The Village Magdalene.

Urged by that word, which hell might not gainsay,1
Seven devils. passed from. Magdalene away ;2
But yonder village hut contains a dame,3
Of whose default eight human devils came.4
On weekly market nights, as Farmers pass,5
Beneath the movings of the stirrup glass,6
Their path she crosses, on their woodland way,7
And deeds are done, for which the simple pay.8
All now are fathers, impotent or strong,9
Or those who did, or those who meant her wrong.10
A childless husband pays the silence smart,11
Deep cursing barrenness within his heart.12
A father bribes, with pious care, the dame,13
And from an injured spouse conceals the shame,14
Such proofs of early manhood proud to see,15
The son admits the wily wanton’s plea,16
Whilst Bell is paid for all her labours past,17
And chouses son and father at the last.18