Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Restoration Verse
William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Restoration Verse.  1910.
The Winchester Wedding
By Thomas D’Urfey (1653–1723)
Or, Ralph of Reading and Black Bess of the Green

AT Winchester was a wedding,
  The like was never seen,
’Twixt lusty Ralph of Reading
  And bonny Black Bess of the Green:
The fiddlers were crowding before,        5
  Each lass was as fine as a queen;
There was a hundred and more,
  For all the country came in:
Brisk Robin led Rose so fair,
  She looked like a lily o’ th’ vale,        10
And ruddy-faced Harry led Mary,
  And Roger led bouncing Nell.
With Tommy came smiling Katy,
  He helped her over the stile,
And swore there was none so pretty        15
  In forty and forty long mile:
Kit gave a green gown to Betty,
  And lent her his hand to rise;
But Jenny was jeered by Watty
  For looking blue under the eyes:        20
Thus merrily chatting all,
  They passed to the bride-house along,
With Johnny and pretty-faced Nanny,
  The fairest of all the throng.
The bride came out to meet ’em,        25
  Afraid the dinner was spoiled;
And ushered ’em in to treat ’em
  With baked and roasted and boiled:
The lads were so frolic and jolly,
  For each had his love by his side,        30
But Willy was melancholy,
  For he had a mind to the bride:
Then Philip begins her health
  And turns a beer-glass on his thumb;
But Jenkin was reckoned for drinking        35
  The best in Christendom.
And, now they had dined, advancing
  Into the midst of the Hall,
The fiddlers struck up for dancing
  And Jeremy led up the brawl;        40
But Margery kept a quarter,
  A lass that was proud of her pelf,
’Cause Arthur had stolen her garter
  And swore he would tie it himself:
She struggled, and blushed, and frowned,        45
  And ready with anger to cry,
’Cause Arthur, with tying her garter,
  Had slipped his hand too high.
And now, for throwing the stocking,
  The bride away was led;        50
The bridegroom got drunk and was knocking
  For candles to light ’em to bed:
But Robin, that found him silly,
  Most friendly took him aside,
The while that his wife with Willy        55
  Was playing at hopper’s-hide:
And now the warm game begins,
  The critical minute was come,
And chatting and billing and kissing
  Went merrily round the room.        60
Pert Stephen was kind to Betty,
  And blithe as a bird in the spring;
And Tommy was so to Katy,
  And married her with a rush-ring:
Sukey, that danced with the cushion,        65
  An hour from the room had been gone,
And Barnaby knew by her blushing
  That some other dance had been done:
And thus, of the fifty fair maids
  That came to the wedding with men,        70
Scarce five of the fifty was left ye
  That so did return again.

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