A Disuasive from Marriage. To Cloe by Susanna Freeman Carroll Centlivre

May all be hush’d, each ruder Passion cease,
Within my Cloe’s Breast, may all be Peace;
May the fair Nymph my am’rous Lines approve,
And say, with me, Wedlock’s the bane of Love.
MARRIAGE but palls our Joys, creating Strife,
And anxious Cares, and all the Woes of Life;
A Trick invented by some rigid Priest,
To plague our Lives, and cheat us of our Rest.

O MAY my Cloe love, and love for Life;
Yet never be that hated Thing, a Wife:
So shall my Charmer still fresh Bliss impart,
Kindle new Flames, and still possess my Heart.
While o’er thy snowy Breast I panting lye,
In melting Transport, and dissolving Joy;
With Heat and Vigour I embrace my Fair,
And in extatic Raptures breathe my Dear.

Form’d for my Bliss, urge not to give me Pain,
Nor gall thy Lover with the Marriage Chain.
The Wretch of Hymen fond, must undergo,
For one sweet Moon, successive Years of Woe;
To him the choicest Joys insipid prove,
And Duty is the Drudgery of Love.

Observe the wedded State, each fetter’d Pair,
Their Joys recount, and Miseries compare:
Was ever Man so loving to his Wife,
But wish’d the Fates to cut her Thread of Life?
Was ever Woman to her Lord so kind,
That has not pray’d to see him safe enshrin’d?
They often Death invoke to set ’em free,
So fond are Adam’s Race of Liberty.
The sweets of Love, which we by Stealth possess,
Impart fierce Raptures, and transcendant Bliss;
Such sweets in Cloe’s Arms I oft have known;
Then why will Cloe beg to be undone?
The Court and Cottage, both this Truth will prove,
Wedlock is no security for Love.
My Lord but marries to keep up his Name;
My Lady burns with an unlawful Flame:
My Lord, for Change, to public Stews repairs,
His Lordship’s Coachman gets his Lordship Heirs.

But Marriage is an honourable State;
And Heav’n to every Husband sends a Mate.
So Pedant Gown-Men Teach, yet even they,
In Love’s delightful Maze, are prone to stray:
Each in his Flock will hug the willing Dame,
And ev’ry Parish feels the sacred Flame.
An holy Church Celibacy reveres,
Her Priests renounce the matrimonial Cares;
The sacred Tribe aver that Ill, a Wife,
Is inconsistent with a religious Life;
And yet they all the Force of Love declare,
And ev’ry Gerard has his Saint Cadiere;
Where-ever Priests have pray’d, Love takes his rout,
And Popes have tasted the forbidden Fruit,
With trembling Knees unto this Altar come,
His Grace of and Holiness of Rome.
Who has not heard of Heloise’s Name,
What Nymph but pities Ab’ lard’s Grief and Shame.
The chastest Wife who reads the Story o’er,
As told by Pope, will Abelard deplore:
She’ll curse the barb’rous Hand that durst destroy,
The holy Root of Heloise’s Joy.

Does Cloe think I shall more constant prove,
If ty’d in Wedlock, and more truly Love?
My Love’s so great no Language can express,
I cannot love her more, I will not love her less:
And that my Passion may remain for Life,
I’ll call her still my Dear, but ne’er my Wife.

From: Centlivre, Susanna, “Abelard to Heloise. A Poem. In Answer to that wrote by Mr. Pope. By Mrs. C – E.R.” in The Lovers Cabinet: A Collection of Poems … Carefully Collated and Revised, 1755, L. Flin: Dublin, pp. 83-85.
(http://literature.proquestlearning.com/literature/displayItem.do?QueryType=literature&ResultsID=14BDDC0BF5E1&forAuthor=442&ItemNumber=2)

Date: 1755

By: Susanna Freeman Carroll Centlivre (?1667-1723)

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