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 New Ballad upon a Wedding
(From Pills to Purge Melancholy, c. 1707)

THE SLEEPING Thames one Morn I crossed,
By two contending Charons tost;
    I Landed and I found,
By one of Neptune’s juggling Tricks,
Enchanted Thames was turned to Styx,        5
    Lambeth the Elysian Ground.
The Dirty Linkboy of the Day,
To make himself more fresh and gay,
    Had spent five Hours, and more;
Scarce had he Combed and Curled his Hair,        10
When out there comes a brighter Fair,
    Eclipsed him o’er, and o’er.
The dazzled Boy would have retired,
But durst not, because he was hired,
    To light the Purblind Skies;        15
But all on Earth, will Swear and say,
They saw no other Sun that Day,
    Nor Heav’n, but in her Eyes.
Her starry Eyes, both warm and shine,
And her dark Brows, do them enshrine,        20
    Like Love’s Triumphal Arch;
Their Firmament is Red and White,
Whilst the other Heaven is but bedight,
    With Indigo and Starch.
Her Face a Civil War had bred,        25
Betwixt the White Rose and the Red,
    Then Troops of Blushes came;
And charged the White with might and main,
But stoutly were repulsed again,
    Retreating back with shame.        30
Long was the War, and sharp the Fight,
It lasted dubious until Night,
    Which would to the other yield;
At last the Armies both stood still,
And left the Bridegroom at his Will,        35
    The Pillage of the Field.
But, oh, such Spoils! which to compare,
A Throne is but a rotten Chair,
    And Scepters are but sticks;
The Crown itself, ’twere but a Bonnet,        40
If her Possession lay upon it,
    What Prince would not here fix.
Heaven’s Master-piece, Divinest frame,
That e’er was spoke of yet by Fame,
    Rich Nature’s utmost Stage;        45
The Harvest of all former years,
The past’s Disgrace, the future’s fears,
    And glory of this Age.
Thus to the Parson’s Shop they trade,
And a slight Bargain there is made,        50
    To make Him her Supreme;
The Angels perched about her Light,
And Saints themselves had Appetite,
    But I will not Blaspheme.
The Parson did his Conscience ask,        55
If he were fit for such a Task,
    And could perform his Duty;
Then straight the Man put on the Ring,
The Emblem of another thing,
    When strength is joined to Beauty.        60
A modest Cloud her Face invades,
And wraps it up in Sarsnet Shades,
    While thus they mingle Hands;
And then she was obliged to say,
Those Bug-bear Words, Love and Obey,        65
    But meant her own Commands.
The envious Maids looked round about,
To see what One would take them out,
    To terminate their Pains;
For tho’ they Covet, and are Cross,        70
Yet still they value more one Loss,
    Than many Thousand Gains.
Knights of the Garter, two were Called,
Knights of the Shoe-string, two installed,
    And all were bound by Oath;        75
No further than the Knee to pass,
But oh! the Squire of the Body was
    A better place than both.
A tedious Feast protracts the time,
For eating now, was but a Crime,        80
    And all that interposed;
For like two Duellists they stood,
Panting for one another’s Blood,
    And longing till they closed.
Then came the Jovial Music in,        85
And many a merry Violin,
    That Life and Soul of Legs;
Th’ impatient Bridegroom would not stay,
Good Sir, cry they, what Man can play,
    Till he’s wound up his pegs.        90
But then he Dances till he reels,
For Love and Joy had Winged his Heels,
    And puts the Hours to flight;
He leapt and skipt, and seemed to say,
Come Boys, I’ll drive away the Day,        95
    And shake away the Night.
The lovely Bride, with Murdering Arts,
Walks round, and Brandishes her Darts,
    To give the deeper Wound;
Her Beauteous Fabric, with such grace,        100
Ensnares a Heart, at every pace,
    And Kills at each rebound.
She glides as if there were no Ground,
And slily draws her Nets around,
    Her Lime-twigs are her Kisses;        105
Then makes a Curtsie with a Glance,
And strikes each Lover in a Trance,
    That Arrow never misses.
Thus have I oft a Hobby seen,
Daring of Larks over a Green,        110
    His fierce occasion tarry;
Dances about them as they fly,
And gives them sport before they Die,
    Then stoops and Kills the Quarry.
Her Sweat, like Honey-drops did fall,        115
And Stings of Beauty pierced us all,
    Her shape was so exact;
Of Wax she seemed framed alive,
But had her Gown too been a Hive,
    How Bees had thither flocked.        120
Thus envious Time prolonged the Day,
And stretched the Prologue to the Play,
    Long stopped the sluggish Watch;
At last a Voice came from above,
Which called the Bridegroom and his Love,        125
    To Consummate the Match.
But (as if Heav’n would it retard)
A Banquet comes, like the Night-Guard,
    Which stayed them half the Night;
The Bridegroom then with’s Men retired,        130
The Train was laying to be fired,
    He went his Match to light.
When he returned, his Hopes was crowned,
An Angel in the Bed he found,
    So glorious was her Face;        135
Amazed he stopt —— but then, quoth He,
Tho’ ’tis an Angel, ’tis a She,
    And leaped into his Place.
Thus lay the Man with Heav’n in’s Arms,
Blessed with a Thousand pleasing Charms,        140
    In Raptures of Delight;
Reaping at once, and Sowing Joys,
For Beauty’s Manna never cloys,
    Nor fills the Appetite.
But what was done, sure was no more,        145
Than that which had been done before,
    When she her self was Made;
Something was lost, which none found out,
And He that had it could not shew’t,
    Sure ’tis a Juggling Trade.        150

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