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Advanc'd on for the widow's house,
T acquit himself, and pay his vows ;
When various thoughts began to bustle,
And with his inward man to justle.
He thought what danger might accrue,
If the should find he swore untrue ;
Or if his fquire or he should fail,
And not be punctual in their tale,
It might at once the ruin prove
Both of his honour, faith, and love :
But if he should forbear to go,
She might conclude he ’ad broke his vow;
And that he durst not now, for shame,
Appear in court to try his claim.
This was the penn'worth of his thought,
To pass time, and uneasy trot.

Quoth he, in all my past adventures
I ne'er was set fo on the tenters,

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Or taken tardy with dilemma,
That, ev'ry way I turn, does hem me,
And with inextricable doubt,
Besets my puzzled wits about :
For though the dame has been my bail,
To free me from enchanted jail,
Yet, as a dog committed close
For some offence, by chance breaks loose,
And quits his clog; but all in vain,
He still draws after him his chain :
So tho' my ancle she has quitted,
My heart continues still committed;
And like a baild and mainpriz'd lover,
Altho' at large, I am bound over :
And when I shall

appear

in court
To plead my cause, and answer for ’t,
Unless the judge do partial prove,
What will become of me and love?

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For if in our accounts we váry,
Or but in circumstance miscarry;
Or if she put me to strict proof,
And make me pull my doublet off,
To fhew, by evident record,
Writ on my skin, I've kept my word,
How can I e'er expect to have her,
Having demurr'd unto her favour?
But faith, and love, and honour lost,
Shall be reduc'd t'a knight o'th' post:
Beside, that stripping may prevent
What I'm to prove by argument,
And justify I have a tail,
And that way, too, my proof may fail.
Oh! that I could enucleate,
And solve the problems of my fate;
Or find, by necromantic art,
How far the dest’nies take my part;

go

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For if I were not more than certain
To win and wear her, and her fortune,
I'd go no farther in this courtship,
To hazard soul, estate, and worship:
For tho' an oath obliges not,
Where any thing is to be got,
As thou hast prov'd, yet ’tis profane,
And sinful, when men swear in vain.

Quoth Ralph, not far from hence doth dwell
A cunning man, hight Sidrophel,
That deals in destiny's dark counsels,
And sage opinions of the moon sells,
To whom all people far and near,
On deep importances repair :
When brass and pewter hap to stray,
And linen slinks out of the way ;
When geese and pullen are seduc'd,
And fows of fucking pigs are chous’d;

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When cattle feel indisposition,
And need the opinion of physician ;
When murrain reigns in hogs or sheep,
And chickens languish of the pip;
When yest and outward means do fail,
And have no pow'r to work on ale;
When butter does refuse to come,
And love proves cross and humoursome;
To him with questions, and with urine,
They for discov'ry flock, or curing.

Quoth Hudibras, this Sidrophel
I've heard of, and shou'd like it well,
If thou canst prove the saints have freedom
To go to forc'rers when they need 'em.

Says Ralpho there's no doubt of that ;
Those principles I've quoted late,
Prove that the godly may allege
For any thing their privilege,

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