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Good, is a fairer attribute then white,
'Tis the minds beauty keeps the other sweete;
That's not still one, nor mortall with the light,
Nor glasse, nor painting can it counterfeit ;
Nor doth it raise desires, which ever tend
At once, to their perfection and their end.
By good I would have holy understood,
So God she cannot love, but also me,
The law requires our words and deeds be good,
Religion even the thoughts doth sanctifie :
As she is more a maid that ravisht is,
Then she which only doth but wish amisse.
Lust onely by religion is withstood,
Lusts object is alive, his strength within ;
Morality resists but in cold blood;
Respect of credit feareth shame, not sin.
But no place darke enough for such offence
She findes, that's watch't, by her own conscience.
Then may I trust her body with her mind,
And, thereupon secure, need never know
The pangs of jealousie : and love doth find
More paine to doubt her false, then know her so:
For patience is, of evils that are knowne,
The certaine remedie ; but doubt hath none.
And be that thought once stirr'd, 't will never die :
Nor will the griefe more mild by custome prove,
Nor yet amenulment can it satisfie,
The anguish more or lesse, is as our love ;
This misery doth jealousie ensue,
That we may prove her false, but cannot true.
Suspicious may the will of lust restraine,
But good prevents from having such a will ;
A wife that's good, doth chaste and more containe,
For chaste is but an abstinence from ill:
And in a wife that's bail, although the best
Of qualities; yet in a good the least.
To barre the meanes is care, not jealousie :
Some lawfull things to be avoyded are,
When they occasion of unlawfull be:
Lust ere it hurts, is best descry'd afarre :
Lust is a sinne of two; he that is sure
Of either part, may be of both secure.
Give me next good, an understanding wife,
By nature wise, not learned by much art,
Sorne knowledge on her side, will all my life
More scope of conversation impart:
Besides, her in borne vertue fortifie.
They are most firmly good, that best know why.
A passive understanding to conceive,
And judgement to discernc, I wish to finde :
Beyond that, all as hazardous I leave;
Learning and pregnant wit in woman-kinde,
What it findes malleable, makes fraile,
And doth not adde more ballast, but more saile.
Domesticke charge doth best that sex befit,
Contiguous businesse; so to fixe the mind,
That leisure space for fancies not admit:
Their leysure 'tis corrupteth woman-kind :
Else, being plac'd from many vices free,
They had to heav'n a shorter cut then we.
Bookes are a part of mans prerogative,
In formall inke they thoughts and voyces hold,
That we to them our solitude may give,
And make time-present travell that of old.
Our life, fame peeceth longer at the end,
And bookes it farther backward doe extend.
·As good, and knowing, let her be discreete,
That, to the others weight, doth fashion bring;
Discretion doth consider what is fit,
Goodnesse but what is lawfull; but the thing,
Not circumstances ; learning is and wit,
In men, but curious folly without it.
To keepe their name, when 'tis in others hands,
Discretion askes; their credit is by farre
More fraile than they: on likelihoods it stands,
And hard to be disprov'd, lusts slanders are.
Their carriage, not their chastity alone,
Must keepe their name chaste from suspition.
Womans behaviour is a surer barre
Then is their no: that fairely doth deny
Without denying; thereby kept they are
Safe ev'n from hope ; in part to blame is she,
Which hath without consent bin only tride;
He comes too neere, that comes to be denide.
Now since a woman we to marry are,
A soule and body, not a soule alone,
When one is good, then be the other faire ;
Beauty is health and beauty, both in one;
Be she go faire, as change can yeeld no gaine;
So faire, as she most woman else containe.
So faire at least let me imagine her;
That thought to me, is truth : opinion
Cannot in matter of opinion erre;
With no eyes shall I see her but mine owne.
And as my fancy her conceives to be,
Even such my senses both, doe feele and sec.
The face we may the seat of beauty call,
In it the relish of the rest doth lye,
Nay, ev'n a figure of the mind withall :
And of the face, the life moves in the eye ;
No things else, being two, so like we see,
So like, that they, two but in number, be.
Beauty in decent shape, and colours lies.
Colours the matter are, and shape the soule ;
The soule, which from no single part doth rise,
But froin the just proportion of the whole.
And is a meere spirituall harmony,
Of every part united in the eye.
Love is a kind of superstition,
Which feares the idoll which it self hath fram'd :
Lust a desire, which rather from his owne
l'emper, then from the object is inflaın'd:
Beauty is loves object ; woman lust's to gaine
Love, love desires ; lust onely to obtaine.
No circumstance doth beauty beautifie,
Like gracefull fashion, native comelinesse.
Nay ev'n gets pardon for deformity;
Art cannot ought beget, but may increase;
When nature had fixt beauty, perfect made,
Something she left for motion to adde.