How a certain Cavalier, after his return from a long voyage, was welcomed by his wife
A sprightly gallant gentleman and proper,
Come from a journey, was thus free
With his espoused lady:
Shall we do that, or rather take our supper?
Even as you please. But sir, quoth she,
The supper is not ready.
In each book of 110 epigrams the thirteenth always concerns the sexual act and is couched in the terminology of various professions; all epigrams with nine as a second digit are distichs, all with four as a second digit are quatrains, and every eleventh epigram in each book is an aphorism in couplet form. There are more complicated designs still: for instance, if the particular book is dedicated to a man, then the 107th epigram of that book is in praise of the male patron of the following book. Intriguingly, the tenth epigram of the first book, the twentieth of the second and so on are all dedicated to an unidentified lady called Aura. But even this pattern pales in terms of eccentricity when set beside Urquhart's habit of charging the nineteenth epigram of every book with the responsibility of carrying, for example, all the letters of the alphabet, all the points of the die, and all the moods of a verb.
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