may receive the peft :
And, thrown into the flood, their crimes
To purge th’unlucky omens of the year.
Th' astonisht matrons pay, before the reft ;
That sex is still obnoxious to the prieft.
Thro' ye they beat, and plunge into the stream, If so the God has warn'd 'em in a dream. Weak in their limbs, but in devotion strong, On their bare hands and feet they crawl along A whole field's length, the laughter of the throng. Should Io (Io's priest I mean) command A pilgrimage to Meroe's burning sand,
Thro' deserts they would seek the secret spring; A holy water for luftration bring. How can they pay their priests too much respect, Who trade with heav'n, and earthly gains negle&t ! With him, domestic Gods discourse by night: By day, attended by his choir in white, The bald-pate tribe runs madding thro' the street, And smile to see with how much ease they cheat The ghostly fire forgives the wife's delights, Who fins, thro' frailty, on forbidden nights ;
8 Bellona's priests were a sort of fortune-tellers, and the highpriest an eunuch.
9 And add befide, &c. A garment was given to the priest, which he threw into the river; and that, they thought, bore all the fins of the people, which were drowned with it.
And tempts her husband in the holy time,
When carnal pleasure is a mortal crime.
The sweating image shakes his head, but he
With mumbled pray’rs attones the Deity.
The pious priesthood the fat goose receive,
And they once brib'd, the godhead muft forgive.
No sooner these remove, but full of fear,
A gypsy Jewess whispers in your ear,
And begs an alms: an high-priest's daughter she,
Vers’d in their Talmud, and divinity,
And prophesies beneath a shady tree.
Her goods a basket, and old hay her bed,
She strolls, and telling fortunes gains her bread :
Farthings, and some small monies, are her fees;
Yet the interprets all your dreams for these.
Foretels th' estate, when the rich uncle dies,
And sees a sweet-heart in the sacrifice.
Such toys, a pigeon's entrails can disclose :
th’ Armenian augur far outgoes :
In dogs; a victim more obscene, he rakes ;
And murder'd infants for inspection takes :
For gain; his impious practice he pursues;
For gain will his accomplices accufe.
More credit, yet, is to i Chaldeans giv'n;
What they foretel, is deem'd the voice of heav'n.
Their answers, as from Hammon’s altar, come;
Since now the Delphian oracles are dumb,
And mankind, ignorant of future fate,
Believes what fond astrologers relate.
Of these the most in vogue is he, who sent
Beyond seas, is return'd from banishment,
His art who to 2 aspiring Otho sold;
And sure succession to the crown foretold,
i Chaldeans are thought to have been the first Aftrologers.
2 Orbo succeeded Gaiba in the empire; which was foretold him by an astrologer. VOL. IV.
For his esteem is in his exile plac'd;
The more believ'd, the more he was disgrac'd.
No aftrologic wizard honour gains,
Who has not oft been banish'd, or in chains.
He gets renown, who, to the halter near,
But narrowly escapes, and bays it dear.
From him your wife enquires the planets will,
When the black jaundice shall her mother kill :
Her fister's and her uncle's end, would know :
But, first, consults his art, when you
go. And, what's the greateft gift that heav'n can give, If, after her, th' adulterer shall live. She neither knows nor cares to know the reft ; If 3 Mars and Saturn shall the world infeft; Or Jove and Venus with their friendly rays, Will interpose, and bring us better days.
Beware the woman too, and fhun her fight, Who in these studies does herself delight, By whom a greasy almanack is borne, With often handling, like chaft amber worn : Not now consulting, but consulted, she Of the twelve houses, and their lords, is free. She, if the scheme a fatal journey show, Stays safe at home, but lets her husband go. If but a mile the travel out of town, The planetary hour must first be known, And lucky moment; if her eye but akes Or itches, its decumbiture she takes. No nourishment receives in her disease, But what the stars and 4 Ptolomy shall pleafe. The middle fort, who have not much to spare, To chiromancers Cheaper art repair, Who clap the pretty palm, to make the lines more fair.
3 Mars and Saturn are the two unfortunate planets ; Jupiter and Venus, the two fortunate. 4 Protomy a famous astrologer, an Egyptian.
But the rich matron, who has more to give,
Her answers from the 5 Brachman will receive:
Skill'd in the globe and sphere, he gravely ftands,
And, with his compass, measures feas and lands.
The poorest of the sex, have still an itch
To know their fortunes, equal to the rich.
The dairy-maid enquires, if the shall take
The trusty taylor, and the cook forsake.
Yet these, tho' poor, the pain of childbed bear;
And, without nurses, their own infants rear :
You feldom hear of the rich mantle, spread
For the babe, born in the great lady's bed.
Such is the pow'r of herbs ; such arts they use
To make them barren, or their fruit to lose.
But thou, whateyer flops she will have brought,
Be thankful, and supply the deadly draught:
Help her to make man-flaughter; let her bleed,
vant for savin at her need.
For, if she holds till her nine months be run,
Thou may st be father to 6 an Æthiop's son.
A boy, who ready gotten to thy hands,
By law is to inherit all thy lands :
One of that hue, that thould he cross the way's
His 7 omen would discolour all the day.
I pass the foundling by, a race unknown,
At doors expos’d, whom matrons make their own :
And into noble families advance
A nameless issue, the blind work of chance,
5 The Brachmans are Indian philosophers, who remain to this day; and hold, after Pythagoras, the traallation of souls from ane body to another.
6 His meaning is, help her to any kind of llops, which may cause her to miscarry; for fear the may be brought to bed of a blackmoor, which thou, being her husband, art bound to father; and that bastard may by law inherit thy estate.
7 The Romans thought it ominous to see a blackmoor in the morna ing, if he were the first man they met.