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This is certainly a divine Colloquy, that makes even a Bawdy-House a chaste Place! God can't be deceiv'd, his Eyes penetrate into the most secret Places. That young Persons ought in an especial Manner to take Care of their Chastity. A young Woman, who made herself common to get a Livelihood, is recovered from that Course of Life, as wretched as it is scandalous.


Lu. O brave! My pretty Sophronius, have I gotten you again? It is an Age methinks since I saw you. I did not know you at first Sight.

So. Why so, my Lucretia?

Lu. Because you had no Beard when you went away, but you're come back with something of a Beard. What's the Matter, my little Heart, you look duller than you use to do?

So. I want to have a little Talk with you in private.

Lu. Ah, ah, are we not by ourselves already, my Cocky?

So. Let us go out of the Way somewhere, into a more private Place.

Lu. Come on then, we'll go into my inner Bed-Chamber, if you have a Mind to do any Thing.

So. I don't think this Place is private enough yet.

Lu. How comes it about you're so bashful all on a sudden? Well, come, I have a Closet where I lay up my Cloaths, a Place so dark, that we can scarce see one another there.

So. See if there be no Chink.

Lu. There is not so much as a Chink.

So. Is there no Body near to hear us?

Lu. Not so much as a Fly, my Dear; Why do you lose Time?

So. Can we escape the Eye of God here?

Lu. No, he sees all Things clearly.

So. And of the Angels?

Lu. No, we cannot escape their Sight.

So. How comes it about then, that Men are not asham'd to do that in the Sight of God, and before the Face of the holy Angels, that they would be ashamed to do before Men?

Lu. What Sort of an Alteration is this? Did you come hither to preach a Sermon? Prithee put on a Franciscan's Hood, and get up into a Pulpit, and then we'll hear you hold forth, my little bearded Rogue.

So. I should not think much to do that, if I could but reclaim you from this Kind of Life, that is the most shameful and miserable Life in the World.

Lu. Why so, good Man? I am born, and I must be kept; every one must live by his Calling. This is my Business; this is all I have to live on.

So. I wish with all my Heart, my Lucretia, that setting aside for a While that Infatuation of Mind, you would seriously weigh the Matter.

Lu. Keep your Preachment till another Time; now let us enjoy one another, my Sophronius.

So. You do what you do for the Sake of Gain.

Lu. You are much about the Matter.

So. Thou shalt lose nothing by it, do but hearken to me, and I'll pay you four Times over.

Lu. Well, say what you have a Mind to say.

So. Answer me this Question in the first Place: Are there any Persons that owe you any ill Will?

Lu. Not one.

So. Is there any Body that you have a Spleen against?

Lu. According as they deserve.

So. And if you could do any Thing that would gratify them, would you do it?

Lu. I would poison 'em sooner.

So. But then do but consider with yourself; is there any Thing that you can do that gratifies them more than to let them see you live this shameful and wretched Life? And what is there thou canst do that would be more afflicting to them that wish thee well?

Lu. It is my Destiny.

So. Now that which uses to be the greatest Hardship to such as are transported, or banish'd into the most remote Parts of the World, this you undergo voluntarily.

Lu. What is that?

So. Hast thou not of thy own Accord renounc'd all thy Affections to Father, Mother, Brother, Sisters, Aunts, (by Father's and Mother's Side) and all thy Relations? For thou makest them all asham'd to own thee, and thyself asham'd to come into their Sight.

Lu. Nay, I have made a very happy Exchange of Affections; for instead of a few, now I have a great many, of which you are one, and whom I have always esteem'd as a Brother.

So. Leave off Jesting, and consider the Matter seriously, as it really is. Believe me, my Lucretia, she who has so many Friends, has never a one, for they that follow thee do it not as a Friend, but as a House of Office rather. Do but consider, poor Thing, into what a Condition thou hast brought thyself. Christ lov'd thee so dearly as to redeem thee with his own Blood, and would have thee be a Partaker with him in an heavenly Inheritance, and thou makest thyself a common Sewer, into which all the base, nasty, pocky Fellows resort, and empty their Filthiness. And if that leprous Infection they call the French Pox han't yet seiz'd thee, thou wilt not escape it long. And if once thou gettest it, how miserable wilt thou be, though all things should go favourably on thy Side? I mean thy Substance and Reputation. Thou wouldest be nothing but a living Carcase. Thou thoughtest much to obey thy Mother, and now thou art a mere Slave to a filthy Bawd. You could not endure to hear your Parents Instructions; and here you are often beaten by drunken Fellows and mad Whoremasters. It was irksome to thee to do any Work at Home, to get a Living; but here, how many Quarrels art thou forc'd to endure, and how late a Nights art thou oblig'd to sit up?

Lu. How came you to be a Preacher?

So. And do but seriously consider, this Flower of thy Beauty that now brings thee so many Gallants, will soon fade: And then, poor Creature, what wilt thou do? Thou wilt be piss'd upon by every Body. It may be, thou thinkest, instead of a Mistress, I'll then be a Bawd. All Whores can't attain to that, and if thou shouldst, what Employment is more impious, and more like the Devil himself?

Lu. Why, indeed, my Sophronius, almost all you say is very true. But how came you to be so religious all of a sudden? Thou usedst to be the greatest Rake in the World, one of 'em. No Body used to come hither more frequently, nor at more unseasonable Hours than you did. I hear you have been at Rome.

So. I have so.

Lu. Well, but other People use to come from thence worse than they went: How comes it about, it is otherwise with you?

So. I'll tell you, because I did not go to Rome with the same Intent, and after the same Manner that others do. Others commonly go to Rome, on purpose to come Home worse, and there they meet with a great many Opportunities of becoming so. I went along with an honest Man, by whose Advice, I took along with me a Book instead of a Bottle: The New Testament with Erasmus's Paraphrase.

Lu. Erasmus's? They say that he's Half a Heretick.

So. Has his Name reached to this Place too?

Lu. There's no Name more noted among us.

So. Did you ever see him?

Lu. No, I never saw him; but I should be glad to see him; I have heard so many bad Reports of him.

So. It may be you have heard 'em, from them that are bad themselves.

Lu. Nay, from Men of the Gown.

So. Who are they?

Lu. It is not convenient to name Names.

So. Why so?

Lu. Because if you should blab it out, and it should come to their Ears, I should lose a great many good Cullies.

So. Don't be afraid, I won't speak a Word of it.

Lu. I will whisper then.

So. You foolish Girl, what Need is there to whisper, when there is no Body but ourselves? What, lest God should hear? Ah, good God! I perceive you're a religious Whore, that relievest Mendicants.

Lu. I get more by them Beggars than by you rich Men.

So. They rob honest Women, to lavish it away upon naughty Strumpets.

Lu. But go on, as to your Book.

So. So I will, and that's best. In that Book, Paul, that can't lie, told me, that neither Whores nor Whore-mongers shall obtain the Kingdom of Heaven. When I read this, I began thus to think with myself: It is but a small Matter that I look for from my Father's Inheritance, and yet I can renounce all the Whores in the World, rather than be disinherited by my Father; how much more then ought I to take Care, lest my heavenly Father should disinherit me? And human Laws do afford some Relief in the Case of a Father's disinheriting or discarding a Son: But here is no Provision at all made, in case of God's disinheriting; and upon that, I immediately ty'd myself up from all Conversation with lewd Women.

Lu. It will be well if you can hold it.

So. It is a good Step towards Continence, to desire to be so. And last of all, there is one Remedy left, and that is a Wife. When I was at Rome, I empty'd the whole Jakes of my Sins into the Bosom of a Confessor. And he exhorted me very earnestly to Purity, both of Mind and Body, and to the reading of the holy Scripture, to frequent Prayer, and Sobriety of Life, and enjoin'd me no other Penance, but that I should upon my bended Knees before the high Altar say this Psalm, Have Mercy upon me, O God: And that if I had any Money, I should give one Penny to some poor Body. And I wondring that for so many whoring Tricks he enjoin'd me so small a Penance, he answer'd me very pleasantly, My Son, says he, if you truly repent and change your Life, I don't lay much Stress upon the Penance; but if thou shalt go on in it, the very Lust itself will at last punish thee very severely, although the Priest impose none upon thee. Look upon me, I am blear-ey'd, troubled with the Palsy, and go stooping: Time was I was such a one as you say you have been heretofore. And thus I repented.

Lu. Then as far as I perceive, I have lost my Sophronius.

So. Nay, you have rather gain'd him, for he was lost before, and was neither his own Friend nor thine: Now he loves thee in Reality, and longs for the Salvation of thy Soul.

Lu. What would you have me to do then, my Sophronius?

So. To leave off that Course of Life out of Hand: Thou art but a Girl yet, and that Stain that you have contracted may be wip'd off in Time. Either marry, and I'll give you something toward a Portion, or go into some Cloyster, that takes in crakt Maids, or go into some strange Place and get into some honest Family, I'll lend you my Assistance to any of these.

Lu. My Sophronius, I love thee dearly, look out for one for me, I'll follow thy Advice.

So. But in the mean Time get away from hence.

Lu. Whoo! what so suddenly!

So. Why not to Day rather than to Morrow, if Delays are dangerous?

Lu. Whither shall I go?

So. Get all your Things together, give 'em to me in the Evening, my Servant shall carry 'em privately to a faithful Matron: And I'll come a little after and take you out as if it were to take a little Walk; you shall live with her some Time upon my Cost till I can provide for you, and that shall be very quickly.

Lu. Well, my Sophronius, I commit myself wholly to thy Management.

So. In Time to come you'll be glad you have done so.

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