Self-Denied, 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 Self-Denied (Part 2)

. . . continued from Part 1 one which was posted yesterday, Part 3 will follow tomorrow.

The bridegroom, with her lecture vexed,
Said, “You have quite mistook the text;
“Else, tell me, Mary, where the sense
“Of giving due benevolence?”
Then quoted twenty scriptures more:
But she continued as before;
and, spite of all the bridegroom said,
Hoped in the Lord to die a maid:
She would her body keep from sin,
Not let the least defilement in.

Though John was young and full of vigor,
And Mary was a lovely figure.
He did not care to be at strife,
The very first night, with his wife;
And therefore let her rest till day,
then made another vain essay,
for godly Mary would not grant
To John the thing that John did want.

This much displeased the honest man,
Who dressed himself, and straightway ran
To Mr. Clark, and told his case,
How that his wife, mistaking grace,
The conjugal embrace denied,
Although in holy wedlock tied;
Then begged that he would let her know
That she did wrong in doing so.

The holy man first sighed, then said,
“I’ll commune with the erring maid,
“I hope, by scripture proofs, to make
“Sweet Mary part with her mistake:
“But I must tell you, honest friend,
“Her modesty I much commend:
“Since, trust me, John, ’tis very rare,
“To meet a woman young and fair,
“That can , in spite of titillation,
“Resist the lawful sweet temptation:
“‘Tis good to guard against the devil,
“And shun the appearances of evil.”

This said, conducted by her spouse,
Away he went to Mary’s house;
And, being left with her alone,
He thus begun: “Thy husband, John,
“Has made a sad complaint to me,
“That from his will you disagree,
“And that your body you deny,
“When he the wedlock joys would try;
“Mary, in this you are unjust,
“And what is lawful you call lust:
“The Lord did marriage institute,
“Ere eating the forbidden fruit;
“And Eve with Adam did agree,
“Else where had been posterity;
“You’ve heard how in a married life,
“The husband should cleave to the wife:

. . . continued tomorrow.

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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