i π1r

The
Ladies Defence:


or,
The Bride-Woman’s Counſellor Anſwer’d:
A
Poem
in a
Dialogue
Between

Sir John Brute, Sir William Loveall,
Meliſſa, and a Parſon

Written by a lady.

London,
Printed for John Deeve at Bernard’s-Inn-Gate in
Holborn, 17011701.

ii π1v iii π2r

To All Ingenious Ladies.

Ladies,

The Love of Truth, the tender Regard I have for your Honour, joyn’d with a juſt Indignation to ſee you ſo unworthily us’d, makes me aſſume the Confidence of imploying my Pen in your Service. The Knowledge I had of my Inability for ſo great a Task, made me for a while ſtifle my Reſentments, as thinking it much better privately to lament the Injuries that were done you, than expoſe you by a weak Defence to the freſh Inſults of a Perſon, who has not yet learnt to diſtinguiſh between Railing and Inſtruction, and who is ſo vain as to fancy, that the Dignity of his Function will render every thing he thinks fit to ſay becoming: But when I found that ſome Men were ſo far from finding fault with his Sermon, that they rather defended it, and expreſs’d an ill-natur’d ſort of Joy to ſee you ridicul’d, and that thoſe few among ’em who were Pretenders to more Generoſity and good Humour, were yet too proud, too much devoted to their Intereſt, and too indulgent to their Pleaſures, to give themſelves the Trouble of ſaying any thing in your Vindication, I had not the Patience to be Silent any longer. Beſides it vex’d me to think he ſhould have the Satisfaction of believing, that what by the Malice of ſome, the Neutrality of others, and the Sacredneſs of his Character, he was ſecur’d from all Oppoſition, and might triumph over you at his Pleaſure: it alſo troubl’d me to find that but one of our own Sex had the Courage to enter the Liſts with him: I know there are ſeveral other Ladies, who, if they wou’d be ſo kind to themſelves, and you, as to undertake the Quarrel, wou’d manage it with more Learning, Eloquence and Addreſs, than I dare pretend to, as being infinitely my Superiours in all the Indowments of the Mind but ſince they think fit to decline it, I hope they will permit me to enter the Field, and try my Fortune with our mighty Antagoniſt I aſſure ’em I do not do it out of an ambitious deſire of being talk’d of, or with hopes of having it ſaid, I can Write well no, if I know my own Heart, I am far from any ſuch Vanity, as being too well acquainted with my own Inſufficiency, to entertain any ſuch unbecoming Thoughts of my mean Performance. The following Poem is intirely the Reſult of that great Concern and Zeal I have for your Reputation and if it happens to do you any Service, I have all that I aim at and the only Favour I have to beg of you is, that you will be ſo generous as to receive it into your Protection, and ſo obliging as to let the Affection with which ’twas written, compenſate for its Faults. I am ſorry Mr. Sprint ſhould have any occaſion given him for ſo ſevere an Invective, and I heartily wiſh my Sex wou’d keep a ſtricter Guard over their Paſſions, and amidſt all the various Occurrences of Life, conſult neither their Eaſe, the Gratification of their Humour, nor the Satisfaction of others, when ’tis in Oppoſition to their Reaſon; but having rightly inform’d themſelves what ought to be done on each Emergency, go ſteadily on, without being diſturb’d either at Unkindneſſes, Reproaches, Affronts or Diſappointments; that all who ſee ’em may have juſt cauſe to conclude, from the Regularity of their Actions, the Calmneſs of their Tempers, and the Serenity of their Looks, that there are no Uneaſineſſes within, and that they are infinitely better pleas’d with the ſecret Plaudits of their own Conſciences, than they would be with the flattering Acclamations of a deceitful inconſtant World but ſuch an Evenneſs, ſuch a Tranquility of Mind, is not attainable without much Study, and the cloſeſt Application of Thought it muſt be the work of Time, and the Effect of a daily Practice But perhaps, while I am indeavouring to make you happy, and ſhewing you the way to tranſmit your Names with Honour to ſucceeding Ages, my kindneſs may be miſconſtru’d, and I thought guilty of unpardonable Arrogancy, for preſuming to preſcribeſcribe iv π2v ſcribe Rules to Perſons, who already know much more than I can teach ’em. To free my ſelf from this Imputation, I ſolemnly declare, That what I write is wholly intended for ſuch as are on the ſame Level with my ſelf, and have not been bleſt with a learned and ingenious Education, and cannot boaſt of ſuch a ſtrength of Reſolution, ſuch a conſtancy of Mind, ſuch a depth of Reaſon and ſolidity of Judgment, as is requiſite, in order to the obtaining that deſirable Firmneſs, and, (if I may be allow’d to call it ſo) Inflexibility of Soul, which I have been recommending and not for thoſe who, by the greatneſs of their Virtue, and the Sublimity of their Wit, are rais’d to a Height above me on ſuch I content my ſelf to gaze at an awful diſtance, and am pleas’d to ſee, notwithſtanding what has been ſaid to the contrary by ſome envious Detractors, ſtill among us Women that are ſhining Examples of Piety, Prudence, Moderation, Patience, and all other valuable Qualities by ſuch as theſe I ſhould take it as a Favour to be inſtructed; and would they by a generous Condeſcenſion give themſelves the Trouble of directing us in the management of our Lives, we ſhould be for ever bound to pay ’em the higheſt Retributions. ’Tis only to ſuch as are in the loweſt Form, to the meaneſt Proficients in the School of Virtue, that I take the Liberty of giving Advice. So well, ſo intirely well I love my Sex, that if ’twere in my Power they ſhou’d be all wholly faultleſs, and as much admir’d for the Comprehenſiveneſs of their Knowledge, as they are now deſpis’d for their Ignorance, and have Souls as beauteous as their Faces, Thoughts as bright and ſparkling as their Eyes: And in what Station ſo ever Providence thinks fit to place ’em, I would earneſtly deſire ’em, as a thing exceedingly for their Honour, to be careful to obſerve a juſt Decorum, and neither ſuffer themſelves to be tranſported with Joy when they are Happy, or diſpirited when they are Miſerable; but to be humble, kind, ſincere, and eaſie of Acceſs, when Great, Liberal when Rich, Sedate, Chearful and Contented when Poor, free from Revenge, and ready to forgive when injur’d, the ſame when reproach’d or applauded, when careſs’d, or neglected: And if it is their hard Fortune to be marry’d to Men of brutiſh unſociable Tempers, to Monſters in Humane Shape, to Perſons who are at open defiance with their Reaſon, and fond of nothing but their Folly, and under no other Government but that of their irregular Paſſions, I would perſwade them to ſtruggle with their Afflictions, and never leave contending, ’till they have gain’d an abſolute Victory over every repining Thought, every uneaſie Reflection: And tho’ ’tis extreamly difficult, yet I wou’d adviſe ’em to pay ’em as much Reſpect, and to obey their Commands with as much readineſs, as if they were the beſt and moſt indearing Huſbands in the World this, will not only put a ſtop to the invidious Cenſures of their ſpightful Enemies, but give ’em the poſſeſſion of that inward Joy, that unſpeakable Satisfaction, which naturally ariſes from the apprehenſion of having done good and laudable Actions: In order to the gaining ſuch a happy diſpoſition of Mind, I would deſire ’em ſeriouſly to conſider what thoſe things are which they can properly call their own, and of which Fortune cannot deprive ’em, and on theſe alone they ought to terminate their Deſires, and not vainly extend ’em to thoſe things which are not within their Power, as Honours, Riches, Reputation, Health, and Beauty for they being Goods which they cannot beſtow on themſelves, and of which they may have but a very tranſient poſſeſſion, they ought to enjoy ’em with indifferency, and look on ’em only as Gifts, which the Almighty Donor freely and liberally gives, and which he may, when he thinks fit, reſume without the leaſt injuſtice: This, if often and heedfully reflected on, will make ’em moderate their Deſires, and teach ’em never with Earneſtneſs to wiſh for any thing that has no dependance on ’em, nor to entertain an Averſion for things that ’tis not in their Power to avoid. I would have them alſo to conſider that thoſe things which are generally accounted Evils, as Poverty, Diſgraces, the loſs of Children and Friends, with all other Calamities incident to the Humane Nature, are not really ſo; for if they were, they would be ſo to all, which ’tis evident they are not. Poverty, which is ſo much dreaded by ſome, and too often ſhunn’d at the expence both of their Conſcience and Honour, has been courted by others and there have been Perſons who have look’d on their Wealth as a Burden, and thrown it off as an unneceſſary Load, eſteeming themſelves rich enough when they have had wherewithall to ſatisfie their Hungaer and their Thirſt, and to defend themſelves from the Injuries of the Weather. ’Tis but little that Nature deſires, and we may be as happy in Cottages as in Pallaces. Diſgrace, if they are ſatisfi’d of their own Innocency, ought to v a1r to give ’em no diſturbance ’Tis but a Phantom, and ſubſiſts only in the Imagination. Reproachful injurious Language can do them no hurt, unleſs they themſelves contribute to it. The having it ſaid they are Proud, Paſſionate, Cenſorious, Extravagant or whatſoever elſe Malicious People are pleas’d to accuſe them of, does not make them ſo, neither will they be the leſs regarded by thoſe who are throughly acquainted with their innate Worth and Value. ’Tis to the few Wiſe and Virtuous they ought to indeavour to approve themſelves; as for the unthinking many, the Giddy Multitude, who are ready to Deifie this Day, thoſe whom they will deſpiſe, vilifie, and affront to morrow, ’tis below ’em to court their Favour, or deſire their Approbation their Applauſes being as little to be valu’d as their Cenſures As for their Children and Friends, they, like the former, are of the number of thoſe Goods to which they have no right, and are to be parted with not repiningly, but thankfully their injoying them ſo long being a favour, for which they ought to make a grateful Acknowledgment, and not to gratifie a ſelfiſh, diſingenuous Humour, by murmuring at the All-wiſe Diſpoſer of Events, who knows much better than they what is good and convenient for them and as long as their Virtue, their Prudence, their Patience, their Integrity are left, they may retire into themſelves, and there be happy without any other Company neither are Sickneſs and Death altogether ſo formidable as they are generally repreſented; the Firſt may be overcome by a Mind reſolv’d and conſtant; and amidſt the greateſt Pains ’tis ſome Conſolation to think ’twill be Glorious and Honourable to indure them with Courage. As for the Laſt, which is look’d on as the moſt terrible and ſhocking of all thoſe things which are commonly call’d Evils, as being the Privation of Life, and a thing abhorrent to Nature, ’tis no more than drawing the Curtain, and inlarging the Proſpect: ’Twill give them a Writ of Eaſe, a kind Diſcharge from all the Numerous Miſeries of Life, and place them at once beyond the reach of Envy, and the Power of Fortune. That ſuch great and momentous Truths as theſe may become familiar to their Minds, I would perſwade ’em, inſtead of ſpending ſo much of their Time in reading Plays and Romances, to beſtow a part of it in ſtudying Moral Philoſophy, which they will find to be of very great uſe toward the bettering and informing of their Underſtandings, the improving their Judgments, and the regulating their Wills and Affections: From what I have ſaid, I would not have it thought I diſlike Plays and Romances I aſſure you I think ’em very innocent, and very agreeable Diverſions, eſpecially the Firſt Tragedies fill the Mind with noble Ideas, and inſpire us with great and generous Sentiments and Comedies ſhow us our Faults in the cleareſt Light in them we ſee our Weakneſſes expos’d, and all our darling Follies ridicul’d and ’tis our ſelves alone we ought to blame, if we receive no Advantage from them, for they inſtruct at the ſame time they entertain. But the Books I would chiefly recommend, next to the Sacred Scripture, and Devotional Diſcourſes, are, Seneca’s Morals, together with thoſe of Plutarch, and the Philoſophy of Epictetus that excellent Man, who in the worſt of Times, and the moſt vicious Court in the World, kept his Integrity inviolable, and was ſtill true to his Principles, and conſtant to himſelf amidſt all the Inconveniencies, Diſcouragement and Diſgraces that attended him: Neither the Indiſpoſition of his Body, nor the Barbarity of a Savage Maſter, nor that Poverty in which he ſpent his Life, cou’d make him do or ſay any thing unworthy of himſelf, or unbecoming a Philoſopher I would likewiſe recommend to them Gaſſendi’s Morals I mean, the Three Diſcourſes of Happineſs, Virtue and Liberty, collected from his Works by the learned Monſieur Bernier. To theſe I deſire ’em to add both Ancient and Modern Hiſtories; in the reading of which they will ſee the Riſe and Fall of mighty Monarchies, great Kingdoms ſpringing from their Ruines, and little States ſupporting themſelves for ſeveral Ages amidſt numerous and powerful Enemies, by the force of good Laws, and the advantages of juſt and prudent Inſtitutions, together with the Miſchiefs that Luxury, Pride, Ambition, Avarice, and the deſire of abſolute Dominion have often involv’d ’em in. They will there alſo ſee Men rais’d from the Duſt, from low and obſcure Beginnings, and exalted to the greateſt Height of Power, the utmoſt extent of Humane Glory and then all on a ſudden, by an unexpected reverſe of Fate, a ſtrange and ſurprizing turn of Fortune, depriv’d of all their Grandeur, and reduc’d to their Original meanneſs Princes ſometimes on Thrones, and ſometimes in Priſon Good Men induring the Puniſhments due to Vice, and vicious Men receiving the Rewards belonging to Vertue. There they will find a Socrates dying by Poyſon, a Regulus expiring in Torments,a ments, vi a1v ments, an Ariſtides, Camillus and Rutilius, baniſh’d by their ungrateful Country-Men, a Pompey treacherouſly ſlain, a Cæſar murder’d by his Friends, a Beliſarius begging treacherously his Bread, and a Mauritius with his whole Family falling by the Hands of a rebellious Subject Sure ſuch Objects as thoſe will keep them from wondering at little Accidents, or grieving at trifling Diſappointments, from ſinking under every ſmall Affliction, and make them entertain a very low Opinion of Humane Greatneſs; ſuch Viciſſitudes as theſe will let ’em ſee there’s no dependance on any thing here neither Virtue, Knowledge, Prudence, Quality, nor Power neither the greateſt Obligations, the cloſeſt Ties of Conſcience and Honour, nor yet a Spotleſs Innocency of Life, and irreprovable Integrity of Manners, are able to defend their Poſſeſſors from the Outrages of Fortune, or from the invenom’d Tongues, and bloody Deſigns of cruel and ambitious Men. If they ſhould find themſelves tyr’d, and their Minds too much ſadden’d by theſe melancholy Reflections, I would adviſe ’em to read the Poets, and acquaint themſelves with all the Fineneſſes of thoſe great Maſters of Wit and Language, Homer, Anacreon, Theocritus, Lucretius, Manilius, Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Juvenal and Perſius, are now naturaliz’d, and wear an Engliſh Dreſs; and we have the happineſs to have Poets of our own, who for their good Senſe, flight of Fancy, Purity of Stile, and Elevation of Thought, deſerve the higheſt admiration. And that the Men may have no juſt Cauſe to upbraid them with their being ignorant of any thing that is worthy of their Knowledge, I would alſo perſwade ’em to read ſuch Boooks as treat of the ſeveral Parts of the Earth, and which give Geographical Deſcriptions of Places they weill find the Travels of ingenious, inquiſitive Men infinitely delightful, and they will every where in their Relations meet with things very entertaining, and diverting, as well as uſeful, it being extreamly pleaſant to obſerve the different Opinions, Manners, Cuſtoms, Intereſts, and Habits of the ſeveral Inhabitants of the World, and to know what is remarkable in each Country, and peculiar to it. Such Studies as theſe, together with thoſe which I have mention’d before, will ſo wholly imploy their Thoughts, and ſo intirely fill up thoſe Intervals of Time which they can ſpare from their Domeſtick Affairs, and the neceſſary Concerns of Life, that they will have no leiſure to inquire into the Tranſactions of their Neighbourhood, or to make uncharitable Reflections on their Conduct nor will there be any Room left for the ordinary Impertinences of Converſation: They will know how to entertain themſelves, and others, both advantagiouſly and agreeably, and will be always eaſie and pleas’d, whether alone, or in Company neither the Badneſs of their Husbands, the Unkindneſſes of their Friends, the Cenſoriouſneſs of an envious malicious World, nor the moſt unwelcome Turns of Fortune will give them any Trouble, or diſturb their Repoſe I beg your pardon for the length of this Addreſs, and for the liberty I have taken to ſpeak my Thoughts ſo freely, which I do not doubt but you will readily grant to one, who has no other Deſign but that of doing you Juſtice, nor no higher Ambition, than that of letting the World ſee with how much Sincerity, Reſpect and Ardour, ſhe is,

Ladies, Your moſt Humble and Devoted Servant.

M--y C-------

The vii a2r

The Preface to the Reader.

The Book, which has been the occaſion of the inſuing Poem, was preſented to me by its Author, of whom, notwithſtanding he has been pleas’d to treat us with the utmoſt Severity and Neglect, I think my ſelf oblig’d in Juſtice to ſay, that he is a Perſon of Learning. What his Reaſons were for uſing us ſo roughly, I know not perhaps he did it to let us ſee his Wit, who has had the ill Fortune to converſe with Women of ungovernable Tempers, whoſe Paſsions have got the Aſcendant of their Reaſon; ſuch I think cannot be too harſhly treated, and the greateſt kindneſs that can be done ’em, is to bring ’em (if ’tis poſſible) to the Knowledge of themſelves, and their Duty, and by ſhewing them their Faults, indeavour to depreſs thoſe towring Imaginations. But ’tis hard that all ſhould ſuffer for the Failures and Indiſcretions of ſome; that thoſe who are willing to give up themſelves intirely to the Conduct of Reaſon, who make it their Study to live according to the ſtricteſt Rules of Vertue, and are ſo far from indulging themſelves in their Follies, that they eſteem Reproofs as the greateſt Favours that can be ſhown ’em, and are contented that all Mankind ſhould be Judges of their Actions; whom Paſsions cannot byaſs, nor Intereſt tempt, nor Ill Uſage provoke to do or ſay any thing unworthy of themſelves, ſhould be rank’d with Criminals, and have no Deference pay’d ’em: ’Tis for their Sakes alone I have made the following Remarks. I have done it by way of Dialogue, and thoſe Expreſsions which I thought would be indecent in the Mouth of a Reverend Divine, are ſpoken by Sir John Brute, who has all the extraordinary Qualifications of an accompliſh’d Husband and to render his Character compleat, I have given him the Religion of a Wit, and the good Humour of a Critick. I am afraid the Clergy will accuſe me of Atheiſm for making Sir John ſpeak ſo irreverently of them but before they condemn me, I beg ’em to be ſo juſt as to conſider, that I do not ſpeak my own Thoughts, but what one might rationally ſuppoſe a Man of his Character will ſay on ſuch Occaſions: And to prevent their having any miſapprehenſions of me, I do aſsure ’em, that for all ſuch of their Order as are pious and ingenuous Men, whoſe Converſations are inſtructive, and whoſe Lives are conformable to thoſe holy Truths they teach, none can have a higher Veneration than I: And if ſuch as theſe find any thing in my Poem that they diſlike, they will oblige me in letting me know it, and I promiſe ’em I will retract it. Had he treated us with a little more Reſpect, and inſtead of the ſurly Sourneſs of a Cynick, expreſs’d himſelf with the good Humour of an Engliſh Man, and the ſoft and indearing Mildneſs of a Chriſtian, I ſhould have thought my ſelf oblig’d to have return’d him Thanks for his Inſtructions That we are generally leſs Knowing, and leſs Rational than the Men, I cannot but acknowledge but I think ’tis oftener owing to the illneſs of our Education, than the weakneſs of our Capacities. The learned F. Malebranch ſays, ’Tis in a certain Temperature of the Largeneſs and Agitation of the Animal Spirits, and conformity with the Fibres of the Brain, that the Strength of Parts conſiſts and he tells us, That Women are ſometimes bleſt with that juſt Temperature, and are Learned, Couragious, and capable of every thing and inſtead of that nauſeous Jargon, and thoſe impertinent Stories with which our Maids uſually entertain us in our younger Years, taught the Languages of the Schools, and accuſtom’d to the reading of Hiſtories, and Books of Morality and did our Husbands treat us with that Kindneſs, that Sincerity, I will not ſay with that Reſpect, for fear that ſhould be thought too much for a Wife, but only with that common Civility which is due to Strangers, they would meet with a grateful return, and have much leſs reaſon to complain. Would the Men do me the honour to take my Advice, I am confident they would for the future have leſs occaſion to complain. Firſt; I would have them be more judicious in their Choice, and prefer Virtue and good Senſe, before either Riches, Beauty or Quality theſe, joyn’d with an agreeable Humour, will make them happier than the greateſt Affluence of Wealth, or than all the Charms of viii a2v of a lovely Face and if ’tis their good Fortune to meet with ſuch, I would in the ſecond Place perſwade ’em to treat them with all that Affection and Tenderneſs which they deſerve, and leave intirely to their management the Affairs of the Kitchen, and thoſe other little Concerns of the Family which ſeem to be below their inſpection And Laſtly, I would have them look upon them as Friends, as Perſons fit to be confided in, and truſted with their Deſigns, as ſuch whoſe Intereſt is inſeparably united with theirs: by ſuch Methods as theſe, they would not only win their Love, but preſerve it, and engage ’em to a reciprocal Eſteem; and when once they have ſecur’d their Affection, they need not doubt of their Obedience the deſire to pleaſe will render the moſt difficult Commands eaſie Should I give a particular Anſwer to each Paragraph, I ſhould not only tire the Readers Patience, but my own, for which Reaſon I intend only to take notice of ſome very remarkable things, ſuch as his ſaying, We make it our buſineſs before we are married to lay Snares for Hearts, and imprint, Come love me, in the pleaſantneſs of our Looks, in the neatneſs of our Dreſs, in the Diſcretion of our Words, and in the Obligingneſs of our Deportment. Now what can be vainer than to think, that while the Men are Admirers of themſelves, and aim at nothing but their own Satisfaction, the Women ſhould be wholly deſtitute of Self-love, and do nothing to pleaſe themſelves; or that Pleaſantneſs, Vivacity and Chearfulneſs, which are the Effects of an internal Joy and Tranquility of Mind, ſhould continue when the Cauſe ceaſes? Perhaps before they were marry’d, they had nothing to diſcompoſe them, no Cares to diſturb their Thoughts, no Unkindneſses to reſent, nothing to pall their Delights but now the caſe may be alter’d they may meet with a thouſand Diſcouragements, with Troubles capable of altering the gayeſt Temper and what influences the Mind, is ordinarily apparent in the Countenance, and diſcovers it ſelf by a melancholy dejected Air, and too often occaſions an Incoherency in the Diſcourſe, a Neglect in the Dreſs, and an indecent Careleſsneſs and Moroſeneſs in the Carriage ſo that all thoſe things with which he upbraids us, ought to be rather look’d on as our Misfortune, than our Fault and if he would have us to be ſuch as we formerly were, he muſt perſwade the Men to be the ſame they were when they made their firſt Addreſses; and not, when marryed, think of making Innovations, or of introducing Perſian Cuſtoms neither give the Ribbon Weavers the Trouble of making Motto’s on our Ribbons, or us the fatigue of imbroidering Love, Honour and Obey, on our Head Dreſſes, for fear, after all our labour, ſuch Ornaments ſhou’d appear as ridiculous and antiquated as Paſſive Obedience wou’d, if ’twere to be worn by him and the reſt of his Brethren. But yet permit me to ſay, ’twould be very difficult for a rational ingenious Woman, were ſhe Miſtreſs of never ſo much Vertue, and bleſt with the greateſt Strength of Reſolution, if ’twere her ill Fortune to be married to a fooliſh, paſſionate, ſtingy, ſottiſh Husband, to have as high an Eſteem for him, as if he had all thoſe good Qualities which ſhe ſees, and cannot but like in others: and I think ſhe may be allow’d ſecretly to wiſh, that he were as wiſe, as generous, as temperate, as ſuch a Man, as much a Maſter of his Paſsions, as obliging, and ſincere as another. There is one thing which I think does more contribute to the Unhappineſs of the married State, than any of thoſe which he has mention’d, and that is, Parents forcing their Children to Marry contrary to their Inclinations Men believe they have a right to diſpoſe of their Children as they pleaſe; and they think it below them to conſult their Satisfaction: ’Tis no matter what their Thoughts are, if the Fathers like, ’tis enough: And is it rational to ſuppoſe, that ſuch Matches can ever be fortunate? If the Men are prudent, they will carry it civilly to their Wives and the Women if they are diſcreet, will be obſequious and reſpectful to their Husbands, but there cannot be that Friendſhip, that Tenderneſs, that Unity of Affection which ought to be in that ſacred State. I could ſay much more on ſo copious a Subject, but I fear I have already weary’d my Reader, to whoſe Trouble I will not add, by making trifling Apologies for what I have written: The liberty I take, I am willing to give, and the ingenious Author may, if he pleaſes, Animadvert as freeely on my Book, as I have done on his if he finds any thing in it that can juſtly give him any Offence, I beg his Pardon for it and I do aſſure him, that what I have writ is wholly the Reſult of that great Concern and Kindneſs I have for my Sex, and is ſo far from proceeding from the leaſt Diſreſpect to him, that I am ready to own to the whole World, that I think for his Piety he deſerves an univerſal Eſteem

The 1 B1r ( 1 )

The Ladies Defence:

or, A Dialogue Betweeen Sir John Brute, Sir William Loveall, Meliſſa, and a Parſon

Sir John.

Welcome, thou brave Defender of our Right;

’Till now, I thought you knew not how to Write:

Dull heavy Morals did your Pens imploy;

And all your buſineſs was to pall our Joy:

With frightful Tales our Ears you ſtill did grate,

And we with awful Reverence heard you prate;

Heard you declaim on Vice, and blame the Times,

Becauſe we impudently ſhar’d your Crimes;

Thoſe darling Sins you wholly wou’d ingroſs:

And when diſturb’d, and fretting at your loſs,

With whining Tones, and a pretended Zeal,

Saw you the Rancour of your Minds Reveal:

Till now, none of your Tribe were ever kind,

Good Humour is alone to you confin’d;

You, who againſt thoſe Terrours of our Lives,

Thoſe worſt of Plagues, thoſe Furies call’d our Wives,

Have ſhew’d your Anger in a Strain Divine,

Reſentment ſparkles in each poignant Line.

Sure you’ve the Fate of wretched Husbands met,

And ’tis your own Misfortune you regret;

You cou’d not elſe with ſuch a feeling Senſe

Expatiate on each Fault, and Blazon each Offence.

How 2 B1v ( 2 )

How happy, O Sir William, is your Life!

You have not known the Trouble of a Wife:

Your Rural Cares you undiſturb’d can mind,

And ’midſt your Brutal Subjects Pleaſure find:

Your Snowy Flocks you with delight can view,

They are both innocent, and pretty too:

And when from Buſineſs you your Thoughts unbend,

You can with Joy the Noble Chaſe attend,

Or when you pleaſe Drink freely with a Friend.

No frowning Female ſtands obſerving by,

No Children fright you with their hideous Cry;

None dare contend none your Commands diſpute;

You like the Great Mogul, are Abſolute:

Supream in all things from our Slavery free,

And taſt the Sweets of envy’d Liberty.

Sir William.

The beauteous Sex I ever did revere,

And can’t with patience theſe Reflections hear:

To them I’ve long a conſtant Homage pay’d,

And with Delight each Charming Face ſurvey’d.

I’ve had of Miſtreſses a numerous Store,

The Fam’d Anacrean could not boaſt of more;

Yet each was Good, each with Perfections bleſt,

And each by turns has triumph’d in my Breaſt;

That I’m unmarrry’d, is my Fate, not Choice:

I in a happy Bondage ſhould rejoyce;

And thank my Stars, if they wou’d yet incline

Some lovly She to be for ever mine:

Then wonder not to hear me take their Part,

And plead for the dear Idols of my Heart.

Spightful Invectives ſhou’d no Patrons find,

They are the Shame, and Venom of the Mind.

Parſon

Not led by Paſsion, but by Zeal inſpir’d,

I’ve told the Women what’s of them requir’d:

Shew’d them their Duty in the cleareſt Light,

Adorn’d with all the Charms that cou’d invite:

Taught them their Husband to Obey and Pleaſe,

And to their Humours ſacrifice their Eaſe:

Give 3 B2r ( 3 )

Give up their Reaſon, and their Wills reſign,

And every Look, and every Thought confine.

Sure, this, Detraction you can’t juſtly call?

’Tis kindly meant, and ’tis addreſs’d to All.

Meliſſa

Muſt Men command, and we alone obey,

As if deſign’d for Arbitrary Sway:

Born petty Monarchs, and, like Homer’s Gods,

See all ſubjected to their haughty Nods?

Narciſſius-like, you your own Graces view,

Think none deſerve to be admir’d but you:

Your own Perfections always you adore,

And think all others deſpicably poor:

We have our Faults, but you are all Divine,

Wiſdom does in your meaneſt Actions ſhine:

Juſt, Pious, Chaſt, from every Paſsion free,

By Learning rais’d above Humanity.

For every Failure you a Covering find;

Rage is a Noble Bravery of Mind:

Revenge, a Tribute due to injur’d Fame;

And Pride, but what tranſcendant Worth does claim:

Cowards are Wary, and the Dull are Grave,

Fops are Genteel, and Hectoring Bullies Brave:

Such as live High, regardleſs of Expence,

Are Generous Men, and ever bleſs’d with Senſe:

Baſe Avarice Frugality you call,

And he’s a prudent Man who graſps at all:

Who to be Rich, does Labour, Cheat, and Lie;

Does to himſelf the Sweets of Life deny,

And wretched lives, that he may wealthy dye.

Thus to each Vice you give ſome ſpecious Name,

And with bright Colours varniſh o’re your Shame.

But unto us is there no Deference due?

Muſt we pay all, and look for none from you?

Why are not Husbands taught as well as we;

Muſt they from all Reſtraints, all Laws be free?

Paſsive Obedience you’ve to us transferr’d,

And we muſt drudge in Paths where you have err’d:

That antiquated Doctrine you diſown;

’Tis now your Scorn, and fit for us alone.

Parſon 4 B2v ( 4 )

Parſon

Love and Reſpect, are, I muſt own, your due,

But not till there’s Obedience paid by you:

Submiſſion, and a ſtudious Care to pleaſe,

May give a Right to Favors great as theſe:

But if Subjection is by you deny’d,

You’ll fall the unpitty’d Victims of your Pride:

We then all Husband juſtly may appear,

And Talk, and Frown, ’till we have taught your Fear.

Sir John.

Yes, as we pleaſe, we may our Wives chaſtiſe,

’Tis the Prerogative of being Wiſe:

They are but Fools, and muſt as ſuch be us’d.

Heaven! how I bluſh to ſee our Pow’r abus’d:

To ſee Men doat upon a Female Face,

And all the Manly Roughneſs of their Sex diſgrace!

Meliſſa

Not thus you talk’d when you Lenera lov’d,

By ſofter Paſſion, ſure, your Soul was mov’d,

Then at her Feet, falſe Man, you flattering lay,

And pray’d, and vow’d, and ſigh’d your Hours away;

Admir’d her Face, her Shape, her Mein, her Air,

And ſwore that none was ſo divinely fair;

None had ſuch Charms, none elſe the wondrous Art

To gain th’ intire poſsion of your Heart.

Having expended your whole Stock of Senſe,

And quite exhauſted all your Eloquence,

When not one Phraſe was left of all your Store,

Aſham’d to have it known you were ſo poor,

You made your Silence want of words ſupply,

And look’d, as if your Love wou’d make you die:

Shew’d all your Art, your Native Guile diſplay’d,

And gaz’d till you had won the thoughtleſs Maid.

Sir John.

I lov’d her, ’till to her I was confin’d:

But who can long to what’s his own be kind?

Plagues ſeize the Wretch who ty’d the curſed Knot,

Let him be damn’d: Eternally forgot.

Mel.

There ſpoke the Husband all the Fiend reveal’d:

Your Paſſion utters what’s by moſt conceal’d.

O that my Sex ſafe Infidels would live,

And no more Credit to your Flatteries give.

Miſtruſt 5 C1r ( 5 )

Miſtruſt your Vows, deſpiſe your little Arts,

And keep a conſtant Guard upon their Hearts.

Unhappy they, who by their Duty led,

Are made the Partners of a hated Bed;

And by their Fathers Avarice or Pride,

To Empty Fops, or Nauſeous Clowns are ty’d;

Or elſe conſtrain’d to give up all their Charms

Into an old ill-humour’d Husbands Arms,

Who hugs his Bags, and never was inclin’d

To be to ought beſides his Money kind,

On that he dotes, and to increaſe his Wealth,

Wou’d Sacrifice his Conſcience, Eaſe and Health,

Give up his Children, and devote his Wife,

And live a Stranger to the Joys of Life.

Who’s always poſitive in what is Ill,

And ſtill a Slave to his imperious Will:

Averſe to any thing he thinks will pleaſe,

Still Sick, and ſtill in love with his Diſeaſe:

With Fears, with Diſcontent, with Envy curſt,

To all uneaſie, and himſelf the worſt;

A ſpightful Cenſor of the preſent Age,

Or dully jeſting, or deform’d with Rage.

Theſe call for Pity, ſince it is their Fate;

Their Friends, not they, their Miſeries create:

They are like Victims to the Alter led,

Born for Deſtruction, and for Ruine bred:

Forc’d to ſigh out each long revolving Year,

And ſee their Lives all ſpent in Toil and Care.

But ſuch as may be from this Bondage free,

Who’ve no Abridgers of their Liberty;

No cruel Parents, no impoſing Friends,

To make ’em wretched for their private Ends,

From me ſhall no Commiſeration have,

If they themſelves to barbarous Men inſlave;

They’d better Wed among the Savage kind,

And be to generous Lyons ſtill confin’d;

Or match’d to Tygers, who would gentler prove

Than you, who talk of Piety and Love,

C Words, 6 C1v ( 6 )

Words, whoſe Senſe, you never underſtood,

And for that Reaſon, are nor kind, nor good.

Parſon

Why all this Rage? we merit not your hate;

’Tis you alone diſturb the Marriage State:

If to your Lords you ſtrict Allegiance pay’d,

And their Commands ſubmiſsively obey’d:

If like wiſe Eaſtern Slaves with trembling Awe

You watch’d their Looks, and made their Will your Law,

You wou’d both Kindneſs and Protection gain,

And find your duteous Care was not in vain.

This, I advis’d, this, I your Sex have taught;

And ought Inſtruction to be call’d a Fault?

Your Duty was I knew the harder part;

Obedience being a harſh, uneaſie Art:

The Skill to Govern, Men with eaſe can learn;

We’re ſoon inſtructed in our own Concern.

But you need all the Aid that I can give,

To make you unrepining Vaſsals live.

Heav’n, you muſt own, to you has been leſs kind,

You cannot boaſt our Steadineſs of Mind,

Nor is your Knowledge half ſo unconfin’d;

We can beyond the Bounds of Nature ſee,

And dare to Fathom vaſt Infinity.

Then ſoar aloft, and view the Worlds on high,

And all the inmoſt Manſions of the Sky:

Gaze on the Wonders, on the Beauties there,

And talk with the bright Phantoms of the Air:

Obſerve their Cuſtoms, Policy and State,

And pry into the dark Intrigues of Fate:

Nay more than this, we Atoms can divide,

And all the Queſtions of the Schools decide:

Turn Falſehood into Truth, and Impudence to Shame,

Change Malice into Zeal, and Infamy to Fame,

Makes Vices Virtues, Honour but a Name.

Nothing’s too hard for our Almighty Senſe,

But you, not bleſt with Phœbus influence,

Wither in Shades with nauſeous Dulneſs curſt,

Born Fools, and by reſembling Idiots Nurſt;

Then 7 C2r ( 7 )

Then taught to Work, to Dance, to Sing and Play,

And vainly trifle all your Hours away,

Proud that you’ve learn’t the little Arts to pleaſe,

As being incapable of more than theſe:

Your ſhallow Minds can nothing elſe contain,

You were not made for Labours of the Brain;

Thoſe are the Manly Toils which we ſuſtain;

We, like the Ancient Giants, ſtand on high,

And ſeem to bid Defiance to the Sky,

While you poor worthleſs Inſects crawl below,

And leſs than Mites t’our exhalted Reaſon ſhow;

Yet by Compaſsion for your Frailties mov’d,

I’ve ſtrove to make you fit to be belov’d.

Sir John.

That is a Task exceeds your utmoſt Skill,

Spite of your Rules, they will be Women ſtill:

Wives are the common Nuſance of the State;

They all our Troubles, all our Cares create,

And more than Taxes, ruin an Eſtate;

Wou’d they, like Lucifer, were doom’d to Hell,

That we might here without diſturbance dwell,

Then we ſhould uncontroul’d our Wealth imploy,

Drink high, and take a full Repaſt of Joy:

Damn Care, and bravely roar away our Time,

And ſtill be buſied in ſome noble Crime.

Like to the happier Brutes, live unconfin’d,

And freely chuſe among the Female kind.

So liv’d the mighty Thunderer of old,

Lov’d as he pleas’d, and ſcorn’d to be controul’d:

No Kindred Names his Paſsion cou’d reſtrain:

Like him I’ll think all Nice Diſtinctions vain;

And tir’d with one, to a new Miſtreſs fly,

Bleſt with the Sweets of dear Variety.

Meliſſa

To live at large a Puniſhment wou’d prove

To one acquainted with the Joys of Love.

Sincere Affection centers but in one,

And cannot be to various Objects ſhown;

Wou’d Men prove kind, reſpectful, juſt and true,

And unto us their former Vows renew,

They 8 C2v ( 8 )

They wou’d have then no Reaſon to complain,

But ’till that time Reproofs will be in vain.

Some few perhaps, whom Virtue has refin’d;

Who in themſelves no vicious Habits find,

Who ſway’d by Reaſon, and by Honour led,

May in the thorny Paths of Duty tread;

And ſtill unweary’d with your utmoſt Spight,

In the bleſt Euges of their Minds delight:

But ſtill the moſt will their Reſentment ſhow,

And by deplor’d effects let you their Anger know.

Sir Wil.

She’s in the right. They ſtill wou’d virtuous prove,

Were they but treated with Reſpect and Love,

Your barbarous Uſage does Revenge produce,

It makes ’em bad, and is their juſt Excuſe;

You’ve ſet ’em Copies, and dare you repine,

If they tranſcribe each black, deteſted Line?

Parſon

I dare affirm thoſe Husbands that are ill,

Were they unmarried, wou’d be faultleſs ſtill;

If we are cruel, they have made us ſo;

What e’er they ſuffer, to themſelves they owe:

Our Love on their Obedience does depend,

We will be kind, when they no more offend.

Meliſſa

Of our Offences who ſhall Judges be?

Parſ

For that great Work Heav’n has commiſsion’d me.

I’m made one of his Subſtitutes below,

And from my Mouth unerring Precepts flow;

I’ll prove your Duty from the Law Divine,

Celeſtial Truth in my Diſourſe ſhall ſhine;

Truth dreſt in all the Gaieties of Art,

In all that Wit can give, or Eloquence impart.

Attend, attend, the Auguſt Meſsage hear,

Let it imprint a reverential Fear.

’Twill on your Mind a vital Influence have,

If while I ſpeak, you’re Silent as the Grave.

The ſacred Oracles for deference call,

When from my Oily Tongue they ſmoothly fall.

Firſt, I’ll by Reaſon prove you ſhould obey,

Next, point you out the moſt compendious way,

And 9 D1r ( 9 )

And then th’ important Doctrine I’ll improve,

Theſe are the Steps by which I mean to move.

And firſt, becauſe you were by Heav’n deſign’d

To be the Comforts of our Nobler Kind:

For us alone with tempting Graces bleſt,

And for our Sakes by bounteous Nature dreſt;

With all the choiceſt Beauties of her Store,

And made ſo fine, that ſhe cou’d add no more.

And dare you now, as if it were in Spight,

Become our Plagues, when form’d for our Delight?

Conſider next, we are for you accurſt,

We ſinn’d, but you, alas! were guilty firſt;

Unhappy Eve unto her Ruin led,

Tempted by Pride, on the bright Poyſon fed;

Then to her thoughtleſs Husband gave a Part,

He eat, ſeduc’d by her bewitching Art.

And ’twas but juſt that for ſo great a Fault

She ſhou’d be to a ſtrict Subjection brought;

So ſtrict, her Thoughts ſhould be no more her own,

But all ſubſervient made to him alone.

Had ſhe not err’d, her Task had eaſie been,

He ow’d his change of Humour to her Sin.

From that unhappy Hour he Peeviſh grew;

And ſhe no more of ſolid Pleaſure knew.

His Looks a ſullen Haughtineſs did wear,

And all his Words were Scornful, or Severe;

His Mind ſo rough, Love could not harbour there.

The gentle God in haſt forſook his Seat,

And frighted fled to ſome more ſoft Retreat:

His Place was by a thouſand Ills poſseſt,

The crouding Dæmons throng’d into his Breaſt,

And left no Room for tender Paſſions there:

His Sons with him in the ſad Change did ſhare;

His Sourneſs ſoon Hereditary grew;

And its Effects are ſtill perceiv’d by you.

With all your Patience, all your Toil and Art,

You ſcarce can keep the ſurly Husband’s Heart.

Your Kindneſs hardly can Eſteem create;

Yet do not blame him, ſince it is his Fate:

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But on your Mother Eve alone reflect;

Thank her for his Moroſeneſs and Neglect:

Who with a fond indulgent Spouſe being bleſt,

And like a Miſtreſs Courted, and Careſt,

Was not contented with her preſent State,

But muſt her own Unhappineſs create;

And by ill Practices his Temper ſpoil,

And make what once was eaſie, prove a Toil.

If you wou’d live as it becomes a Wife,

And raiſe the Honour of a marry’d Life,

You muſt the uſeful Art of wheedling try,

And with his various Humours ſtill comply:

Admire his Wit, praiſe all that he does do,

And when he’s vex’d, do you be pettiſh too:

When he is ſad, a cloudy Aſpect wear,

And talk to him with a dejected Air:

When Rage tranſports him, be as mad as he,

And when he’s pleas’d, be eaſie, gay and free.

You’ll find this Method will effectual prove,

Inhance your Merit, and ſecure his Love.

Sir Joh.

It wou’d: But Women will be Croſs and Proud;

When we are merry, Paſsionate and Loud:

When we are angry, thaen they frolick grow,

And Laugh, and Sing, and no Compliance ſhow;

In Contradictions they alone delight,

Are ſtill a Curſe, and never in the Right.

By Heav’n I’d rather be an Ape, or Bear,

Or live with Beggers in the open Air,

Expos’d to Thunder, Lightning, Want and Cold,

Than be a Prince, and haunted with a Scold.

Thoſe noiſie Monſters much more dreadful are,

Than threatning Comets, Plagues, or bloody War.

Grant Providence (if ſuch a Thing there be)

They never may from Hoarſeneſses be free.

May on their Tongues as many Bliſters grow

As they have Teeth and to increaſe their Woe,

Let their Deſires by Signs be ſtill convey’d,

And talking be for ever Penal made.

Parſon 11 D2r ( 11 )

Parſon

Hold, hold: I can’t theſe Interruptions bear;

If you don’t me, theſe ſacred Truths revere.

Now, Madam, I’ll inſtruct you to obey,

And as I promis’d, point you out the way.

Firſt, to your Husband you your Heart muſt give,

He muſt, alone in your Affection live.

What e’er he is, you ſtill muſt think him bleſt,

And boaſt to all that you are truely bleſt;

If Fools ſhould laugh, and cry ’tis but a Jeſt,

Yet ſtill look Grave, and vow you are Sincere,

And undiſturb’d their ill-bred Cenſures bear.

Do what you can his Kindneſs to ingage,

Wink at his Vices, and indulge his Rage.

How vain are Women in their youthful Days,

How fond of Courtſhip, and how proud of Praiſe,

What Arts they uſe, what Methods they deviſe,

To be thought Fair, Obliging, Neat and Wiſe;

But when they’re marry’d, they ſoon careleſs grow,

Neglect their Dreſs, and no more Neatneſs ſhow:

Their Charms are loſt, their Kindneſs laid aſide,

Smiles turn’d to Frowns, their Wiſdom into Pride,

And they or Sullen are, or always Chide.

Are theſe the ways a Husband’s Love to gain?

Or won’t they rather heighten his Diſdain?

Make him turn Sot, be troubleſome and ſad,

Or if he’s Fiery, Cholerick and Mad.

Thus they their Peace induſtriouſly deſtroy,

And rob themſelves of all their promis’d Joy.

Next, unto him you muſt due Honour pay,

And at his Feet your Top-knot Glories lay;

The Perſian Ladies Chalk you out the way:

They humbly on their Heads a Foot do wear,

As I have Read, but yet the Lord knows where:

That Badge of Homage graceful does appear,

Wou’d the good Cuſtom were in faſhion here.

Alſo to him you inward Reverence owe;

If he’s a Fool, you muſt not think him ſo;

Nor yet indulge one mean contemptuous Thought,

Or fancy he can e’re commit a Fault.

Nor 12 D2v ( 12 )

Nor muſt your Deference be alone confin’d

Unto the hid Receſses of your Mind,

But muſt in all your Actions be diſplay’d,

And viſible to each Spectator made.

With him, well pleas’d, and always chearful live,

And to him ſtill reſpectful Titles give.

Call him your Lord, and your good Breeding ſhow,

And do not rudely too familiar grow:

Nor like ſome Country Matrons call him Names,

As John, or Geffrey, William, George or James;

Or what’s much worſe, and ne’re to be forgot,

Thoſe courſer Terms of Sloven, Clown, or Sot;

For tho’ perhaps they may be juſtly due,

Yet muſt not, Madam, once be ſpoke by you:

Soft winning Language will become you beſt;

Ladies ought not to Rail, tho’ but in Jeſt;

Laſtly, to him you Fealty muſt pay,

And his Commands without diſpute obey.

A blind Obedience you from Guilt ſecures,

And if you err, the Fault is his, not yours.

What I have taught you, will not tireſom prove,

If as you ought, you can but truely love:

Honour and Homage then no Task will be;

And we ſhall, ſure, as few ill Husbands ſee,

As now good Wives: They’l Prodigies appear,

Like Whales and Comets, ſhew ſome Danger near.

Now to Improvement I with haſt will run,

Be ſhort in that, and then my Work is done.

To you, Sir, Firſt, I will my ſelf apply,

To you, who are more fortunate than I,

And yet are free from the dire Gordian Tye.

You that Religion ought to love, and praiſe,

Which does you thus above the FamalesFemales raiſe;

Next me admire, who can ſuch Comments make,

And kindly wreſt the Scripture for your Sake:

And now if you dare try a marry’d State,

You’l have no Reaſon to accuſe your Fate,

Since I have told ’em, if they’ll be good Wives,

Thy muſt Submit, and flatter all their Lives.

You, 13 E1r ( 13 )

You, who already drag the Nuptial Chain,

Will now have no occaſion to complain,

Since they beyond their Sphere no more will towr,

But for the future own your Sovereign Pow’r:

And being indue’d by this Advice of mine,

To you their Senſe and Liberty reſign:

Turn Fools and Slaves, that they the more may pleaſe;

Now it is fit for Gifts ſo vaſt as theſe,

We ſhould ſome little Gratitude expreſs,

And be more Complaiſant in our Addreſs:

Bear with their Faults, their weakneſses of Mind,

When they are Penitent, we ſhou’d be kind.

And that their Faith we may the more ſecure,

For them ſome Inconveniencies indure:

When they’re in Danger, their Defenders prove;

’Twill ſhew at once, our Valour, and our Love.

But let it be our more immediate Care

To make ’em theſe unerring Rules revere.

Bid ’em attentively each Precept read;

And tell ’em, they’re as holy as their Creed:

Beſure each Morning ’ere they Eat or Pray,

That they with Care the ſacred Leſson ſay:

This, will our Quiet, and their Souls ſecure,

And both our Happineſs, and theirs enſure;

I on their Duty cou’d with eaſe inlarge,

But I would not too much their Memories charge;

They’re weak, and ſhou’d they over-loaden be,

They’ll ſoon forget what has been ſaid by me;

Which Heav’n avert! ſince it much Thought has coſt,

And who wou’d have ſuch wond’rous Rhetorick loſt?

Meliſſ

A Mouſe the labouring Mountain does diſcloſe,

What rais’d my Wonder, my Deriſion grows.

With mighty Pomp you your Harangue begun,

And with big Words my fixt Attention won.

Each ſtudied Period was with Labour wrought,

But deſtitute of Reaſon and of Thought.

What you meant Praiſe upon your ſelves reflects,

Each Sentence is a Satyr on your Sex.

E If 14 E1v ( 14 )

If we on you ſuch Obloquies had thrown,

We had not, ſure, one peaceful Minute known:

But you are Wiſe, and ſtill know what is beſt,

And with your ſelves may be allow’d to Jeſt;

Parſ

How dare you treat me with ſo much neglect?

My ſacred Function calls for more Reſpect;

Meliſſa

I’ve ſtill rever’d your Order as Divine;

And when I ſee unblemiſh’d Vertue Shine,

When ſolid Learning, and ſubſtantial Senſe,

Are joyn’d with unaffected Eloquence;

When Lives and Doctrines of a Piece are made,

And holy Truths with humble Zeal convey’d;

When free from Paſsion, Bigottry and Pride,

Not ſway’d by Intereſt, nor to Parties ty’d,

Contemning Riches, and abhorring Strife,

And ſhunning all the noiſie Pomps of Life,

You live the aweful Wonders of your Time,

Without the leaſt ſuſpicion of a Crime:

I ſhall with Joy the higheſt Deference pay,

And heedfully attend to all you ſay;

From ſuch, Reproofs ſhall always welcome prove,

As being th’ Effects of Piety and Love.

But thoſe from me can challenge no Reſpect,

Who on us all without juſt Cauſe reflect:

Who without Mercy all the Sex decry,

And into open Defamations fly:

Who think us Creatures for Deriſion made,

And the Creator with his Work upbraid:

What he call’d Good, they proudly think not ſo,

And with their Malice, their Prophaneneſs ſhow;

’Tis hard we ſhould be by the Men deſpis’d,

Yet kept from knowing what wou’d make us priz’d:

Debarr’d from Knowledge, baniſh’d from the Schools,

And with the utmoſt Induſtry bred Fools.

Laugh’d out of Reaſon, jeſted out of Senſe,

And nothing left but Native Innocence:

Then told we are incapable of Wit,

And only for the meaneſt Drudgeries fit:

Made 15 E2r ( 15 )

Made Slaves to ſerve their Luxury and Pride,

And with innumerable Hardſhips try’d,

Till Pitying Heav’n releaſe us from our Pain,

Kind Heav’n to whom alone we dare complain.

Th’ ill-natur’d World will no Compaſsion ſhow;

Such as are wretched, it wou’d ſtill have ſo:

It gratifies its Envy and its Spight;

The moſt in others Miſeries take Delight.

While we are preſent they ſome Pity ſpare,

And Feaſt us on a thin Repaſt of Air:

Look Grave and Sigh, when we our Wrongs relate,

And in a Complement accuſe our Fate:

Blame thoſe to whom we our Misfortunes owe,

And all the Signs of real Friendſhip ſhow;

But when we’re abſent, we their Sport are made,

They fan the Flame, and our Oppreſſors aid;

Joyn with the Stronger, the victorious Side,

And al l our Suff’rings, all our Griefs deride.

Thoſe generous Few, whom kinder Thoughts inſpire,

And who the Happineſs of all deſire;

Who wiſh we were from barbarous Uſage free,

Exempt from Toils, and ſhameful Slavery,

Yet let us unreprov’d, miſpend our Hours,

And to mean Purpoſes imploy our nobler Pow’rs.

They think if we our Thoughts can but expreſs,

And know but how to Work, to Dance and Dreſs,

It is enough, as much as we ſhould mind,

As if we were for nothing elſe deſign’d,

But made, like Puppets, to divert Mankind.

O that my Sex would all ſuch Toys deſpiſe;

And only Study to be Good, and Wiſe:

Inſpect themſelves, and every Blemiſh find,

Search all the cloſe Receſses of the Mind,

And leave no Vice, no Ruling Paſſion there,

Nothing to raiſe a Bluſh, or cauſe a Fear:

Their Memories with ſolid Notions fill,

And let their Reaſon dictate to their Will.

Inſtead of Novels, Hiſtories peruſe,

And for their Guides the wiſer Ancients chuſe,

Thro’ 16 E2v ( 16 )

Thro’ all the Labyrinths of Learning go,

And grow more humble, as they more do know.

By doing this, they will Reſpect procure,

Silence the Men, and laſting Fame ſecure;

And to themſelves the beſt Companions prove,

And neither fear their Malice, nor deſire their Love.

Sir Wil.

Had you the Learning you ſo much deſire,

You, ſure, wou’d nothing, but your ſelves admire:

All our Addreſſes wou’d be then in vain,

And we no longer in your Hearts ſhou’d Reign:

Sighs wou’d be loſt, and Ogles caſt away,

You’d laugh at all we do, and all we ſay.

No Courtſhip then durſt by the Beaux be made

To any thing above a Chamber Maid.

Gay Cloaths,, and Periwigs wou’d uſeleſs prove;

None but the Men of Senſe wou’d dare to love:

With ſuch, Heav’n knows, this Iſle does not abound,

For one wife Man, Ten thouſand Fools are found;

Who all muſt at an awful diſtance wait,

And vainly curſe the rigour of their Fate.

Then blame us not if we our Intereſt Mind,

And would have Knowledge to our ſelves confind,

Since that alone Pre-eminence does give,

And rob’d of it we ſhould unvalu’d live.

While You are ignorant, We are ſecure,

A little Pain will your Eſteem procure.

Nonſenſe well cloath’d will paſs for ſolid Senſe,

And well pronounc’d, for matchleſs Eloquence:

Boldneſs for Learning, and a foreign Air

For niceſt Breeding with th’ admiring Fair.

Sir John.

By Heav’n I wiſh ’twere by the Laws decreed

They never more ſhould be allow’d to Read.

Books are the Bane of States, the Plagues of Life,

But both conjoyn’d, when ſtudied by a Wife:

They nouriſh Factions, and increaſe Debate,

Teach needleſs things, and cauſeleſs Fears create.

From Plays and Novels they learn how to Plot,

And from your Sermons all their Cant is got:

From thoſe they learn the damn’d intrieguing way

How to attract, and how their Snares to lay:

How 17 F1r ( 17 )

How to delude the Jealous Husband’s Care,

Silence his Doubts, and lull aſleep his Fear:

And when diſcover’d, by the Laſt they’re taught

With Shews of Zeal to palliate their Fault;

To look Demure, and talk in ſuch a Strain,

You’d ſwear they never would be ill again.

Parſ

You’re in the Right: Good things they miſapply;

Yet not in Books, but them, the Fault does lie:

Plays are of uſe to cultivate our Parts,

They teach us how to win our Hearers Hearts:

Soft moving Language for the Pulpit’s fit,

’Tis there we conſecrate the Poet’s Wit:

But Women were not for this Province made,

And ſhou’d not our Prerogative invade;

What e’er they know ſhou’d be from us convey’d:

We their Preceptors and their Guides ſhou’d prove,

And teach them what to hate, and what to Love.

But from our Sermons they no ill can learn,

They’re there inſtructed in their true Concern;

Told what they muſt, and what they muſt not be;

And ſhew’d the utmoſt Bounds of Liberty.

Sir Wil.

Madam, ſince we none of your Beauty ſhare,

You ſhou’d content your ſelves with being Fair:

That is a Bleſſing, much more Great, than all

That we can Wiſdom, or can Science call:

Such beauteous Faces, ſuch bewitching Eyes,

Who wou’d not more than muſty Authors prize?

Such wondrous Charms will much more Glory yield

Than all the Honours of the duſty Field:

Or all thoſe Ivy Wreaths that Wit can give,

And make you more admir’d, more reverenc’d live.

To you, the knowing World their Vows do pay,

And at your Feet their learned Trophies lay;

And your Commands with eager haſt obey.

By all my Hopes, by all that’s Good I ſwear,

I’d rather be ſome celebrated Fair,

Than wiſe as Solon, or than Crœſus Heir.

Or have my Memory well ſtuff’d with all

Thoſe Whimſeys, which they high-rais’d notions call.

Meliſſa

Beauty’s a Trifle merits not my Care.

I’d rather Æſop’s ugly Viſage wear,

Joyn’d with his Mind, than be a Fool, and Fair.

F Bright- 18 F1v ( 18 )

Brightneſs of Thought, and an extenſive View

Of all the Wonders Nature has to ſhew;

So clear, ſo ſtrong, and ſo inlarg’d a Sight

As can pierce thro’ the gloomy Shades of Night,

Trace the firſt Heroes to their dark Abodes,

And find the Origine of Men and Gods:

See Empires riſe, and Monarchies decay,

And all the Changes of the World ſurvey:

The ancient and the modern Fate of Kings,

From whence their Glory, or Misfortune ſprings;

Wou’d pleaſe me more, than if in one combind,

I’d all the Graces of the Female Kind.

But do not think ’tis an ambitious Heat,

To you I’ll leave the being Rich and Great:

Your’s be the Fame, the Profit, and the Praiſe;

We’ll neither Rob you of your Vines, nor Bays:

Nor will we to Dominion once aſpire;

You ſhall be Chief, and ſtill your ſelves admire.

The Tyrant Man may ſtill poſſeſs the Throne;

’Tis in our Minds that we wou’d Rule alone:

Thoſe unſeen Empires give us leave to ſway,

And to our Reaſon private Homage pay:

Our ſtruggling Paſſions within Bounds confine,

And to our Thoughts their proper Tasks aſſign;

This, is the Uſe we wou’d of Knowledge make,

You quickly wou’d the good Effects partake.

Our Converſations it wou’d ſoon refine,

And in our Words, and in our Actions ſhine:

And by a pow’rful Influence on our Lives,

Make us good Friends, good Neighbours, and good Wives.

Of this, ſome great Examples have been ſhown,

Women remarkable for Virtue known:

Jealous of Honour, and upright of Life,

Serene in Dangers, and averſe to Strife:

Patient when wrong’d, from Pride and Envy free,

Strangers to Falſehood and Calumny:

Of every noble Quality poſſeſt:

Well skill’d in Science, and with Wiſdom bleſt;

In Ancient Greece, where Merit ſtill was crown’d,

Some ſuch as theſe in her Records were found.

Rome 19 F2r ( 19 )

Rome her Lucretia, and her Porcia ſhow,

And we to her the fam’d Cornelia owe:

A Place with them does Great Zenobia claim;

With theſe I cou’d ſome modern Ladies Name,

Who help to fill the bulky Liſts of Fame:

Women renown’d for Knowledge, and for Senſe,

For ſparkling Wit, and charming Eloquence.

But they’re enough: at leaſt to make you own,

If we leſs Wiſe and Rational are grown,

’Tis owning to your Management alone.

If like th’ Ancients you wou’d generous prove,

And in our Education ſhew your Love;

Into our Souls wou’d noble Thoughts inſtill,

Our Infant-Minds with bright Ideas fill:

Teach us our Time in Learning to imploy,

And place in ſolid Knowledge all our Joy:

Perſwade us trifling Authors to refuſe,

And when we think, the uſeful’ſt Subjects chuſe:

Inform us how a proſperous State to bear,

And how to Act when Fortune is ſevere:

We ſhou’d be Wiſer, and more blameleſs live,

And leſs occaſion for your Cenſures give:

At leaſt in us leſs Failings you wou’d ſee,

And our Diſcourſes wou’d leſs tireſom be:

Tho’ Wit like yours we never hope to gain,

Yet from Impertinence we ſhould refrain,

And learn to be leſs Talkative and Vain.

Unto the ſtricteſt Rules we ſhould ſubmit,

And what we ought to do, think always fit.

Never diſpute, when Duty leads the way,

But its Commands without a Sigh Obey.

To Reaſon, not to Humour, give the Reins,

And be the ſame in Palaces and Chains.

But you our humble Suit will ſtill decline;

To have us wiſe was never your Deſign:

You’ll keep us Fools, that we may be your Jeſt;

They who know leaſt, are ever treated beſt;

If we do well, with Care it is conceal’d;

But every Errour, every Fault’s reveal’d:

While to each other you ſtill partial prove,

Can ſee no Failures, and even Vices love.

The 20 F2v ( 20 )

The bloody Maſters of the martial Trade,

Are prais’d for Miſchiefs, and for Murders pay’d.

The noiſy Lawyers, if they can but bawl,

Soon grace the Wool-ſacks, and adorn the Hall.

The envy’d Great, thoſe darling Sons of Fame,

Who carry a Majeſtic Terrour in their Name;

Who like the Demy Gods are plac’d on High,

And ſeem th’ exalted Natives of the Sky:

Who ſway’d by Pride, and by Self-love betray’d,

Are Slaves to their imperious Paſſions made,

Are with a Servile Awe by you rever’d;

Prais’d for their Follies, for their Vices fear’d.

The Courtier, who with every Wind can veer,

And midſt the Mounting Waves can ſafely ſteer;

Who all can flatter and with wond’rous grace,

Low cringing Bows, and a deſigning Face,

A ſmiling Look, and a diſsembl’d Hate,

Can hug a Friend, and haſten on his Fate,

Has your Applauſe; his Policy you praiſe;

And to the Skies his prudent Conduct raiſe;

The Scholar, if he can a Verb decline,

And has the Skill to reckon Nine times Nine,

Or but the Nature of a Fly define;

Can Mouth ſome Greek, and knows where Athens ſtood,

Tho’ he perhaps is neither Wiſe, nor Good,

Is fit for Oxford where when he has been,

Each Colledge view’d, and each grave Doctor ſeen,

He mounts a Pulpit, and th’ exalted Height

Makes Vapours dance before his troubl’d Sight,

And he no more can ſee, nor think aright.

Yet ſuch as theſe your Conſciences do Guide,

And or’e your Actions and your Words preſide;

Blame you for Faults which they themſelves commit,

Arraign your Judgment, and condemn your Wit:

Inſtil their Notions with the greateſt Eaſe,

And Hood-wink’d lead you where ſo e’er they pleaſe;

The formal Juſtice, and the jolly Knight,

Who in their Money place their chief delight;

Who watch the Kitchin, and ſurvey the Field,

To ſee what each will to their Luxury yield:

Who Eat and Run, then Quarrel, Rail and Drink,

But never are at leiſure once to Think:

Who 21 G1r ( 21 )

Who weary of Domeſtick Cares being grown,

And yet, like Children, frighted when alone,

(Deteſting Books) ſtill Hunt, or Hawk, or Play,

And in laborious Trifles waſt the Day,

Are lik’d by you, their Actions ſtill approv’d,

And if they’re Rich, are ſure to be belov’d.

Theſe are the Props, the Glory of the State,

And on their Nod depends the Nation’s Fate:

Theſe weave the Nets, where little Flies betray’d,

Are Victims to relentleſs Juſtice made,

While they themſelves contemn the Snares that they have laid;

As Bonds too weak ſuch mighty Men to hold

As ſcorn to be by any Laws controul’d.

Phyſicians with hard Words and haughty Looks,

And promis’d Health, bait their cloſe-cover’d Hooks:

Like Birds of Prey, while they your Gold can ſcent,

You are their Care, their utmoſt help is lent;

But when your Guineas ceaſe, you to the Spaw are ſent,

Yet ſtill you Court ’em, think you cannot die

If you’ve a Son of Æſculapius by.

The Tradeſmen you Careſs, altho’ you know

They wealthy by their Cheats and Flatteries grow;

You ſeem to credit every Word they ſay,

And as they ſell, with the ſame Conſcience pay:

Nay to the Mob, thoſe Dregs of Humane kind,

Thoſe Animals you ſlight, you’re wond’rous kind;

To them you Cring, and tho’ they are your Sport,

Yet ſtill you fawn, and ſtill their Favour Court.

Thus on each other daily you impoſe,

And all for Wit, and dextrous Cunning goes.

’Tis we alone hard Meaſure ſtill muſt find;

But ſpite of you, we’ll to our ſelves be kind:

Your Cenſures ſlight, your little Tricks deſpiſe,

And make it our whole Buſineſs to be wiſe;

The mean low trivial Cares of Life diſdain,

And Read and Think, and Think and Read again,

And on our Minds beſtow the utmoſt Pain.

Our Souls with ſtricteſt Morals we’ll adorn,

And all your little Arts of wheedling Scorn;

G Be 22 G1v ( 22 )

Be humble, mild, forgiving, juſt and true,

Sincere to all, reſpectful unto you,

While as becomes you, ſacred Truths you teach,

And live thoſe Sermons you to others Preach.

With want of Duty none ſhall us upbraid,

Where-e’er ’tis due, it ſhall be nicely pay’d.

Honour and Love we’ll to our Husbands give,

And ever Conſtant and Obedient live:

If they are Ill, we’ll try by gentle ways

To lay thoſe Tempeſts which their Paſsions raiſe;

But if our ſoft Submiſsions are in vain,

We’ll bear our Fate, and never once complain:

Unto our Friends the tendereſt kindneſs ſhow,

Be wholly theirs, no ſeparate Intereſt know:

With them their Dangers and their Suff’rings ſhare,

And make their Perſons, and their Fame our Care.

The Poor we’ll feed, to the Diſtreſs’d be kind,

And ſtrive to Comfort each afflicted Mind.

Viſit the Sick, and try their Pains to eaſe;

Not without Grief the meaneſt Wretch diſpleaſe:

And by a Goodneſs as diffus’d as Light,

To the purſuit of Vertue all invite.

Thus will we live, regardleſs of your hate,

Till re-admitted to our former State;

Where, free from the Confinement of our Clay

In glorious Bodies we ſhall bask in Day,

And with inlightened Minds new Scenes ſurvey;

Scenes, much more bright than any here below,

And we ſhall then the whole of Nature know;

See all her Springs, her ſecret Turnings view,

And be as knowing, and as wiſe as you.

With generous Spirits of a Make Divine,

In whoſe bleſt Minds Celeſtial Virtues ſhine,

Whoſe Reaſon, like their Station, is ſublime,

And who ſee clearly thro’ the Miſts of Time,

Thoſe puzling Glooms where buſy Mortals ſtray,

And ſtill grope on, but never find their way.

We 23 ( 23 )

We ſhall, well-pleas’d, eternally converſe,

And all the Sweets of Sacred Love poſseſs:

Love, freed from all the groſs Allays of Senſe,

So pure, ſo ſtrong, ſo conſtant, ſo intenſe,

That it ſhall all our Faculties imploy,

And leave no Room for any thing but Joy.

Finis.

Lately Printed,

Now in the Preſs,

All ſold by John Deeve at Bernard’s -Inn-Gate, Holborn.