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If e'er I take a wife, I will have one,
If modest in her words and clothes she be,
AS the consolation of children well begotten is great, no less, but rather greater, ought to be that which is occasion of children, that is, honourable matrimony; a love by all laws allowed, not mutable nor encumbered with such vain cares and passions as that other love, whereof there is no assurance. A match, forsooth, made for ever, and not for a day; a solace provided for youth, a comfort for age, a knot of alliance and amity indissoluble.
WIVES are young men's mistresses, companions for middle age, and old men's nurses: so as a man may have a quarrel to marry when he will: but yet, he was reputed one of the wise men, that made answer to the question, when a man should marry?“ A young man not yet, an elder 66 man not at all.”
Of all the actions of a man's life, his marriage does least concern other people; yet of all actions of our life, 'tis most meddled with by other people.
MARRIAGE is nothing but a civil contract; 'tis true 'tis an ordinance of God, so is every other contract; God commands me to keep it when I have made it.
MARRIAGE is a desperate thing: the frogs in Esop were extreme wise; they had a great mind to some water, but they would not leap into the well, because they could not get out again.
WE single out particulars, and apply God's providence to them; thus, when two have married and have undone one another, they say it was
God's providence we should come together, when God's providence does equally concern in every thing.
THE greatest care ought to be had in the choice of a wife, and the only danger therein is beauty; by which all men, in all ages, wise and foolish, have been betrayed. And though I know it vain to use reasons or arguments to dissuade thee from being captivated therewith, there being few or none, that ever resisted that witchery, yet I cannot omit to warn thee, as of other things, which may be thy ruin and destruction. For the present time, it is true, that every man prefers his fantasy in that appetite before all other worldly desires, leaving the care of honour, credit, and safety, in respect thereof. But remember, that though these affections do not last, yet the bond of marriage dureth to the end of thy life.
Remember, secondly, that if thou marry for beauty, thou bindest thyself all thy life for that which perchance will neither last nor please thee one year, and when thou hast it, it will be to thee of no price at all; for the degree dieth when it is attained, and the affection perisheth when it is satisfied.
SIR WALTER RALEGH.
IF it be late ere thou take a wife, thou shalt spend the prime and summer of thy life with
harlots, destroy thy health, impoverish thy estate, and endanger thy life; and be sure of this, that how many mistresses soever thou hast, so many enemies thou shalt purchase to thyself; for there never was any such affection that ended not in hatred or disdain. Remember the saying of Solomon: "There is a way which seemeth
right to a man, but the issues thereof are the wages of death;" for, howsoever lewd woman please thee for a time, thou wilt hate her in the end, and she will study to destroy thee. If thou canst not abstain from them in thy vain and unbridled times, yet remember that thou sowest on the sands, and dost mingle the vital blood with corruption, and purchasest diseases, repentance, and hatred only. Bestow, therefore, thy youth, so that thou mayest have comfort to remember it, when it hath forsaken thee, and not sigh and grieve at the account thereof. Whilst thou art young, thou wilt think it will never have an end, but, behold, the longest day hath his evening, and that thou shalt enjoy it but once, that it never turns again; use it therefore, as the spring-time, which soon departeth, and wherein thou oughtest to plant and sow all provisions for a long and happy life.
SIR WALTER RALEGH.
LET thy time of marriage be in thy young and strong years; for, believe it, the young wife ever hetrayeth the old husband, and she that had thee
not in thy flower, will despise thee in thy fall, and thou shalt be unto her but a captivity and
SIR WALTER RALEGH.
THY best time will be towards thirty; for as the younger years are unfit either to choose or to govern a wife and family, so, if thou stay long, thou shalt hardly see the education of thy children, which, being left to strangers, are in effect lost and better were it to be unborn than ill-bred,
for, thereby thy poserity shall either perish, or remain a shame to thy name and family.
ABOVE all the rest, have a care thou dost not marry an uncomely woman for any respect for comeliness in children is riches, if nothing else be left them. And, if thou have a care for thy race of horses, and other beasts, value the shape and comeliness of thy children before alliances or riches:* have a care therefore of both together, for if thou have a fair wife and a poor one, if thine own estate be not great, assure thyself
Sir Walter seems to have been of the same way of think ing with his royal mistress, who used to say, that" a good "face was a letter of recommendation," and who (as we are informed by Naunton) in regard to those she employed in state affairs, "always took personage in the way of her "election, excepting some of her kindred, and some few that "had handsome wits in crooked bodies."
Fragmenta Regalia, 4to. 1642.