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In vain the gibbet or the pillory claim
Nor even insult the base in humbled state;
But I detain you with these tedious lays,
WIFE AND THE NURSE:
A NEW BALLAD.
VICE once with Virtue did engage,
So, for th' Alcides of our age,
As strange a fray begun.
His wife and ancient nurse between, Arose this wond'rous strife:
The froward Hag, his heart to win,
Contended with his wife.
His wife, an island-nymph most fair,
Bore plenty in her hand;
A crown adorns her regal hair,
With modest dignity she stood;
Fast down her lovely face
A stream of swelling sorrow flow'd,
The tatter'd nurse, of aspect grum,
With lofty airs inspir'd by-mum-
Mud was her dwelling, lean her plight,
Her life on heaths she led ;
With wreaths of turnip-tops bedight;
Yet thus the Caitiff, proud and poor, Our hero-judge address'd"Thy fondness all to me assure,
"To me, who loves thee best.
"I am thy aged nurse, so kind,
"Who ne'er did cross thy will;
Thy wife to all thy charms is blind, "Perverse and thwarting still.
"Give me her clothes," (continued she), "With thy assistance soon
"Her costly robe may shine on me,
"On her my rags be thrown.
"Seize on her store of boasted gold,
"Which she with jealous fear
"From thee still grudging would with-hold, "And trust it to my care."
This caught the judge's partial ear.
The lady of the isle
Spake next: "Thyself at least revere,
"And spurn this Caitiff vile.
"With thine my int'rest is the same, "For thee my sailors toil;
They for thy safety, pow'r, and fame,
"Enrich my spacious isle.
"Think too upon thy solemn vow, "When thou didst plight thy love, "Thou cam'st to save me; wilt thou now "Thy self my ruin prove?
"How was I courted, how ador'd!
"More happy as thy bride;
"For thee, my safeguard, love and lord,
"I slighted all beside.
"Do thou still act a guardian's part,
"Nor be thy love estrang'd;
"Treat me but kindly, and my heart
"Shall e'er remain unchang'd.