Miss and the Parson!

Here is the next installment of poetry generally attributed to Thomas, the sixth Earl of Harrington (circa 1730).  This particular poem will be continued with the second and final part tomorrow.  Enjoy!

Miss and the Parson

One day I with a lady sat,
Passing the time in harmless chat;
The parson, and her daughter by,
And none besides but she and I.
The daughter was but just fifteen,
A sprightly girl as ever was seen;
Was finely shaped, had sparkling eyes,
And her white breasts began to rise.
By Nature formed for soft delight,
While blooming looks to love invite,
Wit so much beauty, so much fire,
She could not fail to raise desire
In youthful breasts; but, for my part,
She did no damage to my heart;
For mine was fixed long time ago,
And con no alteration know.
By age and much experience taught,
I now can tell a woman’s thought;
I saw that miss was ill at ease,
And too much worn with her disease;
She yawned and stretched, and could not rest,
While glowing cheeks her fire confessed;
But yet with so much ife she spoke,
That every sentence was a joke.

The parson was a learned man,
And an instructive speech began;
To miss he gave some grave advice,
And railed at every kind of vice.

“Women,” shad he, (I’m sure I’m right),
“Should strive against love with all their might;
“To that wild passion women owe
“The many sorrows that they know:
“When love gets into youthful veins,
“It breaks the heart or turns the brains;
“And virgins often are pursuing,
“What gotten brings them certain ruin:
“How many of them have been seen
“Undone before they were fifteen?”

“Pray, stop a while,” said antry Miss;
“Good doctor, talk no more of this;
“More are undone by chalk and lime,
“Than by sweet love at any time;
“And fools grown old, still disapprove,
“Of what they are not fit for — love.”
“Ah, Miss!” said he, “You are but young,
“And therefore should restrain your tongue;
” ‘Tis age and knowledge makes me talk;
“Believe me, fair one, eating chalk,
“Oatmeal, or plaster, candle-ends,
“Or any trash that most offends
“A healthy palate, yet is good,
“Compared to love, the worst of food:
“It fills yount virgins’ heads with humors,
“And swells their wombs with two-legged tumors.”

“Good doctor,” sadi teh lively lass,
“Your bragging shows you are an ass;
“think you that I will lose my bloom?
“Or leading apes will be my doom?
“Know, reverend Sir, I’m full fifteen,
“And never had the sickness green;
“Nor never shall while there are men,
“If one suffice not, I’ll have ten;
“Think you I’ll fast when I can feast,”
“O times! O manners:” sadi the priest;
“I hope in Heaven you only jest.”

“No, Sir,” said she, “I tell the truth,
“I’m young, and will not lose my youth;
“I guess what loving is, though I
“The act of love did never try:
“But to convince you that I shall,
“I’ll show you I have wherewithal.”
Then to the parson showed a sight,
That made him lose his temper quite.

Mamma her wanton daughter blamed,
And wondered she was not ashamed;
Saying “It was a silly pride
“To show what Nature meant to hide.”

“Mamma, said she, “What he did spy,
“And, if he thinks I’ve done a crime,
“May hide itself another time.”

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 Mia 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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