Verse > Anthologies > T. R. Smith, ed. > Poetica Erotica: A Collection of Rare and Curious Amatory Verse
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T. R. Smith, comp.  Poetica Erotica: Rare and Curious Amatory Verse.  1921–22.
 
The Fair Lass of Islington
Anonymous
 
(From Pills to Purge Melancholy, 1707)

THERE was a Lass of Islington,
  As I have heard many tell;
And she would to Fair London go,
  Fine Apples and Pears to sell;
And as along the Streets she flung,        5
  With her basket on her Arm;
Her Pears to sell, you may know it right well,
  This fair Maid meant no harm.
 
But as she tript along the Street,
  Her pleasant Fruit to sell;        10
A Vintner did with her meet,
  Who liked this Maid full well:
Quoth he, fair Maid, what have you there?
  In Basket decked brave;
Fine Pears, quoth she, and if it please ye,        15
  A taste, Sir, you shall have.
 
The Vintner he took a Taste,
  And liked it well, for why;
This Maid he thought of all the rest,
  Most pleasing to his Eye:        20
Quoth he, fair Maid I have a Suit,
  That you to me must grant;
Which if I find you be so kind,
  Nothing that you shall want.
 
Thy Beauty doth so please my Eye,        25
  And dazzles so my sight;
That now of all my Liberty,
  I am deprived quite:
Then prithee now consent to me,
  And do not put me by;        30
It is but one small courtesie,
  All Night with you to lie.
 
Sir, if you lie with me one Night,
  As you propound to me;
I do expect that you should prove,        35
  Both courteous, kind, and free:
And for to tell you all in short,
  It will cost you Five Pound,
A Match, a Match, the Vintner said,
  And so let this go round.        40
 
When he had lain with her all Night,
  Her Money she did crave,
O stay, quoth he, the other Night,
  And thy Money thou shalt have:
I cannot stay, nor I will not stay,        45
  I needs must now be gone,
Why then thou may’st thy Money go look,
  For Money I’ll pay thee none.
 
This Maid she made no more ado,
  But to a Justice went;        50
And unto him she made her moan,
  Who did her Case lament:
She said she had a Cellar Let out,
  To a Vintner in the Town;
And how that he did then agree        55
  Five Pound to pay her down.
 
But now, quoth she, the Case is thus,
  No Rent that he will pay;
Therefore your Worship I beseech,
  To send for him this Day:        60
Then straight the Justice for him sent,
  And asked the Reason why;
That he would pay the Maid no Rent?
  To which he did Reply,
 
Although I hired a Cellar of her,        65
  And the Possession was mine?
I ne’er put any thing into it,
  But one poor Pipe of Wine:
Therefore my Bargain it was hard,
  As you plainly see;        70
I from my Freedom was Debarred,
  Then, good Sir, favour me.
 
This Fair Maid being ripe of Wit,
  She straight Reply’d again;
There were two Butts more at the Door,        75
  Why did you not roll them in?
You had your Freedom and your Will,
  As is to you well known;
Therefore I do desire still,
  For to receive my own.        80
 
The Justice hearing of their Case,
  Did then give Order straight;
That he the Money should pay down,
  She should no longer wait:
Withal he told the Vintner plain        85
  If he a Tenant be;
He must expect to pay the same,
  For he could not sit Rent-free.
 
But when the Money she had got,
  She put it in her Purse:        90
And clapt her Hand on the Cellar Door,
  And said it was never the worse:
Which caused the People all to Laugh,
  To see this Vintner Fine:
Out-witted by a Country Girl,        95
  About his Pipe of Wine.
 
 
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