Fifty Pounds Saved!

Here is the next installment of poetry generally attributed to Thomas, the sixth Earl of Harrington (circa 1730).  Enjoy!

Fifty Pounds Saved

A peer, some more than six foot high,
The soldier trade resolved to try:
He fondly fancied that his size,
Would make him in the army rise:
He of his valor much did boast,
And by his friends obtained a post.

My lord, with what was given, content,
Packed up his awls, to Flanders went:
Nor would my lady stay behind,
But, spite of wintry seas and wind,
Did with her husband risk her life,
To show her duty as a wife.
The voyage ended with content,
Her ladyship did stay at Ghent:
My lord stayed out a whole campaign,
Then to his wife returned again.

My lady was young, fresh, and gay,
And, while her husband was away,
Had passed her time in soft delights,
Mirth blessed her days, love crowned her nights.
Lovers she had, at least a dozen,
Amongst the rest his lordship’s cousin,
A gallant man, and handsome too,
Who never did successless woo;
Each day he to the fair one came,
And gave great pleasure to the dame.
But now her husband was returned,
For want of joy my  lady mourned:
They could not meet oft as they would,
Yet met as often as they could.

One night my lord came flustered home,
And sent in haste for cousin Tom:
He joyful came, as was desired;
They supped; the servants all retired.
My lady stayed, as may be guessed,
His lordship toasted to the best:
Tom on my lady stared, and smiled,
While she looked harmless as a child.

My lord a rantling speech began,
And over his perfections ran;
He praised himself for this and that,
And said, “Dear Tom, my, you know what,
“Is larger, nay, is longer too,
“Than what can be produced by you.”

The well-bred colonel, blushing sat,
Andm smiling, said, “How know you that?
“But ’tis not fit discourse, I think.”
My lord, who was overpowered with drink,
Believing this a great affront,
Said, “I’ll lay fifty pounds upon’t.”
The colonel said, “I’ll wager none,”
And begged he’d let the theme alone.
My lord insisted more and more,
And scarce from showing it forbore.

The dame could scarce from laughing hold,
Yet said, “My life, put up your gold.
“For such a bet some other choose,
“For were’t a million  you would lose.”

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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