The Boots, Part Two!

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 Boots (Part 2)


‘Twas thus he told his amorous pain,
But all he said was spoke in vain;
For Judith, without frown or smle,
Stood listening to him all the while;
But when she saw that he was done,
She laughed aloud, and thus begun.

“Indeed, my friend, thou art deceived,
“If thou hast foolishly believed,
“Because that I was young and gay,
“And passed the time in mirth away;
“That therefore I was lewdly given,
“And did not fear the wrath of Heaven:
“My friend, thou art mistaken quite,
“For though in laughing I delight,
“I am not that abandoned fool,
“As ever to swerve from Virtue’s rule:
“I still shall laugh, and still be gay,
“And spite of all that thou can’st say,
“Shall lead an honest virtuous life,
“And be Ezekiel’s faithful wife:
“Although he is long past his youth,
“Believe me, friend, I speak the truth.”

The captain sighed at what she spoke,
Yet hoped the fair one was in joke;
But, to his grief, he found it true,
She never more complaisant grew;
And, though a thousand ways he tried,
Her virtue, was as oft denied:
‘Till, quite overcome with discontent,
One day he to the country went,
And with him took dog, gun, and net,
In hopes he might his love forget;
But while that Judith was unkind,
He could no sport or pleasure find;
so gave his tackle to his groom,
And straight returned to his room;
Where being come, he saw a sight,
That filled his soul with great delight;
‘Twas lovely Judith all alone,
Who, for a frolic, had put on
His winter boots; when this he spied,
The happy youth in raptures cried,
“You’re mine;” and, without more ado,
Upon the bed the charmer threw,
The lucky minute now was come,
Surprise had struck poor Judith dumb;
Upon the bed she speechless lay,
And let the captain take his way;
But what he did I do not know,
Ezekiel, who was set below,
Hearing the noise upon the floor,
Ran up, and, peeping through the door,
Beheld four legs upon the bed,
One pair in boots, and one in red,
Away he ran down stairs in haste,
As if by twenty devils chased:
The loving couple heard the noise,
And Judith knew her cuckold’s voice;
Away the fatal boots she threw,
Kissed the dear captain, and withdrew.
She found Ezekiel in the hall,
And feared he had discovered all.
Poor man, he shook from head to foot,
And muttered something of a boot;
While Judith trembled at his look,
Yet happily the cause mistook.

The captain too, came down the stair,
To see an end of this affair:
But old Ezekiel cried — “Avant!
“Out of my house, vile miscreant!
“You spoke of whoredom with despite,
“Yet arty thyself a Sodomite,
“And did that deed with a dragoon,
“That brought down fire on Sodom town:
“I saw the boots, too much I saw,
“Thy life if forfeit by the law;
“but if thou’lt leave this house to-day,
“Of what I’ve seen I’ll nothing say.”
The captain swore ’twas a mistake,
“I’m not,” said he, “so great a rake,
“I had a swimming in my head,
“That made me lie upon the bed;
:And, if you will go up the stair,
“You’ll find the boots still lying there.”

Away the wife and Ezekiel went,
He found the boots, and was content.

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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