Archive for August 19th, 2017

Marion’s Dream!

August 19, 2017

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

Marion’s Dream

How foolish is’t in them who say,
That what we think on all the day
Whether it gives us pain or joy,
Doth still our nightly thoughts employ;
Since priests will in their thoughts blaspheme,
And holy nuns of lewdness dream;
Although their thoughts, from morn to even,
Are fixed on nothing else but heaven.
Nay Protestants, who pass their time
Without once thinking on a crime,
And are of every sin afraid,
By wanton dreams may be betrayed.

For proof of this, a man I knew
In Edinburgh, named honest Hugh,
Who, though his drink he kindly took,
Put on a sanctified look!
For which some wicked men, in spite,
Would call him Hugh the hypocrite.

This man had got a zealous wife,
For virtue famed and holy life:
Who loved her spouse, with all her heart,
Nor from her duty did depart.

One night (What I’m to tell is true),
The dame with laughing wakened Hugh:
Who, vexed to have his slumbers broke,
Thus to his wife half-yawning, spoke: —
“My dear, I wish you would delay
“Your ill-timed mirth till break of day.”
“Alas!” she cried, “My dream’s so droll,
“I can’t forbear it for my soul;
“I dreamed that I and Lucky Keith
“Were standing on the shore of Leith
“As is our custom every year,
“When a fine ship comes to the pier:
“But judge, my dear, with what surprise
“We looked, when just before our eyes,
“We saw the captain on the deck,
“Who sold still p—–les by the peck,
“Some large, some small, some middle-sized,
“But I, who still the greatest prized,
“Picked out a bushel of the best,
“And threw to green-sick girls at rest.”
” ‘Twas wisely done, indeed,” said Hugh,
“But pray, good Marion, tell me true,
“Did you see any p——k so fine,
“So large, so long, so stiff as mine?”

“As yours,” replied the laughing wife,
“I swear to you, my dearest life,
“In choosing mine I threw a peck
“Of better p—–ks quite over deck.”

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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