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upon unfafe and craggy precipices, to hazard the fplendor of her former life.
But my great business is with you, my Lords, who, either out of envy, are afraid that your betters fhould be preferred before you, or elfe, out of a wicked ambition, are laying artfully the foundation of your future favour with a good Princefs. I will therefore, most noble Queen, under the fhelter of your prudence, speak freely my thoughts in this cafe. Such perfons do not court you, but your fortune; and whilft they think upon the Queen, they forget that the fame perfon is a woman. When I name the word woman, (I do not use it reproachfully, but), I mean a perfon to whom nature hath given many blandifhments, and eminent enduements; but withal, hath mingled them (as she usually doth, in the most ufual and precious things) with some alloy of infirmity; and therefore would have her to be under the guardianship of another, as not fufficiently able to protect herfelf: So that she is fo far from having an empire over others alloted to her, that the laws, in imitation of nature, do command women to be under the perpetual tutelage of their parents, brothers, or husbands. Neither doth this tend to their reproach, but is a relief to their frailty for that it keeps them off from those affairs for which they are unfit; it is a kind regard had to their modefty; not a scandal detracting from their honour. I will not take notice how difficultly they are reftrained by the vigilance of their husbands, and the authority of parents; neither will I mention how far the licentioufnefs of fome wo
men hath proceeded, when the reins have been laid on their necks. I fhall confine my fpeech only to what the prefent cafe offers, or rather doth enact and require; and which, without damage to the publick, cannot be concealed. If there be any thing of private concern amifs in the fex, let their hufbands and kindred look to that; I fhall only briefly touch what may be publickly prejudicial. Greatnefs of mind was never required in this fex. It is true, women have their other proper virtues; but as for this, it was always reckoned amongst virile, not female enduements. Be fides, the more they are obnoxious to commo. tions, paffions, and other efforts of mind, by reafon of the imbecillity of their nature; the more doth their extravagancy, having once broke thro' the reftraints of the law, fly out, and is hardly ever reduced, and brought back again within its due bounds, in regard wo men are alike impatient, both of difeafes, and of their remedies. But if any of them feem more valiant and couragious, they are fo much the more dangerous, as being liable to more impetuous and vehement paffions. For they, who being weary of their fex, have put off the woman, are very willing to extend their liberty, even beyond the precincts of a mafculine genius. If you once exceed and pafs over the bounds and limits fet by nature, whatfoever is beyond is infinite; and there is no boundary left, either for defire or action. Moreover, there is a further acceffion to this infirmity of nature; for the lefs confidence one hath in himfelf, the more easily he interprets the words and actions of
others to his own reproach, he is more vehemently angry, and hardly appeafed. Such a party doth alfo execute revenge more immoderately, and doth punish his defpifers with greater hate. Now, that all thefe things are unfit for, nay contrary to magiftracy, there is none of you ignorant. And if any man think that I devife these things of my own head, let him confider what great difturbances there were not long ago, when Joan of Naples reigned. Look over the histories of antient times. I will not mention Semiramis of Affyria, nor Laodice of Cappadocia ; these were monfters, not women. The celebrated Zenobia Palmyrena, the fubduer of the Parthians, and a match for the Roman Emperors, was at last overcome, taken, and triumphed over: And fo the herself, and her kingdom, which was enlarged and increafed by her husband Odenatus, was loft in a moment.
Neither may I pafs over in filence, what is principally to be regarded in the management of other mens affairs; that the chief command is not to be entrusted to fuch fort of perfons who cannot be called to account for their mal-adminiftration. I do not at all diftruft the ingenuity, faithfulness, nor care of the Queen; but if any thing be acted amifs (as it often happens) by the fraud of others, and matters be carried otherways than the publick good, or the dignity of her place doth require, what mulet can we exact from the King's mother? What punishment can we require? Who fhall cenfure her miscarriages? Shall the higheft matters be managed in the meetings of women, in the nursery, or the dreffing
dreffing-room? Muft you there, either each man in particular fubfcribe to decrees, or all in general make them? How will you be able to bear female power, armed with your own authority, which now, when it is with· out arms, and fubjected to you by laws and customs, you can hardly contain within reafonable bounds? Do not think I fpeak this, as if I did fear any fuch thing from our Queen, who is the choiceft and modeftest of all women; but because I think it base and unfeemly for us, who have all things yet in our own hands, to place the hope of our fafety, which we may owe to ourfelves, only in another's power; especially fince both divine and human laws, the custom of our ancestors, nay, and the confent of all nations throughout the whole world, make for us. It is true, fome nations have endured women to be their fovereigns; but they were not elected to that dignity by fuffrages, but were caft upon them by their birth; but never any people, who had freedom of vote, when there was plenty of able men to chufe, did ever prefer women before them. And therefore, most eminent patriots, I advife, and earnestly intreat you, that, according to the laws of our country, and the cuftoms of our ancestors, we chufe one; or, , if you think fit, more; the best, out of the nobleft and beft, who may undertake the regency, till the King arrive at that ftrength both of bo dy and mind, as to be able to manage the government himself. And I pray God to bless your proceedings in this affair.
[From Mr. GAY's Fables.]
REMOTE from cities liv'd a Swain,
Unvex'd with all the cares of gain:
Whence is thy learning? Hath thy toil