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 Cowardly Clown of Flanders Cuckolded
(From Collection of Old Ballads, 1723)

AN HONEST Man as I am told,
  He was a Cuckold made;
With his sweet Wife, a Spaniard bold,
  The wanton Frolick plaid.
I’ll tell you how it came to pass,        5
  If you’ll attend a while;
A Guinea to a single Groat,
  This Song will make you smile.
In Flanders fair, a simple Clown,
  As he travelling had been;        10
Bringing his Wife in Company,
  Came late unto his Inn:
A Spanish Soldier being there,
  A Guest unto the Place.
No sooner saw, but liked his Wife;        15
  She had a comely Face.
Her Cheeks for curious Red and White
  The like is seldom seen;
All over charming Beauty bright,
  And of a courteous Mien;        20
The Soldier then his Weapon drew,
  And stood upon his Guard,
And vowed he’d have a touch or two,
  Or it should ’scape him hard.
No Rest or Quiet could he take,        25
  For Cupid’s loud Alarms:
Free Plunder he resolved to make
  Of her Delightful Charms.
He watched when they were gone to Bed,
  Then boldly in comes he,        30
And never said, Friend, by your leave,
  But made their Number three.
He clasped her round her tender waist,
  And fairly fell to work;
She had not oft been so embraced,        35
  He pleased her at a Jerk:
The Clown lay still and felt a stir,
  But durst not speak for’s Life:
At length his Patience was so moved,
  He softly jogged his Wife.        40
And said to her prithee intreat
  The Spaniard to be still.
To speak Spanish, Man, quoth she,
  You know I have no Skill.
But Husband, if you please to rise,        45
  And to the Sexton go,
He understandeth Spanish well,
  Assuredly I know.
Faith, and I’ll fetch him straight, quoth he,
  And so the Rustick rose,        50
And softly sneaking out o’ Door,
  About his Message goes:
Meantime imagine what you will,
  To me it is unknown:
But e’er her Husband came again,        55
  The Spaniard he was gone.
Which when the simple Man perceived,
  He fell to Domineer;
O Wife, said he, for Twenty Pound
  I would he had been here,        60
This Cudgel should have thrashed his Hide
  Till all his Bones were broke:
That I would have been satisfied,
  ’Cause he did me provoke.
By this chastizing Hand of mine,        65
  He should have felt the Smart:
I know he had some base design,
  Which vexed me to the Heart.
Tell me, Sweet heart, when I was gone,
  How long the Knave did stay?        70
Quoth she, You scarce was out of Doors
  Before he ran away.
Wife, quoth the Clown, thou mak’st me laugh,
  That I did fear him thus:
Come let us take a little nap,        75
  For his disturbing us;
You see what comes of Policy,
  And good discretion Wife,
If I had been some hasty Fool,
  It might have cost my Life.        80
Ah, so it might, quoth she, my Dear,
  ’Tis well you had that Wit,
I should have died for very Fear,
  If you and he had fit;
Come let us keep each other warm,        85
  And pleasant Stories tell:
Oh! as he has done me no harm,
  So all I hope is well.

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