Perhapsyou’ll tell me, marriage boons we shun;
’Tis true, and Heav’n be praised enough is done,
Without those duties to require our share
You know from direful sin we guard the fair.
Ingratitude ’s declared the height of crimes,
And God pronounced it such in early times;
For this eternally was Satan curst;
Howe’er you err, be careful of the worst.
Return to Heav’n your thanks for bounteous care,
And then to us a tithe of surplus spare,
Which costs you nothing worth a moment’s thought;
And marks the zeal with which our faith is taught,
A claim legitimate our order opes,
Bestowed, for holy offices, by popes,
No charitable gift, but lawful right:
Priests well supported are a glorious sight.
Four times a year, exactly to a day,
Each wife this tithe should personally pay
Our holy saint requires that you submit:
’Tis founded on decrees of holy writ.
All Nature carefully the law reveres,
That gratitude and fealty endears.
Nowmarriage works we rank as an estate,
And tithe is due for that at any rate.
We’ll take it patiently, whate’er the toil:
Nor be o’er nice about the justful spoil.
Our order have not, you must surely know,
By many comforts, what we wish below.
’Tisright, however, that I now suggest,
Whatever passes must not be expressed;
But naught to husbands, parents, friends, reveal;
From ev’ry one the mysterious conceal.
Three words th’ apostle taught: be these your care;
faith, charity, and Prudence learn to share.
Theholy father, by his fine discourse,
Delivered with the most impressive force,
Gave wonderous satisfaction and surprise,
And passed with all for Solomon the wise;
Few slept while Andrew preached, and ev’ry wife,
His precepts guarded as she would her life;
And these not solely treasured in the mind,
But showed to practise them the heart inclined,
Each hastened tithe to bring without delay,
And quarrelled who should be the first to pay;
Loud murmurs rang, and many city dames,
Were forced to keep till morn the friar’s claims,
And holy church, not knowing what to do,
Such numbers seemed to be in paying cue,
At length was forced, without restraint, to say,
The Lord commands that, till a future day,
You give us time to breathe:—so large the lot,