"If not your wife, let reason's rule persuade / Name but my fault, amends shall soon be made."

— Dryden, John (1631-1700)

Place of Publication
Printed for Jacob Tonson
"If not your wife, let reason's rule persuade / Name but my fault, amends shall soon be made."
Metaphor in Context
"My love! nay rather my damnation thou,"
Said he: "nor am I bound to keep my vow;
The fiend thy sire has sent thee from below,
Else how couldst thou my secret sorrows know?
Avaunt, old witch, for I renounce thy bed:
The queen may take the forfeit of my head,
Ere any of my race so foul a crone shall wed."
Both heard, the judge pronounced against the knight;
So was he married in his own despite:
And all day after hid him as an owl,
Not able to sustain a sight so foul.
Perhaps the reader thinks I do him wrong,
To pass the marriage-feast, and nuptial song:
Mirth there was none, the man was à-la-mort,
And little courage had to make his court.
To bed they went, the bridegroom and the bride.
Was never such an ill-paired couple tied!
Restless he tossed, and tumbled to and fro,
And rolled, and wriggled further off, for woe.
The good old wife lay smiling by his side,
And caught him in her quivering arms, and cried,--
"When you my ravished predecessor saw,
You were not then become this man of straw;
Had you been such, you might have scaped the law.
Is this the custom of King Arthur's court?
Are all Round-table Knights of such a sort?
Remember I am she who saved your life,
Your loving, lawful, and complying wife:
Not thus you swore in your unhappy hour,
Nor I for this return employed my power.
In time of need I was your faithful friend;
Nor did I since, nor ever will offend.
Believe me, my loved lord, 'tis much unkind;
What fury has possessed your altered mind?
Thus on my wedding-night--without pretence--
Come turn this way, or tell me my offence.
If not your wife, let reason's rule persuade;
Name but my fault, amends shall soon be made
(pp. 810-11, ll. 334-364)
Searching "rule" and "reason" in HDIS
Over 15 entries in the ESTC (1700, 1701, 1713, 1721, 1734, 1745, 1752, 1753, 1755, 1771, 1773, 1774, 1776, 1797).

See Fables Ancient and Modern Translated into Verse from Homer, Ovid, Boccace, & Chaucer, with Original Poems, by Mr. Dryden (London: Printed for Jacob Tonson, 1700). <Link to ESTC><Link to EEBO><Link to EEBO-TCP>

Reading John Dryden, ed. Keith Walker (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1987).
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The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.