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And all due Ceremonies paid,
He stroak'd his Beard, and thus he faid.
Madam, I do, as is my Duty,
Honour the Shadow of your Shoe-tye :
And now am come, to bring your Ear
A Present you'll be glad to hear;
At least I hope fo. The thing's done,
I never see the Sun; For which I humbly now demand Performance at your gentle Hand : And that yould please to do your part, As I have done mine, to my smart.
With that he shrugg'd his sturdy Back, As if he felt his Shoulders ake. But she, who well enough knew what (Before he spoke) he would be at, Pretended not to apprehend The Mystery of what he meand: And therefore wish'd him to expound His dark Expressions less profound.
Madam, quoth he, Icome to prove, How much I've suffer'd for your Love,
Which (like your Votary) to win,
I have not spar'd my tatter'd Skin:
And, for those meritorious Lashes,
To claim your Favour and good Graces.
Quoth fbe, I do remember once
I freed you from th' inchanted Sconce.
And that you promis’d, for that ħavour,
Back to'ts gogd Behaviour,
And for my Sake and Service vow'd
To lay upon't a heavy Load,
And what 'twould bear t'a Scruple prove,
As other Knights do oft make Love.
Which, whether you have done or know,
Concerns your self, not me, to know.
But if you have, I shall confess,
You're honester than I could guess.
Quoth he, If you suspeet my Troth,
I cannot prove it but by Oath;
And if you make a question on't,
I'll pawn my Soul, that I have don't ;
And he that makes his Soul his Surety,
I think does give the best Secur'ty.
Quoth she, Some say, the Souls fecure
Against Distress and Forfeiture ;
Is free from Action, and exempt
From Execution and Contempt;
And to be fummond to appear
In th' other World, 's illegal here,
And therefore few make any account,
Int'what Incumbrances they run't.
For moft Men carry things so even
Between this world, and Hell, and Heaven,
Without the least Offence to either,
They freely deal in all together ;
And equally abhor to quit
This World for both, or both for it.
And when they pawn and damn their Souls,
They are but Pris’ners on Paroles.
For that, quoth he, 'tis rational,
They may be accountable in all.
For when there is that Intercourse
Between Divine and Humane Pow'rs,
That all that we determine here
Commands Obedience every where;
When Penalties may be commuted
For Fines, or Ears, or executed;
It follows, nothing binds so fast
As Souls in Pawn, and Mortgage paft:
For Oaths are th’only Tests and Scales
Of Right and Wrong, and True and False :
And there's no other way to try
The Doubts of Law and Justice by.
Quoth she, What is it you would swear?
There's no believing till I hear :
For till they're understood, all Tales
(Like Nonsenfe) are not true nor false.
Quoth he, When I refolv'd t obey
What you commanded e'other day,
And to perform my Exercise,
(As Schools are wont) for your
T'avoid all Scruples in the Case,
I went to do't upon the place.
But as the Castle is inchanted
By Sidrophel the Witch, and haunted
With evil Spirits, as you know,
:Who took my Squire and me for two :
Before I'd hardly time to lay
My Weapons by, and disarray,
I heard a formidable Noise
Loud as the Stentrophonick Voice,
That roard far off, Dispatch and strip,
I'm ready with th'Infernal Whip,
That shall divest thy Ribs of Skin,
To expiate thy lingring Sin.
Th' haft broke perfidiously thy Oath,
And not perform’d thy plighted Troth:
But spar'd thy Renegado Back,
When th’ hadít so great a Prize at Stake :
Which now the Fates have order'd me
For Penance and Revenge to fley,
Unless thou presently make haste,
Time is, Time was. And there it ceas'd.
With which, though startled, I confess,
Yet th’Horror of the thing was less
Than th' other dismal Apprehension
Of Interruption or Prevention.
And therefore snatching up the Rod,
I laid upon my Back a load :