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She saw him watch the motions of her eye,
'Twas now the season when the glorious sun
streams, And warm’d the womb of earth with genial beams.
It so befel, in that fair morning-tide, The fairies sported on the garden side, And in the midst their monarch and his bride. So featly tripp'd the light-foot ladies round, The knights so nimbly o'er the greensward bound, That scarce they bent the flowers, or touch'd the
• 'Tis too apparent, argue what you can,
• Heaven rest thy spirit, noble Solomon, A wiser monarch never saw the sun:
All wealth, all honours, the supreme degree
.Thus says the king, who knew your wickedness;
• Now by my own dread majesty I swear, And by this awful sceptre which I bear, No impious wretch shall scape unpunish'd long, That in my presence offers such a wrong. I will this instant undeceive the knight, And in the very act restore his sight: And set the strumpet here in open view, A warning to these ladies, and to you, And all the faithless sex, for ever to be true.'
"And will you so, (replied the queen) indeed? Now, by my mother's soul, it is decreed, She shall not want an answer at her need. For her and for her daughters, I'll engage, And all the sex in each succeeding age; Art shall be theirs to varnish an offence, And fortify their crimes with confidence. Nay, were they taken in a strict embrace, Seen with both eyes, and pinion’d on the place; All they shall need is to protest and swear, Breathe a soft sigh, and drop a tender tear;
Till their wise husbands, gull’d by arts like these, Grow gentle, tractable, and tame as geese.
"What though this slanderous Jew, this Solomon, Calld women fools, and knew full many a one; The wiser wits of later times declare How constant, chaste, and virtuous, women are: Witness the martyrs, who resign'd their breath, Serene in torments, unconcern'd in death; And witness next what Roman authors tell, How Arria, Porcia, and Lucretia fell.
· But since the sacred leaves to all are free, And men interpret texts, why should not we? By this no more was meant, than to have shown, That sovereign goodness dwells in Him alone, Who only Is, and is but only One. But grant the worst; shall women then be weigh'd By every word that Solomon hath said? What though this king (as ancient story boasts) Built a fair temple to the Lord of Hosts; He ceased at last his Maker to adore, And did as much for idol gods, or more. Beware what lavish praises you confer On a rank lecher and idolater; Whose reign indulgent God, says Holy Writ, Did but for David's righteous sake permit; David the monarch after Heaven's own mind, Who loved our sex, and honour'd all our kind.
· Well, I'm a woman, and as such must speak; Silence would swell me, and my heart would break. Know then, I scorn your dull authorities, Your idle wits, and all their learned lies : By Heaven, those authors are our sex's foes, Whom, in our right, I must and will oppose.'
• Nay, (quoth the king) dear madam, be not
wroth: I yield it up; but since I gave my oath, That this much-injured knight again should see, It must be done-I am a king, (said he) And one whose faith has ever sacred been
• And so has mine (she said)—I am a queen :
We leave them here in this heroic strain,
Thus singing as he went, at last he drew
Sore sigh'd the knight to hear his lady's cry, . But could not climb, and had no servant nigh: Old as he was, and void of eyesight too, What could, alas! a helpless husband do?• And must I languish then (she said) and die, Yet view the lovely fruit before my eye?
At least, kind sir, for Charity's sweet sake,
With all my soul, (he thus replied again)
Now prove your patience, gentle ladies all !
In that nice moment, lo! the wondering knight
“What ails my lord ? (the trembling dame replied) I thought your patience had been better tried : Is this your love, ungrateful and unkind, This my reward for having cured the blind? Why was I taught to make my husband see, By struggling with a man upon a tree ? Did I for this the power of magic prove? Unhappy wife, whose crime was too much love!