Well Judged, Part 2!

Here is the next installment of poetry generally attributed to Thomas, the sixth Earl of Harrington (circa 1730).  This is part two of four.  The remaining two parts will be publish tomorrow and the day after.

Well Judged, Part 2

Down stairs they came, — and Richard swore,
He never beheld such charms before;
Beauty and youth, and every grace,
Alike adorned each smiling face;
A sprightliness in all appeared,
And every look his bosom cheered;
His soul was ravished with delight,
And fluttered at the joyous sight.

And now they all at dinner sat,
And passed their time in merry chat,
But love had rifled Richard’s quiet,
And made him quite neglect his diet;
By turns the sisters he surveyed,
And thus at length his wit displayed.

“The haughty wife of thundering Jove,
“Minerva, and the Queen of Love,
“Three goddesses (as we are told),
“From heaven came, in days of old;
“The prize of beauty was the end,
“That made the goddesses descend,
“Since Discord had an apple given,
“That much disturbed the peace of heaven:
“For she, till then, had been a guest
“At every marriage, every feast;
“But with her endless malice tired,
“Her presence they no more desired,
“This so enraged the spiteful dame,
“That she to high Olympus came,
“And among the goddesses she threw
“A golden apple, then withdrew,
“And grinning said,’Let this be given,
“To her that fairest is in heaven.’ ”

“Each goddess strove to seize the fruit,
“And raised in heaven a great dispute;
“But when the three that I have named,
“Each for herself the apple claimed.
“The lesser goddesses were mute,
“And left with grief the golden fruit;
“Yet would no god in heaven decree,
“Who had the advantage of the three.
“At last the gods desired that they
“To Ida’s mount would take their way,
“And there find out some shepherd youth,
“Whose untaught sould knew only truth,
“Free from ambition and from pride,
“Who only could the case decide.”

“O happy Paris! it was you
“Three naked goddesses did view,
“And to Love’s Queen gave up the prize;
“But spite of sense, and spite of eyes,
“If you had these bright sisters seen,
“The choice had not so easy been:
“You never had ended the dispute,
“Nor known to whom to give the fruit.”
Dick’s flattery all the maidens pleased,
While raptures on the father seized,
“Dear Dick,” he cried, “To tell the truth,
“Thou art a most bewitching youth;
“Whatever you do, with ease is done,
“I wish I had you for a son.
“And now, my friend, and daughters dear,
“To whatI say pray lend an ear:
“I wish, dear Richard, you’d agree,
“To take a wife out of the three;
“Ten thousand pounds to each I’ll give,
“And make it better if I live,
“And she on whom my Dicky pitches,
“Shall never complain for want of riches.”

. . .   to be continued.  Part three will be posted tomorrow!

Note: printed on the page following the title page was the following: “from a collection of poems that have been generally ascribed to Thomas, sixth Earl of Harrington. He was the son of Charles, the fifth Earl, and Margaret Lesslie, Countess of Rothes; and fought on the Royal side at the battle of Shirreffmuir, along with his brother John Lesslie, Earl of Rothes, and his own son, Lord Binning. These poems, according to Pinkerton, were printed about 1730, and have been reprinted in 1753, 1765, 1767, and 1777. He was also the author of a treatise on forest trees, which has gone through several editions. He died in 1735.” However, if these dates are correct (and I am by no means an expert historian in such matters), these poems could only have been written by either the first or second Earl of Harrington (William Stanhope and W.S. Jr.).


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