The Dream, Part Two!

Here is the continuation of “The Dream” generally attributed to Thomas, the sixth Earl of Harrington (circa 1730).  The first part of this poem poem was posted yesterday.  Enjoy!

The Dream (Part 2)

. . . continued from Part 1 one which was posted yesterday.

Though retched poor, it raised his pride
To look upon his lovely bride;
For, troth, to give the slut her due,
Leah was young and lovely too;
But soon she did some freedom take,
Made Edward’s heart and forehead ache;
For in the camp she often went,
To see the captain in his tent.

On this poor Ned held down his head,
He thought enough, but nothing said;
With care and jealousy oppressed,
He lost his stomach and his rest:
He watcher her actions all the day,
And in his arms she nightly lay:
Three men lay in the tent beside
Our soldier and his wanton bride;
But he, to make the matter sure,
And Leah from all harm secure,
And his own cuckoldom prevent,
Made her lie inmost in the tent.

Ned, with his caution pleased, began
To think himself a cunning man:
But men who take the greatest care,
The fate of others often share.

Ye husbands, be assured of this,
Whenever your wives incline to kiss,
They’ll do it spite of all your skill,
And cuckold you whenever they will:
So when they mean to go astray,
In God’s name let them have their way,
With Leah this was just the case,
Though lying nightly, face to face,
With cautious Edward, yet her spark
Came slyly to her in the dark,
And from the tent stole out a pin,
Then slipped part of his body in,
Attacking Leah in the rear,
Though in her arms she held her dear.

Thus did she pass in joy the night,
And gave the captain great delight:
Her happy Edward’s heart was free
From any kind of jealousy:
For Leah grew sedate and grave,
And like a matron did behave;
Yet thus her nights in love employed,
Nor was the loving captain cloyed.

But they were once in mighty fear;
For as the lover left the rear,
Quite satisfied with amorous joys,
The husband waked, and heard the noise;
And, turning to the other side,
Blind fortune did his fingers guide
On what to Leah gave delight,
And made him cuckold every night:
The captain quickly left the tent,
And to his own in silence went.

But Edward’s heart began to ache,
Till his chaste Leah seemed to wake,
Who, to avoid domestic strife,
Thus artfully began: — “My life,
“I’ve had a dream so very odd,
“I wish it may no mischief bode;
“I dreamed a dog was in the tent,
“Who to my buttocks straightway went,
“And licked about a certain part;
“The fright had waked me in a start;
“Did you ever hear a dream so odd?”
“It was,” said he, “No dream, by G-d;
“For I profess to you, my dear,
“The saucy cur was just now here;
“For in my hand his tongue I got,
“And would have torn it from his throat
“For licking at the place he did.
“But that it through my fingers slid.”

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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