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Three LADIES, fent with the Book.
To the M. H. the *
LADY, whole fair approof I wish should
A glorious fanction to whate'er I write;
Since what your well-pois'd judgment marks with white
Secure from envy will to ages live,
So may I in this arduous emprise thrive, s
As I not follow in the chase for spite;
But led by Love of True, and Fit, and Right, In which good caufe each gentle breaft should strive:
While I with hasard of my own good name i
Like Calidore pursue the Blatant Beast ADIT In dear defenfe of Ladies' honeft fame, Which his foul mouth profanely taints with blame; Let me, howe'er with dread and dangers prefs'd, Enjoy the fmiles of ev'ry virtuous dame.
To the R. H. the
ET HIM rail on, till ev'ry mouth cry fhame;
Of his ill word I little reckoning make
For Ladies' honor, and for Shakespear's fake; So these I may defend from blot or blame :
But ill I bear, that any worthy name
Of thofe, who virtue for their mistress take, And hate the fland'rer like the poisonous fnake; Should deem my just reproof deferving blame.
Yet, if fair
Speak in my defenfe,
vouchfafe her fanction to my page, * fweetly deign to fmile applause; Aided by thefe and confcious innocence, I'll boldly brave the CRITIC's utmost rage And glory fuff'ring in fo juft a caufe.
WEET Modefty, the third of that fair
Whom virtuous friendship, ill by churls deny'd
While arm'd with Truth's good fhield alone I stand
Deep are the wounds fhe gives, and hard to heal.
Yet though enrag'd her hundred tongues she join
But to the Fair and Good my cause refign,