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.
The Marriage Song, Called In and Out
By Richard Brathwaite (1588?–1673)
(From A Strappado for the Devil, 1615)

HA, have I catched you: prethee sweet-heart show,
If so thou canst, who is in Turn-ball now?
Dost smile my precious one? Nay I must know,
There is no remedy, then tell me how;
What my ingenuous cheat, dost laugh to see,        5
All former jars turn to an harmony,
So generally applauded? true thou may,
The Night is past, and now appears the day,
Full of true jouisance; long was thy suit,
Ere ’twas effected, being in and out,        10
Vowing and breaking, making many an oath,
Which now I hope’s confirmed by you both.
O how I clip thee for it? since thy name,
Is there renewed, which first defam’d the same,
For (hear me Bride-groom) thou by this shalt save        15
Thy self a Title: I will raze out knave,
Dishonest lover: vow infringing swain,
And say thou cease to love, that thou again
Might love more fervent, being taught to woo,
And wooing do what Silk-worms use to do;        20
Who does surcease from labour now and then,
That after rest the better they might spin.
  Spin then (my pretty Cobweb) let me see,
How well thy Bride likes thy activity.
That when she sees thy cunning, she may say;        25
“Why now I’m pleas’d for all my long delay;
Play that stroke still, there’s none that here can let thee,
For none there is can better please thy Bettie.
O there (my dear) I hope thou’le nere give o’er,
Why might not this been done as well before?        30
Nay faint not man, was Bettie so soon won,
That her short pleasure should be so soon done.
Nay then come up, are marriage joys so short,
That Maidenheads are lost with such small sport?”
This if she say (as this she well may say)        35
  Like a good Gamester hold her still out play.
First night at least wise, and it will be hard,
But she will love the better afterward.
Whence is the Proverb (as it hath been said)
Maidens love them that have their maidenhead:        40
  Come then, my lad, of metal make resort,
Unto the throne of love thy Bettie’s fort.
There plant thy Cannon siege her round about.
Be sure (my Boy) she cannot long hold out.
Erect thy standard, let her tender breast,        45
Be thy pavilion: where thou takes thy rest.
Let her sweet-rosy Breath such joys bestow,
That in that vale of Paradise below,
Thou may collect thy joys to be far more,
Than any mortal ever had before.        50
Yet hear me friend, if thou secure wilt be,
Observe these rules which I prescribe to thee.
Be not horn jealous, it will make thee mad,
Women will have it if it may be had.
Nor can a jealous eye prevent their sport,        55
For if they lov’t far will they venter for’t.
Suppose her straying beauty should be led,
To the embraces of another’s bed,
Wilt thou Acteon-like thy hour-glass spend,
In moaning that thou never canst amend?        60
No, my kind friend, if thoul’t be ruled by me,
I’d have thee wink at that which thou dost see,
Shading thy wife’s defects with patient mind,
Seeing, yet seeming to the world blind.
For tell me, friend, what harm is there in it?        65
If then being cloyd, another have a bit?
Which thou may spare, and she as freely give,
Believe me, friend, thou hast no cause to grieve.
For though another in thy saddle ride,
When he is gone, there’s place for thee beside,        70
Which thou may use at pleasure, and it end,
Reserve a pretty morsel for thy friend.
Let not thy reason then be counter-bufft,
Nor think thy pillow with horn-shavings stuft,
If’t be thy destiny to be a monster,        75
Thou must be one, if no, how ere men conster.
Thou may remain secure, exempt from shame,
Though meagre Envy aggravate the same.
For this has been my firm position still,
The husband’s horns be in the woman’s will.        80

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