Verse > Anthologies > T. R. Smith, ed. > Poetica Erotica: A Collection of Rare and Curious Amatory Verse
T. R. Smith, comp.  Poetica Erotica: Rare and Curious Amatory Verse.  1921–22.
A Cuckold with a Witnesse
By Richard Brathwaite (1588?–1673)
(From A Strappado for the Devil, 1615)

A WILY wench there was (as I have read)
Who us’d to capricorn her husband’s head,
Which he suspecting, lay in private wait,
To catch the knave, and keep his wife more straight.
But all in vain: they day by day did mate it,        5
Yet could his four eyes never take them at it.
This subtle wench perceiving how they should
At last prevented be, do all they could:
For now Italian-like her husband grew,
Horn-mad I wish, and kept her in a Mew.        10
Invent’d a trick, which to accomplish better,
Unto her friend she closely sent a letter,
And thus it was; Friend you shall know by me,
My husband keeps me far more narrowly
Then he was wont, so as to tell you true,        15
You cannot come to me; nor I to you.
Yet spite of his eyes and as many more,
We’ll use those pleasures which we used before:
Only be wise, and second what I wish:
Which to express (my friend) know this it is.        20
My husband as he hates the horns to wear,
Of all the Badges forth, so fears he’th Bear,
More than all other Beasts which do frequent
The healthy Forests spacious continent.
If thou wilt right me then, and pepper him,        25
Cover thy servant in a false Bear’s skin.
And come tomorrow, as thou used before,
Tying thy servant to my chamber door.
After this quaint direction he attired
His man in bear-skin as she had desir’d:        30
Entering the chamber he received is
With many a smile, back-fall, and sweetened kiss:
For they’re secure, of all that was before,
Having a Bear that kept the Buff from door.
The wittol fool no sooner inkling had,        35
Then up the stairs he ran as he were mad.
But seeing none but th’ Bear to entertain him,
Of Horns he never after did complain him.

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