1633
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A Wife not made but bespoken: The Second Eglogue.

A Wife not made but bespoken.

Robert Aylett


The second eclogue reverses positions: Tityrus warns the happily-married Dicus that the honeymoon will soon be over.

Thomas Park: "This is a poetical pleading for and against marriage, in which the opposite advocates display equal ingenuity. The tract has a dedication in verse by R. A. 'to his honoured good friend Sir Robert Stapleton,' the translator of Juvenal and Musaeus. R. A. is Robert Aylet, LLD. who wrote several pieces of a graver cast on scriptural subjects, which were collected into a thick octavo volume, of unfrequent occurrence" Censura Literaria 5 (1807) 373.



DICUS, TITYRUS.

DICUS.
Now Tityrus, I try and finde
A Wife agreeing to my minde;
My joys reflected doubled are,
She shareth half my Grief and Care,
In what she joys, I joy no lesse,
Thus double we our happinesse.
In all things we communicate,
And come I early home, or late,
She alwaies ready hath to fit
Me with some sweet warm dainty bit.
I finde it now the only life,
To be thus wedded to a Wife.
Lo, I do get, and she doth spare,
Abroad I, she at home takes Care,
A married life's a Hav'n of blisse,
Which who wants, half himself doth misse;
My veins now fresher bloud do breed,
I with a better stomack feed.

TITYRUS.
It is a Rule observ'd of all,
Take off the Common to the Stall
A Beast, and he will better thrive,
As Bees best gather in a hive.
Good Dicus, boast not yet too soon,
It is with thee but Honey-Moon:
When I to School went, then a childe,
My Master first was gentle, milde,
Yet after he would soundly pay
Me four or five times in a day:
We men like fools are pleas'd with change,
And at the first new Wives are strange;
Fierce Mastifs that at home will fight,
Abroad will neither bark nor bite;
Weak Cocks away the stronger chase,
Till they be wonted to the place.
Thou never shalt her Nature know,
Till she with thee familiar grow.
Then maist thou finde true old complaints,
Some wives look like, that prove no Saints.
Before the Sun comes round about,
Thy certainty may turn to doubt,
And Hymen now so frolick grown,
In other Posture may be shown.

DICUS.
For mine own part I do not fear,
My Wife will hold out all the year:
For certain she is straight and right,
The same at morning, noon and night.

TITYRUS.
I wish she prove to thy desire,
That all our Wives may her admire,
For sure most Wives are like the Moon,
That alters Morning, Night, and Noon,
She never doth from changing cease,
But is in Wanes, or in Encrease;
Yet let it not to thee seem strange,
Thou feel'st not sensibly her change:
Thou seest not shadows how they move,
Till Motion plain it self doth prove:
Observe her well, thy wife will clear
This Paradox within the year.

DICUS.
Thou find'st such faults in married life,
I wonder why thou took'st a Wife.

TITYRUS.
Sure ev'n as thine, it was my Fate,
And now Repentance comes too late,
Some manage can the curstest Dog,
The Ape makes merry with his clog,
The Haggard proves best once reclaim'd,
And mettal'd Horses rightly tam'd.
I freely for my part protest,
Of all I know mine likes me best,
And I should take it for a curse,
To make a change, and have a worse.
And truly, not to be her debtor,
Not one of twenty hath a better:
Yet for her sake I cannot strain,
To say 'tis fair when it doth rain;
Before I Amo can decline,
All Well breaks up, the Sun doth shine.
Fate ne'r good haps by handfuls brings,
From out the bad we pick good things.

DICUS.
Oh now thou cogg'st for fear or favour,
We'l binde thee to thy good behaviour:
It much doth go against my minde,
To hear least ill of woman-kinde:
Delights of youth, for Middle-age
Companions, Nurses for the Sage!
So necessary are all good Wives,
Not one amongst a hundred thrives
Without them; They preserve at home
Whatsoever from abroad doth come.

TITYRUS.
Some call them tackled Ships and Barges,
Some as they count them Bills of Charges;
Some the Armies-Baggage, Stuffe and Tents,
Most usefull, yet Impediments;
And they that on their tongues dare jest,
With Aesope call them worst and best.
In fine, all scruples to remove,
The Best and Worst are as they prove.

DICUS.
Mine proves already passing well.

TITYRUS.
You me another Tale may tell
Some twelvemonth hence, God give you joy,
And ere that send a goodly Boy.

DICUS.
Which being wean'd, the Summer after,
God send me like my Wife a Daughter.

[(1653) 5-8]