The Adventure, Part One!

Here is the next installment of poetry generally attributed to Thomas, the sixth Earl of Harrington (circa 1730).  Check back tomorrow for the conclusion to this poem.  Enjoy!

The Adventure

Whoever has at London been,
Must sure have heard of, if not seen,
A strapping maid of quality,
Full five fee and nine inches high,
Whose chiefest pleasures are to vex
The men, and kiss the other sex;
In blooming beauties takes delight,
And passes many a happy night
Within their arms; but, I declare,
I cannot guess what she doth there.

Bur sure she has some hidden charms
To draw the females to her arms,
Else Mistress Jane could never make
A loving wife her spouse forsake;
And from his warm embraces fly,
To run to her’s, and useless lie;
But wherein this, her power consists,
I’ll leave to skilled anatomists.

To prove what I have said is truth,
A lady in the bloom of youth,
By mankind gazed on with surprise,
For shape, for face, for brilliant eyes;
Who in each bosom raised a flame,
And conquered wheresoever she came,
Yet all her lovers sighed in vain;
She viewed their ardors with disdain,
And to her spouse continued true,
Who fonder by enjoyment grew;
Till Mrs. Jane’s prevailing charms
Raised in her soul such strange alarms,
That from her husband she withdrew,
And wedlock joys insipid grew.
She did her loving mate despise,
And looked on men with scornful eyes;
But, soon as Mrs. Jane appeared,
From clouds and frowns her brow was cleared.
Her sparkling eyes were all on fire,
Her bosom heaved with strong desire;
Each look, and all she did, betrayed
Her passion for the man-like maid.
Her husband, without discontent,
Beheld a flame so innocent,
He saw them hug, he saw them kiss,
He heard them talk  of joy and bliss,
Of friendship, and the Lord knows what,
Never dreaming what they would be at;
And, far from doubting any plot,
Was glad his wife a friend had got,
With whom she might employ her time,
Free from suspicion of a crime.

At last the fair, and Mrs. Jane,
Resolved for once to shift the scene,
To leave the hurry of the court,
And to some rural seat resort;
Where they might follow on their loves,
Near purling brooks and shady groves.

The fearless husband gave consent,
And to this seat the lovers went,
Where, uncontrolled, they sport and kiss,
And passed their nights and days in bliss.

One day Miss Jane forsook her bed,
And the half-wearied fair one led,
To view the beauties of the spring,
And hear the birds their carols sing;
And there, beneath a flowery lime,
In songs and kisses passed their time.
The meadows Flora’s livery wore,
And every tree its blossoms bore:
There they did feast their ravished sense,
The flowers their native sweets dispense;
The warbling birds did strain their throats,
To charm their ears with tuneful notes;
Wood strawberries delight their taste,
A delicate, though rural feast:
A charming prospect filled their eyes,
That gave them pleasure and surprise:
And Mrs. Jane knew well the art,
To make the touch delight the heart.

To be 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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