The Crystal Bottle!

Here is another poem generally attributed to Thomas, the sixth Earl of Harrington (originally printed circa 1730).  Enjoy!

In Ormond Street, the other day,
A lady, who as people say,
Did scold her maids like any shrew,
Nay, very often beat them too;
Had got a maid so country bred,
That she still had her maidenhead.

Whenever her mistress raised her voice,
She trembled at the dreadful noise,
And wished that quarter-day was come,
For much she longed to be at home.

Her lady called on Sunday last,
“You Bridget, Bridget, run in haste,
“And from Lamb’s Conduit, bring me quick
Some water, for I’m very sick.”
Poor Biddy, all in terror, shook,
And up a crystal bottle took;
Away she ran, alack the day!
A cursed stone lay in her way,
And just as she had reached the well,
Down she and the crystal bottle fell.

As Phaeton, that head-strong fool,
Who wanted wit and strength to rule
His father’s steed, looked from on high,
And saw the earth, the sea, the sky,
All in a blaze, and thundering Jove,
Armed with his lightning, stand above,
All pointed at his destined head,
Whose burst he knew would strike him dead.
So looked poor Biddy, when she found
The shattered crystal on the ground;
Too well her lady’s way she knew,
That all excuses, false or true,
Would be in vain; in deep despair
She beat her breast, and tore her hair.

“Alas!” she cried, “There’s not in nature
“So lost and so undone a creature:
“Whither, ah! whither shall I fly?”
A handsome ‘prentice standing by.
And seeing Biddy all in grief,
Came kindly up to her relief;
He saw the girl was wondrous fair,
Black were her eyes, and brown her hair,
Upon her cheeks sat blooming youth,
And charming was her little mouth: —
Uncovered was her lovely breast,
That swelled, as wanting to be pressed.
She seemed so formed to give delight,
That Dick was wounded with the sight.

“My dear,” said he, “I can’t conceive,
“Why one so fair as you should grieve,”
“Alas!” she cried, “I am undone,”
While from her eyes two torrents run;
“I, by my cruel stars, am cursed,
“To serve of womankind the worst;
“Do well or ill, ’tis all the same,
“I cannot please the surly dame;
“Although I give her no offence.
“Yet she will take  the least pretense,
“To rail and scold, nay, beat me too,
“And make my sides both black and blue;
“Think,then, what welcome I shall meet,
“When I return to Ormand Street;
“To tell the glass she thought so fine,
“Doth shattered on the pavement shine?
“The dreadful thought I cannot bear;
“No, death shall ease me of my care,
”  ‘Tis better far at once to die,
“Than bear her cruel tyranny;
” ‘Tis death alone can cure my grief,
“To death I fly to seek relief.”

“Alas!” said Dick, “My charming fair,
“Why give you way to this despair?
“Would you, who ought to live in joy,
“With your own hands yourself destroy?
“Take courage, fair one, I shall  find
“Another bottle of that kind.”

“No, no,” she cried, ” ‘Tis all in vain,
” ‘Tis death alone can ease my pain.”
Young Dick replied, “Though you must die
“Yet I can see no reason why
“You’d kill yourself , since doctors tell,
“Self-murderers go down to hell;
“But if you are resolved on killing,
“I’ll do it, dear, if you are willing.”

With joy fair Bridget gave consent
And Richard on her murder bent,
Behind a quickset led the fair,
To end her life and end her care;
There laid her down amongst the dew,
And ran poor Biddy through and through.

To those oppressed with woe and grief,
Death is alone the sure relief;
At first fair Bridget lost her sight;
She fainted, then she died outright.

But when returned to life again,
Her heart knew neither grief nor pain;
“Kind Sir,” cried out the panting fair,
“If thus you cure a maid’s despair,
“My lady in a week or two,
“Will have no bottles, old or new.”

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