It’s Risky To Be (Spanking) Frisky

I love the spanking illustration and innuendo (“How To Tame A Shrew”, indeed!) in this advertisement for a “marital tips” pamphlet from one of the old magazines:

spank your wife, save your marriage

You’ve got to love the vague but suggestive copy:

The French have a word for it. In French it’s FOLLIES. And in English it’s MARRIAGE MISCHIEF — a rave hit with either sex, single or married.

Presented here are keyhole showings of marriage, in various stages of doing, undoing, and doing in. Lively numbers to entertain, a Physiology of Folly to wisen you up, and adult cartoons.

It takes all kinds of mix-match to make MARRIAGE MISCHIEF. So unwind and set your sights for a reeling, revealing experience. See the kiss-happy and the slap-happy, the fast and the loose, the antics of the frantic. A “wicked” wedding or anniversary gift. Order on the spree of the moment, keep it for the time of your life!


  • Mother Never Told You
  • What Men Want In Their Wives
  • The Art of Being A Husband
  • The Bridal Bed
  • Hazards Of The First Night
  • Rough Beginnings of The Honeymoon
  • How To Tame A Shrew
  • The Wife Of Bath’s Fifth Husband

Plus other insights and hindsights.

The one thing that made me curious was that line about the Wife of Bath’s Fifth Husband. The Wife of Bath is Chaucer of course, but I haven’t read my Chaucer. What suggestive thoughts does this reference allude to, in the mind of a better-read-than-me person?

To the Google-mobile!

Ahh, here it is. Oh, boy.

I think I’d best let The Wife speak for herself — first in Chaucer’s original words and then in a modern English “translation”:

Now of my fifthe housbonde wol I telle.
God lete his soule nevere come in helle!
And yet was he to me the mooste shrewe;
That feele I on my ribbes al by rewe,
And evere shal unto myn endyng day.
But in oure bed he was so fressh and gay,
And therwithal so wel koude he me glose,
Whan that he wolde han my bele chose,
That thogh he hadde me bete on every bon,
He koude wynne agayn my love anon.
I trowe I loved hym best, for that he
Was of his love daungerous to me.
We wommen han if that I shal nat lye,
In this matere a queynte fantasye;
Wayte what thyng we may nat lightly have,
Therafter wol we crie al day and crave.
Forbede us thyng, and that desiren we;
Preesse on us faste, and thanne wol we fle.
With daunger oute we al oure chaffare;
Greet prees at market maketh deere ware,
And to greet cheep is holde at litel prys:
This knoweth every womman that is wys.


And now of my fifth husband will I tell.
God grant his soul may never get to Hell!
And yet he was to me most brutal, too;
My ribs yet feel as they were black and blue,
And ever shall, until my dying day.
But in our bed he was so fresh and gay,
And therewithal he could so well impose,
What time he wanted use of my belle chose,
That though he’d beaten me on every bone,
He could re-win my love, and that full soon.
I guess I loved him best of all, for he
Gave of his love most sparingly to me.
We women have, if I am not to lie,
In this love matter, a quaint fantasy;
Look out a thing we may not lightly have,
And after that we’ll cry all day and crave.
Forbid a thing, and that thing covet we;
Press hard upon us, then we turn and flee.
Sparingly offer we our goods, when fair;
Great crowds at market for dearer ware,
And what’s too common brings but little price;
All this knows every woman who is wise.

See Also:

  1. Dave commented on May 7th, 2008:

    What an absolute gem and terrific find! I think you got an exclusive on this one. Offers quite a fascinating window on the culture at the time.


  2. Malcolm commented on May 10th, 2008:

    Even the modern translation is less than adequate if the reader doesn’t realize that the noun meaning of queynt refers to the female genetalia, probably etymologically related to the modern 4 letter word that starts with a c. The “queynte fantasy” probably puns on the word quaint. And obviously, “my belle chose” (french for my pretty thing) was doubtlessly a euphemism for that same lovely anatomical structure.

  3. Mark commented on May 16th, 2008:

    The Wife of Bath’s fifth husband was her most beloved. She was a shrew and he attempted to tame her. She did not submit, and there was a physical confrontation after which he divorced her and returned her property.


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