Rev. Tipping Silvester, “Venus’s Girdle; or Advice to a Wife”


“Venus’s Girdle; or Advice to a Wife”


–LET nothing your unsully’d beauties cloud;
Be always chearful, but be never loud.
Ev’n Juno’s self set deities at odds,
And oft made uproars in the blest abodes:
For, if we may believe what poets sung,                                      5
Imperial Jove was pester’d with a tongue.
Where pets prevail, sweet concord’s broken soon;
The string, which jars, is always out of tune.
LET no distrusts your settled peace disturb;
Which irritate the mind, but seldom cure:                                  10
So the cold humour, which on lime we pour,
Inflames those parts, which quiet were before
Reproaches seldom cure our loose desires,
But leave a stink, and raise domestick fires.
MAY no surmises lie conceal’d below;                                    15
A rankling breast create a sullen brow:
The sulphur rages most in caverns pent,
And shocks that earth, which cannot give it vent.
JUST wit to furnish the politer Joke;
A spirit, just enough not to provoke:                                              20
Genteel demeanour, and superior sense,
And ease at just remove from indolence:
Oeconomy, which nought superfluous spends;
And is least frugal, when we have our friends:
These be your aim: the something further still,                             25
Which hits the good mens humours, when they’re ill;
There goes to feed a hymeneal flame,
Th’ engaging somewhat, which still wants a name:
The wiser wife alone this Secret knows;
This is the girdle beauty’s queen bestows.                                      30


Title  This is an extract from Silvester’s poem of the same title which first appeared in his volume, Original Poems and Translations (London, 1733), pp. 55-56.

3  Juno  Roman goddess and “female counterpart to Jupiter; [she] was connected with all aspects of the life of women, most particularly married life” (Britannica).

6  Jove  Poetic form of Jupiter, the Roman name for Zeus.

11  cold humour  Likely a reference to phlegm, one of the four humours associated with cold and moisture; lime  “The alkaline earth which is the chief constituent of mortar…it is powerfully caustic and combines readily with water, evolving great heat in the process” (OED).

21  Genteel  “Courteaous, polite; obliging” (OED).

23 Oeconomy  Archaic spelling of “economy.”

27 hymeneal  “Pertaining to marriage” (OED).

SOURCE: The Gentleman’s Magazine, (February 1734), p. 99.  [Google Books]

Edited by Liv Wisely

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