The Way to Learn!

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 Way to Learn

I’ve heard it said, in Lei-ster-shire,
There lived a young and simple squire,
Who, led by custom, took a wife,
To be the comfort of his life.
The maid was young and wonderous fair,
And had a most engaging air:
The brainless squire believed that he
Was happy to the last degree:
All day he gazed upon her charms,
And nightly locked her in his arms.

Madam, who wished for something more,
The sheets for very anger tore,
A week this joyless life she led,
And only shared her husband’s bed;
Till, quite overcome with discontent,
She to the honest parson went.

“Kind Sir,” said she, oppressed with grief,
“I come to you to ask relief;
” ‘Twas you, who, at my friends’ desire,
“Did join me to this booby squire:
“Eight days I’ve been his wife, and more,
“Yet I’m a virgin as before:
“No sort of joy with him I find,
“He doth not serve me after kind:
“He either manhood wants, or skill,
“Since I am what I told you still.”

” ‘Tis very hard,” the parson said,
“That one so fair should be  amaid,
“Yet have a hynband; on my life,
“If I had got you for a wife;
“That moment I had got to bed,
“You should have lost your maidenhead:
“I had employed the precious time,
“And taught you joys that are sublime:
“But, since it was not Heaven’s decree,
“Pray send your idle spouse to me;
“I shall instruct him in the art,
“And make him act a husband’s part.”
Away she ran in great content,
And to the priesst her husband sent;
Where being seated by the fire,
The parson siad, “My worthy squuire,
“To me you make a goodly figure,
“And seem to be a man of vigor;
“How do you like a married life?
“And which way to dyou use your wife?
“I hope the nuptial joys you’ve tried.”
To this the simple squire replied:
“Great are my joys, I must confess,
“No language can my joys express:
“All day I hug, all day I kiss,
“And toy away my hours in bliss;
“All night within my arms she lies,
“I kiss her bosom, lips, and eyes;
“Like lambs or kids we sportful play,
“And harmless pass our time away.”

The parson shook his head at this,
And siad, “If you do nought but kiss,
“Small entertainment she will find;
“Do you never serve her after kind?”

The squire, at this, astonished sat,
And asked him what he meant by that.

The parson at his dullness stared,
and bid him look out in the yard.
“Behold,” said he, “that turkey-cock,
“Who doth you want of knowledge mock;
“I beg you would his actions mind,
“He serves his female after kind:
“Should brutes more wisdom have than you,
“And teach your worship what to do?”

The squire beheld the cock with wonder
And saw him hold his female under:
He thanked the parson for his care,
And to his dearest did repair.
“My life,” said he, “I blush for shame,
“And freely own I’ve been to blame;
“For, though I doted on your charms,
“And held you in my loving arms;
“In duty I have been behind,
“And never served you after kind;
“From ignorance my error sprung,
“You know I’m thoughtless, simple, young;
“The parson, blessings on his heart,
“Has shown me how to play my part.”

This said, he gave a kind embrace,
And turned the fair one on her face;
Her hairhe in his teeth did seize,
And punched her buttocks with his knees;
All that he saw the turkey do,
He did, and made her black and blue.

The offended wife cried out with pain,
And begged he’d see the priest again;
“But lest, my dear, that you should make
“Another blunder or mistake,
“I’ll go with yo;” he was content,
And to the parson joyful went.

He welcomed them; the squire begun,
And, lauging, told what he had done;
“Like any turkey-cock I trod,”
But angry madam gave a nod,
And said, “The wicked man says true,
“He trod my limbs both black and blue,
“And now you see my sorrow mocks:
“Pray what care I for turkey-cocks?
“He’s very dull, it never will do,
“Unless he’s better taught by you.”

The wanton parson took the hint,
And smiling, said, “The devil’s in’t,m
“(Since my advice and precepts fail)
“If demonstration don’t prevail:
“Good squire, look well on what I do,
“And, if this method you pursue,
“You shall the joys of wedlock find,
“And serve my lady after kind.”

No more be said, but gravely led
The willing fair one to the bed;
Upon her back he laid her down,
Pulled up her petticoat and gown,
And every thing lay in his way,
Then did begin the wanton play.
While thus they did themselves employ,
The attentive squire looked on with joy:
He did not show the least concern.
But looked with a design to learn;
Each motion he observed with care:
But, when the parson and the fair
Entranced in height of rapture lay,
He knew not what to do or say;
He feared the happy pair were dead.
At last she faintly raised her head,
And said, “Sweet Doctor, I entreat
“You would again the joy repeat:
“Kind Sir, I tell you with concern,
“My husband’s dull and slow to learn;
“And what you’ve done will be in vain,
“Unless you show it once again.”

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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