previous next

Elegy IV: To a man that locked up his wife. By Sir Charles Sedley

Vex not thyself and her, vain man, since all
By their own vice or virtue stand or fall.
She's truly chaste, and worthy of that name,
Who hates the ill, as well as fears the shame;
And that vile woman whom restraint keeps in,
Tho' she forbear the act, has done the sin.
Spies, locks, and bolts may keep her brutal part,
But thou'rt an odious cuckold in her heart.
They that have freedom use it least, and so
The power of ill does the design overthrow.
Provoke not vice by a too harsh restraint;
Sick men long most to drink, who know they mayn't.
The fiery courser, whom no art can stay,
Or rugged force, does oft fair means obey;
And he that did the rudest arm disdain,
Submits with quiet to the looser rein.
A hundred eyes had Argus, yet the while
One silly maid did all those eyes beguile;
Danae, tho' shut within a brazen tow'r,
Felt the male virtue of the golden show'r;
But chaste Penelope, left to her own will
And free disposal, never thought of ill;
She to her absent lord preserv'd her truth,
For all th' addresses of the smoother youth,
What's rarely seen, our fancy magnifies;
Permitted pleasure who does not despise ?
Thy care provokes beyond her face, and more
Men strive to make tho cuckold than the whore.
They're wondrous charms we think, and long to know
That in a wife enchants a husband so:
Rage, swear, and curse, no matter, she alone
Pleases, who sighs, and cries, " I am undone."
But could thy spies say, " We have kept her chaste,"
Good servants then, but an ill wife thou hast;
Who fears to be a cuckold is a clown,
Not worthy to partake of this lewd town,
Where it is monstrous to be fair and chaste,
And not one inch of either sex lies waste.
Wouldst thou be happy ? with her ways comply,
And in her case lay points of honour by:
The friendship she begins, wisely improve,
And a fair wife gets one a world of love:
So shalt thou welcome be to ev'ry treat,
Live high, not pay, and never run in debt.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (R. Ehwald, 1907)
load focus English (Christopher Marlowe)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Argus (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (1 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • John Conington, Commentary on Vergil's Aeneid, Volume 1, 4.98
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: