AS o'er their wine one day, three gossips sat,
Discoursing various pranks in pleasant chat,
Each had a loving friend, and two of these
Most clearly managed matters at their ease.

SAID one, a princely husband I have got.
A better in the world there's surely not;
With him I can adjust as humour fits,
No need to rise at early dawn, like cits,
To prove to him that two and three make four,
Or ask his leave to ope or shut the door.

UPON my word, replied another fair,
If he were mine, I openly declare,
To judge from what so pleasantly you say,
I'd make a present of him new-year's day.
For pleasure never gives me full delight,
Unless a little pain the bliss invite.
No doubt your husband moves as he is led;
Thank heav'n a different mortal claims my bed;
To take him in, great nicety we need;
But howsoe'er, at times I can succeed;
The satisfaction doubly then is felt:--
In fond emotion bosoms freely melt.
With neither of you, husband or gallant,
Would I exchange, though these so much you vaunt.

ON this, the third with candour interfer'd;
She thought that oft the god of love appear'd,
Good husbands playfully to fret and vex,
Sometimes to rally couples: then perplex;
But warmer as the conversation grew,
She, anxious that each disputant might view
Herself victorious, (or believe it so,)
Exclaim'd, if either of you wish to show
Who's in the right, with argument have done,
And let us practise some new scheme of fun,
To dupe our husbands; she who don't succeed
Shall pay a forfeit; all replied, "Agreed."
But then, continued she, we ought to take
An oath, that we will full discov'ry make,
To one another of the various facts,
Without disguising even trifling acts.
And then, good upright Macae shall decide;
Thus things arrang'd, the ladies homeward plied.

SHE, 'mong the three, who felt the most constraint
Ador'd a youth, contemporaries paint,
Well made and handsome, but with beardless chin,
Which led the pair a project to begin;
For yet no opportunity they'd found,
T' enjoy their wishes, save by stealth around;
Most ardently she sought to be at ease,
And 'twas agreed the lucky thought to seize
That like a chambermaid he should be dress'd,
And then proceed to execute the jest,
Attend upon the wily, wedded pair,
And offer services with modest air
And downcast eyes; the husband on her leer'd,
And in her favour prepossess'd appear'd,
In hopes one day, to find those pleasing charms
Resign'd in secret to his longing arms.
Such pretty cheeks and sparkling eyes he thought,
Had ne'er till then his roving fancy caught;
The girl was hir'd, but seemingly with pain,
Since PRUDENCE ultimately might complain,
That (maid and master both so very young)
'Twould not be wonderful if things went wrong.

AT first the husband inattention show'd,
And scarcely on the maid a look bestow'd;
But presently he chang'd his conduct quite,
And presents gave, with promises not slight;
At length the servant feign'd to lend an ear,
And anxious seem'd obliging to appear.

THE trap our cunning lovers having laid,
One eve this message brought the smiling maid;
My lady, sir, is ill, and rest requires,
To sleep alone to-night she much desires.
To grant the master's wish the girl was led,
And they together hurried off to bed.

THE husband 'tween the sheets himself had plac'd;
The nymph was in her petticoat, unlac'd;
When suddenly appear'd the wily wife,
And promis'd harmony was turn'd to strife.
Are these your freaks, cried she with mark'd surprise;
Your usual dish it seems then don't suffice;
You want, indeed, to have some nicer fare?
A little sooner, by the saints I swear,
You'd me a pretty trick, 'tis clear, have shown,
And doubtless, then, tit bits to keep been prone.
This, howsoe'er, to get you're not design'd,
So elsewhere you may try what you can find.
And as to you, miss Prettyface, you jade,
Good heav'ns! to think a paltry servant maid
Should rival me? I'll beat you black and blue!
The bread I eat, indeed, must be for you?
But I know better, and indeed am clear,
Not one around will fancy I appear
So void of charms, so faded, wither'd, lost,
That I should out of doors at once be tost;
But I will manage matters:--I design
This girl no other bed shall have than mine;
Then who so bold to touch her there will dare?
Come, Miss, let's to my room at once repair;
Away--your things to-morrow you can seek;
If scandal 'twould spread around, I'd wreak
My vengeance instantly, and turn you out;
But I am lenient, and desire no rout;
Perhaps your ruin may be sav'd by care;
So night and day your company I'll share;
No more my bosom then will feel dismay,
For I shall see that you no frolicks play.

ON this the trembling girl, o'ercome with fears;
Held down her head and seem'd to hide her tears;
Pick'd up her clothes and quickly stole away,
As if afraid her mistress more might say;
And hop'd to act the maid while Sol gave light,
But play at ease the fond gallant at night;
At once she fill'd two places in the house,
And thought in both the husband she should chouse,
Who bless'd his stars that he'd escap'd so well,
And sneak'd alone to rest within his cell,
While our gay, am'rous pair advantage took,
To play at will, and ev'ry solace hook,
Convinc'd most thoroughly, once lovers kiss'd,
That OPPORTUNITY should n'er be miss'd.
Here ends the trick our wily gossip play'd;
But now let's see the plot another laid.

THE second dame, whose husband was so meek,
That only from her lips the truth he'd seek,
When seated with him 'neath a pear tree's shade,
Contriv'd at ease and her arrangement made.
The story I shall presently relate;
The butler, strong, well dress'd, and full of prate:
Who often made the other servants trot,
Stood near when madam hit upon her plot,
To whom she said, I wish the fruit to taste;
On which the man prepar'd with ev'ry haste,
To climb the tree, and off the produce shook;
But while above, the fellow gave a look
Upon the ground below, and feign'd he saw
The spouse and wife--do more than kiss and paw:
The servant rubb'd his eyes, as if in doubt,
And cried: why truly, sir, if you're so stout,
That you must revel 'mid your lady's charms,
Pray elsewhere take her to your longing arms,
Where you at ease may frolick hours or days,
Without my witnessing your loving ways;
Indeed, I'm quite surprised at what I spy
In publick, 'neath a tree such pranks to try!
And, if you don't a servant's presence heed,
With decency howe'er you should proceed.
What, still go on? for shame, I say, for shame!
Pray wait till by and by; you're much to blame;
Besides, the nights are long enough you'll find;
Heav'n genial joys for privacy design'd;
And why this place, when you've nice chambers got?
What, cried the lady, says this noisy sot?
He surely dreams; Where can he learn these tales?
Come down; let's see what 'tis the fellow ails.
Down William came. How? said the master, how?
Are we at play?


Not now, sir, no, not now.


Why, when then, friend?


While I was in the tree,
Alive, sir, flay me, if I did not see
You on the verdant lawn my lady lay,
And kiss, and toy, and other frolicks play.


'Twere surely better if thou held'st thy tongue,
Or thou'lt a beating get before 'tis long.


No, no, my dear, he's mad, and I design
The fellow in a madhouse to confine.

Is't folly, pray, to see what we behold?


What hast thou seen?


What I've already told:--
My master and yourself at Cupid's game,
Or else the tree 's enchanted I proclaim.


ENCHANTED! nonsense; such a sight to see!


To know the truth myself, I'll climb the tree,
Then you the fact will quickly from me learn;
We may believe what we ourselves discern.

SOON as the master they above descried,
And that below our pair he sharply eyed,
The butler took the lady in his arms,
And grew at once familiar with her charms;
At sight of this the husband gave a yell:
Made haste to reach the ground, and nearly fell;
Such liberties he wish'd at once to