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 Baffled Knight
(From Collection of Old Ballads, 1723)

THERE was a Knight was drunk with Wine,
  a riding along the way, Sir,
And there he did meet with a Lady fine,
  and among the Cocks of Hay, Sir.
One Favour he did crave of her,        5
  and ask’d to lay her down, Sir,
But he had neither Cloth nor Sheet,
  to keep her from the Ground, Sir.
There is a great Dew upon the Grass,
  and if you should lay me down, Sir,        10
You would spoil my gay clothing,
  that has cost me many a Pound, Sir.
I have a Cloak of Scarlet red,
  I’ll lay it under thee, Love,
So you will grant me my request,        15
  that I shall ask of you, Love.
And if you’ll go to my Father’s Hall,
  that is moated all round about, Sir,
There you shall have your Will of me,
  within, Sir, and without, Sir.        20
Oh, yonder stands my Milk-white Steed,
  and among the Cocks of Hay, Sir,
If the King’s Pinner should chance to come,
  he’ll take my Steed away, Sir.
I have a Ring upon my Finger,        25
  it’s made of the finest Gold, Love,
And it shall serve to fetch your Steed,
  out of the Pinner’s Fold, Love.
And if you’ll go to my Father’s House,
  round which there’s many a Tree, Sir,        30
There you shall have your Chamber free,
  and your Chamberlain I’ll be, Sir.
He sat her on a Milk-white Steed,
  himself upon another;
And then they rid along the way,        35
  like Sister and like Brother.
But when she came to her Father’s House,
  which was moated all round about, Sir,
She slipped herself within the Gate,
  and she locked the Knight without, Sir.        40
I thank you, kind Knight, for seeing me here,
  and bringing me home a Maiden, Sir,
But you shall have two of my Father’s Men,
  for to get you as far back again, Sir.
He drew his Sword out of his Scabbard,        45
  and whet it upon his Sleeve, Sir,
Saying, Cursed be to ev’ry Man,
  that will a Maid believe, Sir.
She drew her Handkerchief out of her Pocket,
  and threw it upon the Ground, Sir,        50
Saying, thrice cursed be to ev’ry Maid,
  that will believe a Man, Sir.
We have a Tree in our Garden,
  some call it of Rosemary, Sir;
There’s Crowing-cocks in our Town,        55
  that will make a Capon of you, Sir.
We have a Flower in our Garden,
  some call it a Marygold, Sir;
And he that would not when he might,
  he shall not when he would, Sir.        60
But if you chance for to meet a Maid,
  a little below the Town, Sir,
You must not fear her gay clothing,
  nor the wrinkling of her Gown, Sir.
And if you chance for to meet a Maid,        65
  a little below the Hill, Sir,
You need not fear her shrieking out,
  for she quickly will lie still, Sir.
The baffled Knight was by the Lass
  ingeniously out-witted;        70
And since that time, it came to pass,
  he was again well fitted:
As he was riding cross a Plain,
  in Boots, Spurs, Hat and Feather,
He met that Lady fair again,        75
  they talk’d a while together.
He said, tho’ you did serve me so,
  and cunningly decoy me;
Yet now, before you further go,
  I must and will enjoy thee.        80
’Twas near a spacious River’s side,
  where Rushes green were growing,
And Neptune’s silver Streams did glide,
  four Fathom Waters flowing.
The Lady blush’d like Scarlet-red,        85
  and trembled at this Stranger;
How shall I guard my Maiden-head
  from this approaching danger?
With a lamenting sigh, said she,
  to die I now am ready:        90
Must this dishonour fall on me?
  a most unhappy Lady!
He from his Saddle did a-light
  in gaudy rich attire;
And cried, I am a Noble Knight,        95
  who do your Charms admire.
He took the Lady by the Hand,
  who seemingly consented;
And would no more disputing stand,
  she had a Plot invented.        100
How she might baffle him again,
  with much Delight and Pleasure;
And eke unspotted still remain
  with her pure Virgin Treasure.
Look yonder, good Sir Knight, I pray,        105
  methinks I do discover,
Well mounted on a Dapple-grey,
  my true entire Lover.
The Knight, he standing on the brink
  of the deep floating River;        110
Thought she, thou now shalt swim or sink,
  choose which thou fancy rather.
Against his back the Lady run,
  the Waters straight he sounded:
He cried out, Love! What have you done!        115
  help! help, or I am drowned!
Said she, Sir Knight, farewell, adieu,
  you see what comes of fooling:
That is the fittest place for you,
  whose Courage wanted cooling.        120
Love, help me out, and I’ll forgive
  this Fault which you’ve committed:
No, no, says she, Sir, as I live,
  I think you’re finely fitted.
She rid home to her Father’s House        125
  for speedy expedition;
While the gay Knight was soaked like Souce,
  in a sad wet condition.
When he came mounted to the Plain,
  he was in rich attire:        130
Yet when he back returned again,
  he was all Muck and Mire.
A solemn Vow he there did make,
  just as he came from swimming,
He’d love no Lady, for her sake,        135
  nor any other Women.
The Baffled Knight was fooled once more,
  you’ll find by this pleasant ditty,
For she whose Charms he did adore
  was wonderful sharp and witty.        140
Returning from her Father’s Park,
  just close by a Summer Bower,
She chanced to meet her angry Spark
  Who gave her a frowning lower.
The thoughts of what she twice had done,        145
  did cause him to draw his Rapier,
And at the Lady then he run,
  and thus he began to vapour:
You chous’d me at your Father’s Gate,
  then tumbled me into the River,        150
I seek for satisfaction, straight;
  Shall I be a Fool for ever?
He came with Resolution bent
  that Evening to enjoy her;
And if she did not give consent,        155
  that Minute he would destroy her.
I pray Sir Knight, and why so hot
  against a young silly Woman?
Such Crimes as these might be forgot,
  for merry intrigues are common.        160
What! do you count it Mirth, he cried,
  to tumble me in and leave me?
What if I drowned there had died?
  a dangerous Jest, believe me.
Well, if I pardon you this Day        165
  those Injuries out of measure,
It is because without delay
  I mean to enjoy the Pleasure.
Your suit, she said, is not denied,
  but think of your Boots of Leather;        170
And let me pull them off, she cried,
  before we lie down together.
He set him down upon the Grass,
  and Violets so sweet and tender;
Now by this means it came to pass,        175
  that she did his purpose hinder.
For having pulled his Boots half way,
  she cried, I am now your betters;
You shall not make of me your Prey,
  sit there like a Thief in Fetters.        180
Now finding she had served him so,
  he rose and began to grumble;
Yet he could neither stand nor go,
  but did like a Cripple tumble.
The Boots stuck fast, and would not stir,        185
  his folly she soon did mention,
And laughing said, I pray kind Sir,
  How like you my new Invention!
My laughing Fit you must excuse,
  you are but a stingless Nettle;        190
You’d ne’er a stood for Boots or Shoes,
  had you been a Man of Mettle.
Farewell, Sir Knight, ’tis almost Ten,
  I fear neither Wind nor Weather:
I’ll send my Father’s Serving-Men,        195
  to pull off your Boots of Leather.
She laughed out-right, as well she might,
  with merry conceits of Scorning,
And left him there to sit all Night,
  until the approaching Morning.        200
The fourth Part of the baffled Knight,
  the Lady hath fairly acted,
She did his Love and Kindness slight,
  which made him almost distracted.
She left him in her Father’s Park,        205
  where nothing but Deer could hear him;
While he lay rouling in the dark,
  there’s never a Soul came near him;
Until the Morning break of Day,
  and being warm Summer-weather,        210
A Shepherd chanced to come that way,
  who pulled on his Boots of Leather.
Then mounting on his Milk-white Steed,
  he shaking his Ears was ready,
And whip and spur he rid with speed        215
  to find out this crafty Lady.
If once this Lady I come nigh
  she shall be released by no Man;
Why should so brave a Knight as I,
  be fooled by a silly Woman?        220
Three times she has affronted me,
  in Crimes which I cannot Pardon;
But if I an’t reveng’d, said he,
  let me not be worth a farthing.
I value not her Beauty fair,        225
  tho’ once I did dote upon her;
This trusty Sword shall now repair
  My baffled, blasted Honour.
Unto her Father’s House he came,
  which every side was moated;        230
The fair sweet youthful charming Dame,
  his angry brows she noted.
Thought she, I’ll have the other bout,
  and tumble him in the River,
And let the Devil help him out,        235
  or there he shall soak for ever.
He will not let me live at rest,
  although I have often foiled him;
Therefore, once more I do protest,
  with flattering I’ll beguile him;        240
The Bridge was drawn, the Gates locked fast,
  so that he could no ways enter;
She smiled to him, and cried at last,
  Sir Knight, if you please to venture,
A Plank lies over the Moat hard by,        245
  full Seventeen Foot in Measure,
There’s no body now at home but I,
  therefore we’ll take our pleasure.
This Word she had no sooner spoke,
  but straight he was tripping over;        250
The Plank was sawed, and snapping broke;
  he prov’d an unhappy Lover.

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