Song (“Love a Woman? You’re an Ass”)

John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester

Edited by Jack Lynch

Commentary and a note on the text will follow. Note that this is a reading text, with no pretense to being a critical edition.

Love a woman? You’re an ass.
’Tis a most insipid passion
To choose out for your happiness
The idlest part of God’s creation.

Let the porter and the groom, [5]
Things designed for dirty slaves,
Drudge in fair Aurelia’s womb
To get supplies for age and graves.

Farewell, woman! I intend
Henceforth every night to sit [10]
With my lewd, well-natured friend,
Drinking to engender wit.

Then give me health, wealth, mirth, and wine,
And if busy Love intrenches,
There’s a sweet, soft page of mine [15]
Does the trick worth forty wenches.