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Beside, he swore, and swore 'twas true,
That ere he went in quest of you,
He fet a figure to discover
If you were fled to Rye or Dover ;
And found it clear, that to betray
Yourselves and me, you fled this way;
And that he was upon pursuit,
To take you somewhere hereabout.
He vow'd he had intelligence
Of all that pass'd before and since ;
And found, that ere you came to him,
Y' had been engaging life and limb
About a case of tender conscience,

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Where both abounded in your own sense ;
Till Ralpho, by his light and grace,
Had clear'd all scruples in the case,
And prov'd that you might swear, and own
Whatever 's by the wicked done :

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For which, most basely to requite
The service of his gifts and light,
You strove t'oblige him, by main force,
To scourge his ribs instead of

yours;
But that he stood upon his guard,
And all your vapouring outdar'd;
For which, between you both, the feat
Has never been perform’d as yet.

While thus the Lady talk’d, the Knight
Turn'd th' outside of his eyes to white;
As men of inward light are wont
To turn their optics in upon ’t;
He wonder'd how she came to know
What he had done, and meant to do;
Held up his affidavit hand,
As if he 'ad been to be arraign'd;
Cast tow’rds the door a ghastly look,
In dread of Sidrophel, and spoke :

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Madam, if but one word be true
Of all the wizard has told you,
Or but one single circumstance
In all th' apocryphal romance,
May dreadful earthquakes swallow down
This vessel, that is all your own;
Or may the heavens fall, and cover
These reliques of your constant lover.

You have provided well, quoth she,
I thank you, for yourself and me,
And shewn your presbyterian wits
Jump punctual with the jesuits ;
A most compendious way, and civil,
At once to cheat the world, the devil,
With heaven and hell, yourselves, and those
On whom you vainly think t'impose.
Why then, quoth he, may hell surprise.
That trick, said she, will not pass twice :

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I've learn'd how far I'm to believe
Your pinning oaths upon your sleeve ;
But there's a better way of clearing
What you would prove, than downright swearing:
For if you have perform'd the feat,
The blows are visible as yet,
Enough to serve for satisfaction
Of nicest scruples in the action ;
And if you can produce those knobs,

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Altho' they're but the witch's drubs,
I'll pass them all upon account,
As if your nat’ral self had don't;
Provided that they pass th' opinion
Of able juries of old women,
Who, us’d to judge all matter of facts
For bellies, may do so for backs.

Madam, quoth he, your love 's a million,
To do is less than to be willing,

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As I am, were it in my power,
T' obey what you command, and more;
But for performing what you bid,
I thank you as much as if I did. .
You know I ought to have a care
To keep my wounds from taking air :
For wounds in those that are all heart,
Are dangerous in any part.

I find, quoth she, my goods and chattels
Are like to prove but mere drawn battles ;
For still the longer we contend,

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We are but farther off the end.
But granting now we should agree,
What is it you expect from me ?

Your plighted faith, quoth he, and word
You pass’d in heaven, on record,
Where all contracts t' have and t'hold,
Are everlastingly enroll’d:

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