The Filthy Beast!

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!

The Filthy Beast

A bachelor of some forty-nine,
A foe to love, a friend to wine,
Had led an honest soaking life,
Without the burden of a wife.
But, as he found his age come on,
He likewise found his money gone;
No business he understood,
And, wanting drink, and wanting food,
To a widow full of years and pelf,
He prudently addressed himself.

“Widow,” said he, “I’m come to woo,
“Yet know not what to say or do:
“I’m forty years, nay, something more,
“But never was in love before:
“Yet I have tried the wanton game,
“And think that I can please a dame:
“My limbs are brawny, nose is long,
“My shoulders broad, my back is strong;
“And I have ever lived in health,
“Thus I have told you all my wealth:
“To cheat a widow I’d be loath,
“But you’ve enough to serve us both.”

At this discourse she was amazed,
And at the spark with wonder hazed;
For, though advanced in years, the dame
Was a great lover of the game:
Yet she had never gone astray,
But loved it in a lawful way;
And her last husband often told,
She bribed him to it with her gold:
Yet she was such a hypocrite,
As still to rail at the delight;
And call him Filthy Beast, when she
Was happy to the last degree.

But in his grave he now was laid,
And she, poor woman, was afraid;
Since youth was gone, she would no more
Enjoy the bliss as heretofore.
But when the bachelor told his tale,
Her wrinkled cheeks grew red and pale;
Her heart within her bosom burned,
And all her former lust returned:
A trembling seized on every limb,
And faltering, thus she spoke to him: —
“Kind Sir, if you the truth have told,
“You’re welcome to me and my gold:
“I shall be yours this very day,
“Let’s go to church, I hate delay.”

The jolly lover was content,
And hand in hand away they went:
The honest parson tied them fast,
And longed-for night arrived at last:

Two candles near the bed were placed,
That from the room the darkness chased:
The doting bride believed the light,
Would raise their joy to greater height;
And fondly thought is was her charms,
That made him court her to his arms;
Although the man had fairly told,
His love was mostly for her gold.

To bed they went, the lustful bride
No longer could her wishes hide;
But whispered softly in his ear,
“Begin the sport, begin, my dear:
“I’m ready for you, pray make haste,”
Then clasped him kindly round the waist;
And looking down beheld a sight,
That filled her heart with great delight:
On that, old goody backwards fell,
What happened next I cannot tell:
But she declared, upon her life,
Though she had been four times a wife,
Such real joys she never had felt,
Nor had with such a husband dealt.
She kissed his bosom, lips and eyes,
And viewed his member with surprise:
While he, to show he was a man,
The wanton play again began.
She called him wicked lustful beast,
Yet hugged him closely to her breast.

He thought that this might well suffice,
And never designed to do it thrice;
But laying tamely by her side,
He, smiling, said, “Pray tell me, bride,
“Was your last spouse a man of might?
“Could he perform thus twice to-night,
“As I have done?” — “Alas!” she cried,
“That husband would not be denied,
“He did it nine times at the least;
“It’s true he was a filthy beast,”
The bridegroom sadin, and gave a nod,
“A very filthy beast, by G–d!”

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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2 Responses to “The Filthy Beast!”

  1. frallen2002 Says:

    Yeah, not all 18th Century poetry was lofty, and certainly not always prudish. Ever read Alexander Pope?

  2. Tom Rink Says:

    No, I’ve never read him, perhaps I will give him a try.

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