Salomons good houswife, in the 31 of his Proverbes
HE that a gracious wife doth find,
Whose life puts vertue chiefe in vre,
One of the right good huswife kind,
That man may well himselfe assure,
And boasting say that he hath found
The richest treasure on the ground.
Who so enioyeth such a loue,
Let him resolue with hearts consent,
She euer constantly will proue
A carefull nurse, want to preuent,
With diligence and painefull heed,
Preuenting tast of beggers need.
And while she liues will still procure,
By true and faithfull industrie,
T’increase his wealth, and to insure
His state in all securitie:
To seeke his quiet, worke his ease,
And for a world no way displease.
Her houshold folke from sloth to keepe,
Shee will endeauour with good heed,
At worke more wakefull then asleepe,
With flaxe and stuffe, which houswiues need
To be employd, her hands also
The way to worke will others show.
Her wit a common wealth containes,
Of needments for her houshold store,
And like a ship her selfe explaines,
That riches brings from forraine shore,
Arriuing, with a bounteous hand
Dispearsing treasure to the land.
Before the day she will arise
To order things, and to prouide
What may her family suffice,
That they at labour may abide,
If she haue land, no paine shall want
To purchase vines, set, sow, and plant.
No honest labour shee’le omit,
In ought she can attaine vnto,
But will endeauour strength and wit,
Adding the vtmost she can do:
And if that profit comes about,
By night her candle goes not out.
A willing hand to the distrest
She lends, and is a chearefull giuer:
Come winters cold and frostie guest,
When idle huswiues quake and quiuer,
She and her housholds cloathed well,
The weathers hardnesse to expell.
Her skill doth worke faire Tapistrie,
With linnen furnish’d of the best:
Her needle workes do beautifie,
And she in Scarlet costly drest,
When Senators assembled be,
Her husbands honor there shall see.
Her spinning shall her store increase,
The finest cloth shall yeeld her gaine,
And dayly profit shall not cease,
Which her vnidle hands maintaine:
Her clothing shall her worth expresse,
And Honors yeares her end possesse.
Her mouth shall neuer opened be,
But wisdome will proceede from it:
And such mild gracious wordes yeelds shee,
Sweetnesse vpon her tongue doth sit:
In age she will her care addresse,
To eate no bread of idelnesse.
Her children shall their dutie show,
Most reuerent to her all their life,
Her husband blesse, that he did know
The time to meete with such a wife
And vttring forth his happinesse
Her vertues in this wise expresse
I know t’ls true that more then one
Good huswife there is to be found
But I may say, that thou alone
Aboue all women dost abound,
Yea I protest in all my daies,
Thou art the first, and thee ile praise.
What thing is fauour but a shade?
It hath no certaine lasting hower,
Whereof is wanton beautie made,
That withers like a Sommers flower?
When these shall end their date in daies,
She that feares God shall liue with praise.
And such a wife of worthie worth,
Due glories lot will to her fall,
And great assemblies will giue forth,
What vertues shee’s adorn’d withall,
Her lifes renowne to fame shall reach,
Her good example others teach.
May bachelors of each degree,
In choosing of a beauteous wife,
Remember, what is ioy to see
May lead to wofulnesse and strife:
Beauty is not a brave outside;
Beauty within is beautys pride.