This is a poem on adultery, from a 1656 book called “Sportive Wit” compiled by John Phillips and, as he put it, “collected for the publick good, by a club of sparkling wits”.

In essence it’s a sermon on the futility of marital jealousy, I would say:

The Bulls Feather

It chanced not long ago, as I was walking,
An echo did bring me to where two were talking:
‘Twas a man said to his wife, Die had I rather,
Then to be cornuted, and wear the Bulls feather.
Then presently she replied, Sweet, art thou jealous?
Thou canst not play Vulcan before I play Venus:
Thy fancies are foolish, such follies to gather:
There’s many an honest man has worn the Bulls feather.
Though it be invisible, let no man it scorn,
Though it be a new feather made of an old horn:
He that disdains it, in heart or mind either,
May be the more subject to wear the Bulls feather.
He that lives discontent, or in despair,
And feareth false measure, because his wife’s fair:
His thoughts are inconstant, much like winter weather
Though one or two want it, he shall have a feather.

Bulls feathers are common as Ergo in schools,
And only contemned by those that are fools:
Why should a Bulls feather cause any unrest,
Since neighbours fare always is counted the best?
Those women wh’are fairest, are likeliest to give it;
And husbands that have them, are apt to believe it.
Some men though their wives should seem for to tether,
They would play the kind neighbour, and give the Bulls feather.
Why should we repine that our wives are so kind,
Since we that are husbands, are of the same mind?
Shall we give them feathers, and think to go free?
Believe it, believe it, that hardly will be.
For he that disdains my Bulls feather today,
May light of a Lass that will play him foul play.
There’s ne’er a proud Gallant that treads on Cows leather,
But he may be cornuted, and wear the Bulls feather.
Though beer of that brewing I never did drink,
Yet be not displeased if I speak what I think:
Scarce ten in a hundred, believe it, believe it,
But either they’ll have it, or else they will give it.

Then let me advise all those that do pine,
For fear that false Jealousie shorten their time;
That disease will torment them worse then any fever:
Then let all be contented, and wear the Bulls feather.