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For this he held it dear, and always bore
Watch'd as she was, yet could he not refrain
Ah, gentle Knight, what would thy eyes avail, 500
Argus himself, so cautious and so wise, Was over-watch’d, for all his hundred eyes : 505 So many an honest husband may, 'tis known, Who, wisely, never thinks the case his own.
The dame at last, by diligence and care, Procur'd the key her Knight was wont to bear ; She took the wards in wax before the fire,
$10 And gave th' impression to the trusty Squire. By means of this, some wonder shall appear, Which, in due place and season, you may hear.
Well sung sweet Ovid, in the days of yore, What flight is that, which love will not explore ? 595 And Pyramus and Thisbe plainly show The feats true lovers, when they lift, can do: Though watch'd and captive, yet in fpite of all, They found the art of kissing through a wall. But now no longer from our tale to stray ;
$20 It happ'd, that once upon a summer's day, Our reverend Knight was urg`d to amorous play ; He rais’d his spouse ere Matin-bell was rung, And thus his morning canticle he fung,
: Awake, my love, disclose thy radiant
eyes ; 525
This heard, to Damian straight a sign she made, 535
It was not long ere January came,
Here let us walk, he said, obferv'd by none,
Each other lofs with patience I can bear,
555 The loss of thee is what I only fear.
Consider then, my lady, and my wife,
565 And will perform, by this-my dear, and this Have comfort, spouse, nor think thy Lord unkind; 'Tis love, not jealousy, that fires my mind. For when thy charms my sober thoughts engage, And join'd to them my own unequal age,
570 From thy dear side I have no power to part, Such secret transports warm my melting heart. For who, that once possess’d those heavenly charms, Could live one moment absent from thy arms ?
He ceas'd, and May with modest grace reply'd ; 575
you in holy Church I gave my hand,
First may the yawning earth her bofom rend,
585 And let me hence to hell alive descend; Or die the death I dread no less than hell, Sew'd in a fack, and plung'd into a well; Ere I my fame by one lewd act disgrace, Or once renounce the honour of my race,
590 For know, Sir Knight, of gentle blood I came, I loath a whore, and startle at the name. But jealous men on their own crimes reflec?, And learn from thence their ladies to suspect : Else why these needless cautions, Sir, to me ? 595 These doubts and fears of female constancy! This chime still rings in every lady's ear, The only strain a wife must hope to hear.
Thus while she spoke, a lidelong glance she cast, Where Damian, kneeling, worship’d as she past. 600 She saw him watch the motions of her eye, And singled out a pear-tree planted nigh: 'Twas charg'd with fruit that made a goodly show, And hung with dangling pears was every bough. Thither th' obsequious Squire address’d his pace, 605 And, climbing, in the summit took his place; The Knight and Lady walk'd beneath in view, Where let us leave them, and our tale pursue.
'Twas now the season when the glorious fun His heavenly progress through the Twins had run; 610 And Jove, exalted, his mild influence yields, To glad the glebe, and paint the flowery fields. Clear was the day, and Phoebus, rising bright, Had streak'd the azure firmament with light;