WHEN Francis (named the first) o'er Frenchmen reign'd, In Italy young Arthur laurels gained, And oft such daring valour showed in fight, With ev'ry honour he was made a knight; The monarch placed the spur upon his heel, That all around his proper worth might feel. Then household deities at home he sought, Where--not at prayers his beauteous dame he caught: He'd left her, truly, quite dissolv'd in tears; But now the belle had bid adieu to fears; And oft was dancing joyously around, With all the company that could be found.
GALLANTS in crowds Sir Arthur soon perceived; At sight of these the knight was sorely grieved; And, turning in his mind how best to act; Cried he, Can this be truly held a fact, That I've been worthy while I'd fame in view, Of cuckoldom at home, and knighthood too? It ought to be but half:--the truth let's know; From constancy the purest blessings flow. Then like a father-confessor he dressed, And took his seat where priests their flock confessed. His lady absolution sought that day, And on her knees before him 'gan to pray; The minor sins were told with downcast eyes, And then for hearing those of larger size, The husband-confessor prepared his ears:-- Said she, Good father, ('mid a flood of tears), My bed receives, (the fault I fear's not slight,) A gentleman, a parson, and a knight. Still more had followed, but, by rage o'ercome, Sir Arthur cut the thread, and she was mum; Though, doubtless, had the fair been let proceed, Quite long her Litany had been decreed.
THe husband, in a rage, exclaimed, thou jade, A parson, say'st thou? t'whom dost think thou'st made This curst confession?--To my spouse, cried she, I saw you enter here, and came with glee, Supposing you'd a trick to raise surprise; Howe'er 'tis strange that one so very wise, The riddle should not fully comprehend:-- A KNIGHT, the king created you, my friend; A GENTLEMAN, your rank was long ago; A PARSON, you have made yourself you know. Good heav'ns! exclaimed the knight, 'tis very clear, And I a blockhead surely must appear