Well Judged, Final Part!

Here is the next installment of poetry generally attributed to Thomas, the sixth Earl of Harrington (circa 1730).

Well Judged, Part 4 (Final)

The alderman was well content,
And for his charming daughters sent,
To whom he told what Dick had said,
And hoped they would not be afraid,
Since sure it would be no hard task,”
To answer what his friend would ask,
And begged, since one must be the bride,
They’d lay all bashfulness aside.

The maids consented;Dick on this,
Of each fair sister took a kiss;
These kisses set his heart on fire,
And in him raised such strong desire,
That he stood trembling and amazed,
And on each lovely charmer gazed.

The masks were fixed, and Dick begun: —
“I wish dear ladies, I could shun
“The asking questions, but I find
“I am so much to all inclined,
“That, in my soul, I can’t agree
“Who is the dearest of the three;
Whoever I get, I’m sure of joys,
“Yet I’m confounded in my choice;
“But since you generously submit,
“To make a trial of your wit,
“Forgive me, fair ones, then, if I
“Hour knowledge by a question try;
“And pardon me, if to your ears
“The question something odd appears: —
“Whether the mouth that’s in your face,
“Or that in a more hidden place,
“The eldest is?  Who answers best,
“Shall triumph in my happy breast,
“A reason why she so believes.”

The masks their rosy cheeks concealed,
While blushing necks their shame revealed.

The first born  daughter said, “In truth
“I think the eldest is my mouth,
“Since in it there are teeth of bone,
“In that below I’m sure are non.”

The second said, “The seat of love
“Is eldest, for the mouth above
“Upon its lips no hair cna show,
“But I have got a beard below;”
And added, with an air so sage,
“Is not a beard a sign of age?”

The youngest sister, smiling, said,
“I’m but a young and silly maid;
“But yet I think the mouth above
“Is elder than the seat of love;
“And what I say I thus evince, —
“My upper mouth was weaned long since,
“And flesh, and fish, and bones can eat,
“But that below longs for the teat.”

Richard on this embraced the fair,
And for the youngest did declare.
He married her with great content
And never did his choice repent.

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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