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

[REV. TIPPING SILVESTER]

“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

NOTES:

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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