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.
Constant, Fair and Fine Betty
Roxburghe Ballads
Being, The Young-man’s Praise of a Curious Creature

(Anonymous. From Vol. I)

 Fair she was, and fair indeed,
And constant always did proceed.

  NOW of my sweet Betty I must speak in praise;
  I never did see such a lass in my days:
  She is kind and loving, and constant to me:
  Wherefore I will speak of my pretty Betty.
  Betty is comely, and Betty is kind;        5
  Besides, she is pretty, and pleaseth my mind:
  She is a brave bonny lass, lovely and free;
  The best that ere was is my pretty Betty.
  Her hair it doth glister like to threads of gold;
  All those that do meet her admire to behold:        10
  Her they take for Juno, so glorious seems she,
  More brighter than Luna is pretty Betty,
  Her eyes they do twinkle like stars in the sky:
  She is without wrinkle; her forehead is high:
  Fair Venus for beauty the like cannot be;        15
  Thus I show my duty to pretty Betty.
  She hath fine cherry cheeks and sweet coral lips:
  There is many one seeks, love with kisses and clips;
  But she, like Diana, flies their company;
  She is my Tytana, my pretty Betty.        20
  Her chin it is dimpled, her visage is fair;
  She is finely templed; she is neat and rare;
  If Helen were living she could not please me;
  I joy in praise giving, my pretty Betty.
  Her skin white as snow, her breast soft as down,        25
  All her parts below they are firm and sound;
  She’s chaste in affection as Penelope.
  Thus ends the complexion of pretty Betty.
  Now of her conditions something I’ll declare,
  For some have suspicions, she’s false, being fair:        30
  But she’s not falsehearted in any degree;
  I’m glad I consorted with pretty Betty.
  Her words and her actions they are all as one,
  And all her affection is on me alone:
  She hates such as vary from true constancy;        35
  Long I must not tarry from pretty Betty.
  “Well met, my sweet honey, my joy and delight!
  Oh how hath my cony dove ere since last night?
  Oh what says my dearest,—what sayest to me?”
  Of all maids the rarest is pretty Betty.        40
SHE:  “Kind love, thou art welcome to me day and night;
  Why came you not home? I did long for your sight:
  My joy and my pleasure is only in thee:
  Thou art all the treasure of pretty Betty.
  “Hadst thou not come quickly I think I should die;        45
  For I was grown sickly, and did not know why.
  Now thou art my doctor and physic to me;
  In love thou art proctor for pretty Betty.
  “Sweet, when shall we marry and lodge in one bed?
  Long I cannot carry, not my maidenhead:        50
  And there’s none shall have the same, but only thee;
  ’Tis thee that I crave to love pretty Betty.”
HE:  “Bess, be thou contented, we’ll quickly be wed;
  Our friends are consented to all hath been said:
  Thou shalt be my wife ere much older I be,        55
  And I’ll lead my life with pretty Betty.”
  These lovers were married and immediately;
  And all was well carried; they lived lovingly:
  Let fair maids prove constant, like pretty Bessy,
  Fine Bess hath the praise on’t and worth it is she.        60

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