Self-Denied, Part Three!

Here is the continuation of “Self-Denied” generally attributed to Thomas, the sixth Earl of Harrington (circa 1730).  The first part of this poem poem was posted Friday, the second part was posted yesterday, and this the final part is posted today.  Enjoy!

The Self-Denied (Part 3)

. . . continued from Part 2 which was posted yesterday.

“But how can John that law obey,
“When you are cross, and answer nay?
“Believe me, Mary, you are wrong,
“Your body doth to John belong;
“And it is sin if you refuse
“What he by law is free to use.
“My godly wife, and all the wives
“In Glasgow, who lead praying lives,
“Whenever their husbands think it fit,
“Most cheerfully in this submit:
“You now have changed your stage of life,
“Then be a kind complying wife.”

‘Twas thus the reverend man advised,
Nor was his good advice despised;
Sweet Mary thanked him for his care,
And begged that they might join in prayer,
For asking counsel and direction,
For conduct and divine protection.

He prayed, and then the virgin bride
Confessed that she was edified;
That, by the help of grace and prayer,
She had got light in this affair;
So, after Mr. Clark was gone,
And she and spouse were left alone,
she warmly kissed the loving man,
And, smiling on him, thus began: —
“Dear friend, I have been in the wrong,
“Bit will not so continue long,
“The holy man was in the right,
“I’ll do what you desire at night;
“But if, till then, you’re loath to stay
“You only have the word to say,
“I know my duty’s to obey.
“Your purpose you may now fulfill,
“And use your hand-maid as you will.”

The husband’s heart was full of joy,
To find the bride no longer coy,
Yet did not dally,  like a fool,
To give the fair one time to cool:
but, with a thousand kisses, led
The silent Mary to the bed,
Where like a lamb she passive lay,
For she knew nothing of the way:
But soon he did her legs divide,
And in a moment made the bride
Cry out, “for God and Heaven’s sake John,
“O let! O let the thing along!
“Is this the conjugal delight?
“O cruel John, you kill me quite;”
“But now, ’tis in, ’tis in,” she cried,
“If God, by this, were glorified,
“And if it were for your soul’s gain,
“Though verily it gave me pain,
“I’d wish it never came out 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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