1589, reprinted 1996
to defend them against the scandalous reports of a late surfeiting Lover, and all other like Venerians that complain so to be overjoyed with women's kindness,
Written by Jane Anger, Gentlewoman at London, Printed by Richard Lone, and Thomas Orwin, 1589
To the Gentlewomen of England, health.
Gentlewomen, though it is to be feared that your settled wits will advisedly condemn which my choleric vain has rashly set down, and so perchance, ANGER shall reap anger for not agreeing with diseased persons: Yet (if with indifference of censure, you consider the head of the quarrel). I hope you will rather show your selves defendants of the defenders title, then complainants of the plaintiffs wrong. I doubt judgment before trial, which were injurious to the Law, and I confess that my rashness deserves no less, which was a fit of my extremity. I will not urge reasons because your wits are sharp and will soon conceive my meaning. Nor will I be tedious least I prove too too troublesome nor over dark in my writing, for fear of the harm of a Ridler. But (in a word) for my presumption I crave pardon, because it was ANGER that did write it; committing your protection and my self to the protection of your selves, and the judgment of the cause to the censures of our just minds.
Yours ever at commandment
To all Women in general, and gentle Reader whatsoever,
Fie on the falsehood of men, whose minds go oft a madding, a whole tongues can not so soon be wagging, but straight they fall a tattling. Was there ever any so abused, so slandered, so railed upon, so wickedly handled undeservedly, as are we women. Will the Gods permit it, the Goddesses stay their punishing judgments, and we ourselves not pursue their undoings for such devilish praises: St Paul's steeple and charring cross. I halter hold all such persons. Let the streams of the channels in London streets run to swiftly, as they may be able alone to carry them from that sanctuary. Let the stones be as Ice, the soles of the shoes as Glass, the moats steep like Aetna, & every blast a whirlwind puffed out of Boreas his long throat that these hasten their passage to the Devils haven, Shall Surfeiters rail on our kindness, you stand still, lay naught, and shall not Anger, Stretch the vanes of her vanes, the strings of her fingers, and the lists of her modesty, to answer their surfeiting: Yes truly. And herein I conduce all you to aide and assist me in defense of my willingness, which shall make me rest at your commands. Fare you well.
The Desire that every man has to show his true vain in writing is unspeakable, and their minds are so carried away with the manner, as no care at all is bad of the matter: they run so into Rhetoric, as often times they overrun the bounds of their own wits, and go they know not wither. If they have stretched their invention so hard on a last, as it is at a stand, there remains but one help, which is, to write of as women: If they may once encroach so far into our presence, as they may but see the lining of our outermost garment, they straight think that Apollo honors them, in yielding so good a supply to refresh their sore overburdened heads, though studying for matters to invite of. And therefore the God may see how thankfully they receive his liberality, (their wits whetted, and their brains almost broken with botching his bounty) they fall straight to dispraising and slandering our silly sex. But judge what the cause should be, of this there so great malice towards simple women. Doubtless the weakness of our wits, and our honest bashfulness, by reason whereof they suppose that there is not one amongst us who can, or dare reprove their slanders and false reproaches: their slanderous tongues are so short and the time wherein they have lashed out their words freely, have been so long, that they know we cannot catch hold of them to pull them out, and they think we will not write to reprove their lying lips: which conceits have already made them cocks and wolves (should they not be cravened) make themselves among themselves be thought to be of the game. They have been so daintily fed with our good natures, that like jades (their stomachs are grown to queasy) they surfeit of our kindness. If we will not suffer them to smell on our smocks, they will snatch at our petticoats: but if our honest natures cannot away with that uncivil kind assisting them then we are coy: yet if we bear with their rudeness, and be some what modestly familiar with them, they will straight make matter of nothing, blazing abroad that they have surfeited with love, and then their wits must be shown in telling the manner how.
Among the innumerable number of books to that purpose, of late (unlooked for) the new surfeit of an old Lover (sent abroad to warn those which are of his own kind, from catching the like disease) came by chance to my hands: which, because as well women as men are desirous of novelties, I willingly read over: neither did the ending thereof less please me then the beginning, for I was so carried away with the conceit of the Gent. as that I was quite out of the book before I thought I had been in the middle thereof: So pithy were his sentences, so pure his words, and so pleasing his style. The chief matters therein contained were of two sorts: the one in the his praise of man's folly and the other, invective against our sex, their folly proceeding of their own flattery joined with fancy, our faults are through our folly, with which is some faith.
The bounteous words written over the lascivious king Ninus his head, set down in this old Lover his Surfeit to be these (Demand and have:) to plainly show the flattery of men's false hearts: for knowing that we women, are weak vessels soon overwhelmed, and that Bounty beneath every thing to his back, they take him for their instrument (too too strong) to assay the pulling down of us so weak. If we stand fast, they strive: if we totter (though but a little) they will never leave until they have overturned us. Semeramis demanded: and who would not if courtesy should be so freely offered: Ninus gave all to his kingdom, and that at the last: the more fool her: and of him this shall be my censure (agreeing with the verdict of the surfeiting lover) save only that he had misplaced and mistaken certain words) in this manner.
Such frenzy oft does have the wife. (Nurse Wisdom once rejected)
Though love be sure and firm: yet Lust fraught with deceit,
And men's fair words do work great woe, unless they be suspected
Then foolish Ninus had but due, if I his judge might be,
Wild are men's lusts, false are their lips, besmeared with flattery:
Himself and Crown he brought to thrall (?) which passed all the rest
His foot-stool match he made his head, and therefore was a beast.
Then all such beasts such beastly ends, I with the Gods to send,
And worser too if worse may be: like his my censure end.
But that Menalaus was served with such sauce it is a wonder; yet truly their Sex are so like to Bulls, that it is no marvel though the Gods do metamorphose some of them, to give warning to the rest, if they could think so of it, for some of them will follow the smock as Tom Bull will run after a town Cow. But, least they should running flip and break their pates, the Gods provident of their welfare, let a pair of tooters on their foreheads, to keep it from the ground, for doubtless so stood the case with Menalus, he running abroad as a Smel-sinoeke, got the habit of a Cuckold, of whom thus shall go my verdict.
with those same plagues which men do most forlorn,
If filthy lust in men to spring begin,
That monstrous sin he plagueth with the horn,
to shun wild lust, lest they will wear the horn.
And blows for blows who renders not again?
The man that is of Cuckolds lot afraid,
From Lechery he ought for to refrain,
and ought (perforce constrained to wear the horn.)
And worthy too, he loved the smock so well,
That every man may be a Bull I pray,
Which loves to follow lust (his game) so well,
and want these jarres (?). Thus does my censure cease.
Having made a long discourse of the Gods censure concerning love, he leaves them (and I the with him) and comes to the principal object and general foundation of love, which he affirmed to be grounded on women: now beginning to search his scroll, wherein are taunts against us, he begins and says that we allure their hearts to us: wherein he says more truly then he is aware of: for we woo them with our virtues, as they wed us with vanities, and men being of wit sufficient to tonder [consider] of the virtues which are in us women, are ravished with that delight of those dainties, which allure & draw the senses of them to serve us, whereby they become ravenous hawks, who do not only seize upon us, but devour us. Our good toward them is the destruction of our selves, we being well formed, are by them foully deformed: of our true meaning they make mocks, rewarding our loving souls with disdainful floutes (?): we are the grief of man, in that we take all the grief from man: we languish when they laugh, we lie sighing when they sit singing, and sit sobbing when they lie slugging and sleeping. Mulier est hominis confusio, because her kind heart cannot so sharply reprove their frantic fits, as those mad frenzies deserve, Autanat, autodit, non est in tertio: She Loves good thing, and hates that which is evil: she loves justice and hates iniquity: she loves truth and true healing , and hates lies and falsehood: she loves man for his virtues, & hates him for his vices: to be short, there is no Medium between good and bad, and therefore she can be, In nullo tertio. Plato his answer to a Vicar of fools which asked the question, being, that he knew not whether to place women among those creatures which were reasonable or unreasonable, did as much beautify his devine knowledge, as all the books he did write: for knowing that women are the greatest help that men have, without whole aide and assistance it is as possible for them to live, as is they wanted meat, drink, clothing, or any other necessary: and knowing also that even then in his age, much more in those ages which show after follow, men were grown to be so unreasonable, as he could not decide whether men or brute beasts were more reasonable: their eyes are so curious, as be not all women equal with Venus for beauty, they cannot abide the light of them: their Stomachs so queasy, as do they taste but twice of one dish they straight surfeit, and needs must a new diet be provided for them. We are contrary to men, because they are contrary to that which is good: because they are (purblind, they cannot see into our natures, and we too well though we had but half an eye) into their conditions, because they are so bad: our behaviors alter daily, because men's virtues decay hourly. If Hesiodus had with equity as well looked into the life of man, as he did precisely search out the qualities of us women, he would have said, that if a woman trust unto a man, it shall fare as well with her, as if she had a weight of a thousand pounds tied about her neck, and then cast into the bottomless seas: for by men are we confounded though they by us are sometimes crossed. Our tongues are light, because earnest in reproving men's filthy vices, and our good counsel is termed nipping injury, in that it accords not with their foolish fancies. Our boldness rash, for giving Boddies nipping answers, our dispositions naughty, for not agreeing with their wild minds, and our fury dangerous, because it will not bear with their knavish behaviors. If our frowns be so terrible, and our anger so deadly, men are too foolish in offering occasions of hatred, which shunned, a terrible death is prevented. There is a continual deadly hatred between the wild boar and tame hounds, I would there were the like betwixt women and men only they amend their manners, for so strength should predominate, where now flattery and dissimulation have the upper hand. The Lion rages when he is hungry, but man rails when he is glutted. The Tiger is robbed of her young ones, when she is ranging abroad, but men rob women of their honor undeservedly under their noses. The Viper storms when his tail is trodden on, & may not we fret when all our body is a footstool to their wild lust: their unreasonable minds which know not what reason is, make them nothing better then brute beasts. But let us grant that Cletemmestra, Ariadna, Dalila, and Iesabell were spotted with crimes: shall not Nero with others innumerable, & therefore unnamable join hands with them and lead the dances yet it grieves me that faithful Deianira should be falsely accused of her husband Hercules death, seeing she was utterly guiltless (even of thought concerning any such crime, for had not the Centaures falsehood exceeded the simplicity of her too too credulous heart, Hercules had not died so cruelly tormented, nor the monsters treason been so unhappily executed. But we must bear with the faults, and with greater then these,especially we seeing that he which set it down for a Maxim was driven into a mad mood through a surfeit, which made him run quite besides his book, and mistake his case: for where he accused Deianira falsely, he could have had condemned Hercules deservedly.
Marius' daughter imbued with so many excellent virtues, was too good either for Metellus, or any man living: for though peradventure she had some small fault, yet doubtless he had detestable crimes. On the same place where Dawn is on the hens head, the Comb grows on the Cocks pate. If women breed woe to men, they bring care, poverty, grief, and continual Fear to women, which if they be not woes they are worser.
Euthydomus made five kinds of women, and I will prove that there are so many of men: which be, poor and rich, bad and good, foul and faire. The great Patrimonies that wealthy men leave their children after their death, make them rich: but vice and other marthriftes (?) happening into their companies, never leave them until they be at the beggars bush (?), where I can assure they become poor. Great eaters being kept at a slender diet never distemper their bodies but remain in good case: but afterwards once turned forth to Liberty's pasture, they graze so greedily, as they become surfeiting jades, and always after are good for nothing. There are men which are snout-faire, whole faces look like a creme-pot, and yet those not the fair men I speak of, but I mean those whole conditions are free from knavery, and I term those foul, that have neither civility nor honesty: of these sorts there are none good, none rich or faire long. But if we do desire to have them good, we must always tie them to the manger and diet their greedy panches, other wise they will surfeit. What, shall I say? wealth makes them lavish, wit knavish, beauty effeminate, poverty deceitful, and deformity ugly. Therefore of me take this counsel
Mistrust them still, and then you well shall speed.
When provender pricks, the jade will winch, but keep him at a slender ordinary, and he will be mild enough. The Dictators some was crank as long as his cock was crowing, but prosuing (?) a cravin, he made his master hang down his head.
Thales was so married to shameful Lust as he cared not a straw for lawful love, whereby he showed himself to be imbued with much vice and no virtues: for a man both that often times standing, of which he repents sitting. The Roman could not (as now men cannot) abide to hear women praised, and themselves dispraised, and therefore it is best for men to follow Alphonso his rule: let them be deaf and marry wives, that are blind, so that they not grieve to hear their wives commended nor their monstrous misdoing shall offend their wives eyesight.
Tibullus letting down a rule for women to follow, might have proportioned this platform for men to rest in. And might have said, Every honest man ought to shun that which detracts both health and safety from his own person, and strive to bridle his slanderous tongue. Then must he be modest (?), & show his modesty by his virtuous and civil behaviors: and not display his beastliness (?) through his wicked and filthy words, for lying lips and deceitful tongues are abominable before God. It is an easy matter to entreat a Cat to catch a Mouse, and more easy to persuade a desperate man to kill him self, What Nature has made, Art cannot mar, (and as this surfeiting lover says) that which is tried in the bone, will not be brought out of the flesh (?). If we clothe ourselves in sackcloth, and trust up our hair in dishcloths, Venerians will nevertheless persue their pastime. If we hide our breasts, it must be with leather; for no cloth can keep their long nailes out of our bosoms.
We have rolling eyes, and they railing tongues: our eyes cause them to look lasciviously; why? because they are given to lechery. It is an easy matter to fined a staff to beat a Dog, and a burnt finger gives sound counsel. If men would as well embrace counsel as they can give it, Socrates rule would be better followed. But let Socrates, heaven and heath say what they will, Man's face is worth a glass of dissembling water: and therefore to conclude with a proverb, Write ever, and yet never write enough of man's falsehood, I mean those that use is. I would that ancient writers would as well have busted their heads about deciphering the deceits of their own Sex, as they have about setting down our follies: and I would some would call in question that now, which has ever been questionless: but sithence all their wits have been bent to write of the contrary, I leave them to a contrary vaine, and the surfeiting Lover, who returns to his discourse of love.
Now while this greedy grazer is about his entreaty of love, which nothing belongs to our matter: let us secretly ourselves with ourselves, consider how and in what, they that are our sorest enemies, are both inferior unto us, & most beholden unto our kindnesses.
The creation of man and woman at the first, he being formed In principio of dross and filthy clay, did so remain until God saw that in him his workmanship was good, and therefore by the transformation of the dust which was loathsome unto flesh, it became purtified. Then lacking a help for him, GOD making woman of man's flesh, that she might be purer then he, does evidently show, how far we women are more excellent then men. Our bodies are fruitful, whereby the world increases, and our care wonderful, by which man is preserved. From woman sprang man's salvation. A woman was the first that believed, & a woman like wife the first that reverd of him.
In women is only true Fidelity: (except in her) there be constancy, and without her no Housewifery. In the time of their sickness we cannot be wanted, & when they are in health we for them are most necessary. They are comforted by our means: they nourished by the meats we dress: their bodies freed from diseases by our cleanliness, which otherwise would surfeit unreasonable through their own noisomnes. Without our care they lie in their beds as dogs in litter, & go like lowsie (?) Mackerel swimming in the heat of summer. They love to go handsomely in their apparel, and rejoice in the pried thereof, yet who is the cause of it, but our carefulness, to see everything about them be curious. Our virginity makes us virtuous, our conditions courteous, and our chastity makes our trueness of love manifest: they confess we are necessary, but they would have us likewise evil. That they cannot want be I grant: yet evil I deny: except only in the respect of man, who (hating all good things, in estimation of conceit we are made ill. But least some should snarl on me, barking out this reason: that none is good but God, and therefore women are ill. I must yield that in respect we are ill, and affirm that men are no better, seeing we are so necessary unto them. It is most certain, that if we be ill, they are worse: for Malum malo additum efficit malum peius: they that use ill worse then it should be, are worse then the ill. And therefore if they will correct Magnificat, they must first learn the signification thereof. That we are liberal, they will not deny sithence that many of them have (ex conseslio) received more kindness in one day at our hands, then they can repay in a whole year: some have so glutted themselves with our liberality as they cry No More, but if they shall avow the women are fools, we may safely give them the lie: for myself have some of them confessed that we have more wisdom then need is, & therefore no fools: & they less then they should have, & therefore fools. It has been affirmed by some of their Sex, that to shun a shower of rain, & to know the way to our husbands bed is wisdom sufficient for us women: but in this year of 88, men are grown so fantastical, that unless we can make them fools, we are accounted unwise. And now (seeing I speak to none but to you which are of mine own Sex,) give me leave like a scoller to prove our wisdom more excellent then theirs, though I never knew what sophistry meant. There is no wisdom but it comes by grace, this is a principle, & Contra principiu non est disputandu: but grace was first given to a woman, because to our lady: which premises conclude & women are wise. Now Primu est optimu, & therefore women are wiser then men. That we are more witty which comes by nature, it cannot better be proved, then & by our answers, men are often driven to Non plus, & if their talk be of worldly affairs, with our resolutions they must either rest satisfied, or prove themselves fools in the end.
It was my chance to hear a pretty story of two wise men who (being cosen gername to that town of Gotam) proved themselves as very asses, as they were fools: it was this. The stelth [theft] of a ring out of a wise man's chamber, afflicted the losers mind, with so grievous passions, as he could take no rest, til he went to ask a friend's counsel, how he might recover his loss. Into whose presence being once entered, his clothes unbuttoned, made passage for his friend's eyesight unto his bosom: who seeing him in such a taking, judging up his looks & some qualm had risen on his stomach, the extremity whereof might make his head to ache, offered him a kertcher (?). This distressed man half believes himself, howled bitterly & he did mistake his case, & falling in to a raving vain, began to curse the day of his birth, & the Destinies for suffering him to live. His fellow wise-man, mistaking this fit, fearing some devil had possessed him, began to betake him to his heels: but being stopped from running by his companion, did likewise ban that case of this sudden change, & the motion that moved the other to enter his presence: yet seeing how dangerously he was disturbed, & knowing that by no means he could shun his company, calling his wits together (which made him forget his passion) he demanded & caused of the others grief: who taking a stool & a cushion sat down and declared that he was undone though the loss of a ring which was stolen out of his window: further saying, Sir, is it not best for me to go to a Wise-woman to know of her what is become of my ring? The other answering affirmatively, asked this: if he knew any? between whom, many wise women reckoned, they both went together for company, where we will leave them.
Now I pray you tell me your fancy, were not these men very wise, but especially did they not cunningly display their wisdom by this practice: Sithence that they hope to find that though the wisdom of a woman, which was lest by the folly of a man, Well, seeing according to the old proverb: The wit of woman is a great matter: let men learn to be wiser on account them selves fools: for they know by practice that we are none.
Now sithence that this overjoyed and surfeiting lover leaves his love, and comes with a fresh assault against us women let us arm ourselves with patience & see the end of his tongue which explains his surfeit. But it was so lately printed, as if I should do the Printer injury should I recite but one of them; and therefore referring you to Bookie his surfeit in love. I come to my matter. If to enjoy a woman be to catch the Devil by the foot, to obtain the favor of a man is to hold fast his damme (?) by the middle: whereby the one may easily break away, and the other cannot go without he carries the man with him.
The properties of the Snake and of the Eele are, the one to string, and the other not to be held: but men's tongues sing against nature, and therefore they are unnatural. Let us bear with them as much as may be, and yield to their wiles more then is convenient: yet if we cast our reckoning at the end of the piece, we shall find that our losses exceed their gains, which are innumerable. The property of the Chameleon is to change himself: But man always remains at one stay, and is never our of the predicaments of Dishonesty and inconstancy. The stinging of the Scorpion is cured by the Scorpion, whereby it seems that there is some good in nature in them. But men never leave stinging til they see the death of honesty. The danger of pricks is shunned, by gathering roses glove fisted: and the stinging of Bees prevented through a close hood. But naked Dishonesty and bare inconstancy are always plagued through their own folly.
If men's folly be so unreasonable as it will strive against Nature, it is no matter though the rewards them with crosses contrary to their expectations for if Tom fool will presume to ride on Alexander's horse, he is not to be pitied though he get a foul knock for his labor. But it seems the Gentleman has great experience of Italian Courtesans, whereby his wisdom showed for Experientia praestantior arte: and he that has Experience to prove his case, is in better case then they that have all inexperienced book cases to defend their titles.
The smooth speeches of men are nothing unlike the banishing clouds of the Air, which glide by degrees from place to place, til they have filled themselves with rain, when breaking, they spit forth terrible showers: so men gloze (?), til they have their answers, which are the end of the travel, and then they bid Modesty adieu, and entertaining Rage, fall a railing on us which never hurt them. The ranknesses of grass causes suspicion of the serpents lurking, but his lying in the plain path at the time when Woodcocks shoot, makes the patient passionate through his sting, because no such ill was suspected, When protest secrecy most solemnly, believe them least, for then surely there is a trick of knavery to be discarded, for in a friars habits an old fornicator is always clothed.
It is a wonder to see how men can flatter themselves with their own conceits: for let us look, they will straight affirm that we love, and if then Lust pricks them, then will swear that Love stings us which imagination only is sufficient to make them assay (?) the sealing of half a dozen of us in one night, when they will not stick to swear that if they should be denied of their requests, death must needs follow. Is it any marvel though they surfeit, when they are so greedy, but is it not pity that any of them should perish, which will be so soon killed with unkindness? Yes, truly, Well, the onset given, if we retire for a vantage, they will straight affirm that they have got the victory. Nay, some of them are so carried away with conceit, that shameless they will blaze abroad among their companions, that they have obtained the love of a woman, unto whom they never spoke above once, if that: Are not these forward fellows, you must bear with them, because they dwell far from lying neighbors. They will say Mentiri non est nostrum, and yet you shall see true tales come from them, as wild geese fly under London bridge. Their fawning is flattery: their faith falsehood: their fair words allurements to destruction: and their large promises tokens of death, or of evils worse then death. Their singing is a bait to catch us, and their playings, plagues to torment us : and therefore take heed of them, and take this as an Axiom in Logic and a Maxim in the Law, Nulla fides hominibus. There are three accidents to men, which of all are most inseparable, Lust, Deceit, and malice. Their glozing (?) tongues, the preface to the execution of their barbarous manners. A little gall makes a great deal of sweat, sower: and a slanderous tongue poisons all the good parts in man.
Was not the folly of Vulcan worthy of Venus flouts, when she took him with the manner, wooing Briceris? And was it not the flattery of Paris which enticed Hellen to falsehood? Yes truly: and the late Surfeiter his remembrance in calling his pen from raging against reason: showed that he is not quite without flattery, for he puts the fault in his pen, when it was his passion that deserved reproof. The love of Hipsicrates and Panthea, the zeal of Artemisia and Portia, the affection of Sulpitia and Aria, the true fancy of Hipparchia and Pisca, the loving passions of Macrina, & of the wife of Paudoerus (all manifested in his Surfeit) shall condemn the indiscretness of men's minds: whole hearts delight in nought, say that only which contrary to good. Is it not foolish thing to be sorry for things unrecoverable? Why then should Sigismundus' answer be so descaned (?) upon, seeing her husband was dead, & she thereby free for any man. Of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks, which is described by the railing kind of man's writing. If all kind of voluptuousness, they affirm Lechery to be felt, &. yet some of them are not ashamed to confuse publicly, that they have surfeited therewith. It defiles the body, & makes it stink, & men use it: I marvel how we women can abide them but ? they delude us, as (they say) we deceive them with perfumes.
Voluptuousness is a strong beast, and has many instruments to draw to Lust: but men are so forward of themselves thereto, as they need none to hail them. His court is already so full with them, that he has more need to make stronger gates to keep them out, then to set them open that they may come in, except he will be pulled out by the cares out of his kingdom. I would the abstinence of King Cyrus, Zenocrates, Caius Gracchus, Pompeius and of Francis Sforce, Duke of Millaine, (recited in Boke his Surfeit in love) might be precedents for men to follow, and I warrant you then we should have no surfeiting. I pray God that they may mend: but in the mean time, let them be sure that rashness breeds repentance, and treacherous hearts, tragically ends: false Flattery is the messenger of foul Folly, and a slanderous tongue, the instrument of a dissembling heart.
I have set down unto you (which are mine own Sex) the subtle dealings of untrue meaning men: not that you should condemn all men, but to the end that you may take heed of the false hearts of all and still reprove the flattery which remains in all: for as it is reason that the Hens should be served first, which both lay the eggs, & hatch the chickens: so it were unreasonable that the cocks which tread them, would be kept clean without meat. As men are valiant, so are they virtuous: and those that are borne honorably, cannot bear horrible & dissembling hearts. But as there are some which cannot love heartily, so there are many who lust incessantly, & as many of them will deserve well, so most care not how if they speed so they may get our company. Wherein they resemble Envy, who will be contented to loose one of his eyes that another might have both his pulled out. And therefore think well of as many as you may, love them that you have cause, hear every thing that they say, (& afford them nods which make themselves noddies (?)) but believe very little thereof or nothing at all, and hate all those, who will speak any thing in the dispraise or to the dishonor of our Sex.
Let the luxurious life of Heliogabalus, the intemperate desires of Commodus and Proculus, the damnable lust of Chilpericus and Xerxes, Boleslaus violent ravishings, and the unnatural carnal appetite of Sigismundus Malotesta, be examples sufficiently probable to persuade you, that the hearts of men are most desirous to excel in vice. There were many good laws established by the Romans & other good kings yet they could not restrain men from lechery: and there are terrible laws allotted (?) in England to the offenders therein, all which will not serve to restrain man.
The Surfeiters physique is good could he and his companions follow it: but when the fox preaches, let the geese take heed, it is before an execution. Fallere fallentem non est fraus, and to kill that beast, whose property is only to slay, is no sin: if you will please men, you must follow their rule, which is to flatter: for Fidelity and they are utter enemies. Things far fetched are excellent, and that experience is best which cost most: Crowns are costly, and that which cost many crowns is well worth God thank you, or else I know who has spent his labor and cost, foolishly. Then if any man gives such dear counsel gratefully, are not they fools which will refuse his liberality. I know you long to hear what that counsel should be, which was bought at so high a price: Therefore if you listen, the Sorfeitert his pen with my hand shall forthwith show you.
At the end of men's fair promises there is a Labyrinth, & therefore ever hereafter stop your ears when they protest friendship, lest they come to an end before you are aware whereby you fall without redemption. The path which leads thereunto, is Mans wit, and the mile's ends are marked with these trees, Folly, Vice, Mischief, Lust, Deceit, & Pride. These to deceive you shall be clothed in the raiments of Fancy, Virtue, Modesty, Love, True meaning, and Handsomness. Folly will bid you welcome on your way, & Tel you his fancy, concerning the profit which may come to you by this journey, and direct you to Vice who is more crafty. He with a company of protestations will praise the virtues of women, showing how many ways men are beholden unto us: but our backs once turned, he falls a railing. Then Mischief he pries into every corner of us, seeing if he can espy a cranny, that getting in his finger into it, he may make it wide enough for his tongue to wag in. Now being come to Lust: he will fall a railing on Lascivious looks, & will ban Lechery, & with the Collier will say, the devil take him though he never means it. Deceit will give you fair words, & pick your pockets: nay he will pluck out your hearts, if you be not wary. But when you hear one cry out against lawnes, drawn-works, Periwigs, against the attire of Courtesans, & generally of the pride of all women: then know him for a Wolf clothed in sheep's raiment, and be sure you are fast by the lake of destruction. Therefore take heed of it, which you shall do, if you shun men's flattery, the forerunner of our undoing. If a jade be galled, will he not winch? and can you find fault with a horse that springs when he is spurred? The one will stand quietly his back is healed, and the other go well when his smart ceases. You must bear with the old Lover his surfeit, because he was diseased when he did write it, and peradventure hereafter, when he shall be well mended, he will repent himself of his slanderous speeches against our Sex, and curse the dead man which was the cause of it, and make a public recantation: for the faltering in his speech at the later end of his book affirms, that already he half repents of his bargain, & why? because his melody is past: but believe him not, though he should out swear you, for although a jade may be still in a stable when his gall back is healed, yet he will show himself in his kind when he is traveling: and man's flattery bites secretly, from which I pray God keep you and me too.
A Sovereign Salve, to cure the late Surfeiting Lover