Verse > Anthologies > T. R. Smith, ed. > Poetica Erotica: A Collection of Rare and Curious Amatory Verse
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T. R. Smith, comp.  Poetica Erotica: Rare and Curious Amatory Verse.  1921–22.
 
The Witty Western Lass
By Robert Guy
 
(From The Roxburghe Ballads, Vol. III, 1880)

 You maids, that with your friends whole nights have spent,
Beware back-fallings, for fear of the event.

SWEET Lucinda, lend me thy aid,
  Thou art my helper and no other;
Pity the state of a teeming maid,
  That never was a wife, yet must be a mother:
By my presage, it should be a boy        5
  That thus lies tumbling in my belly;
Yield me some ease, to cure my annoy,
  And list to the grief I now shall tell ye.
 
I was belovèd everywhere,
  And much admirèd for my beauty;        10
Young men thought they happy were
  Who best to me could show their duty:
But now, alack! pains in my back,
  And cruel gripings in my belly,
Do force me to cry, O sick am I,        15
  I fear I shall die, alack, and welly!
 
Instead of mirth, now may I weep,
  And sadly for to sit lamenting,
Since he I loved no faith doth keep,
  Nor seeks no means for my contenting:        20
But all regardless of my moan,
  Or what lies tumbling in my belly,
He into Sweden now is gone,
  And left me to cry, alack, and welly!
 
It doth the proverb verify—        25
  Folly it were [for] to complain me—
Those that desired my company
  Scornfully now they disdain me:
Wanting his sight [who] was my delight,
  And cruel grippings in my belly,        30
Do force me to cry, O sick am I,
  I fear I shall die, alack, and welly!
 
Thus am I to the world a scorn,
  My dearest friends will not come nigh me;
Shall I then for his absence mourn        35
  That for his dearest doth deny me?
No, no, no, I will not do so,
  With patience I my grief will smother,
And, as he hath cozenèd me,
  So will I, by cunning, gull another.        40
 
Incontinent to Troynovant,
  For my content, I’ll thither hie me,
Where privately from company
  Obscurely I’ll lie, where none shall descry me:
And when I’m easèd of my pain        45
  And cruel grippings in my belly,
I for a maid will pass again,
  And need not to cry, alack, and welly!
 
THE SECOND PART
Some tradesman there I will deceive
  By my modesty and carriage,        50
And I will so myself behave
  As by some trick to get a marriage:
And when I’m married, I will so carry it,
  As none shall know it by my belly
That ever I have formerly        55
  Had cause to cry, alack, and welly!
 
And if he be a husband kind,
  I’ll true and constant be unto him;
Obedient still he shall me find,
  With good respect I’ll duty owe him;        60
But if he crabbèd be and cross,
  And basely beat me, back and belly,
As Vulcan’s Knight, I’ll fit him right,
  And scorn to cry, alack, and welly!
 
A secret friend I’ll keep in store        65
  For my content and delectation,
And now and then in the tavern roar
  With jovial gallants, men of fashion:
Sack, or claret, I will call for it,
  I’ll scorn to want, or pinch my belly,        70
But merry will be, in company:
  No more will I cry, alack, and welly!
 
And if I cannot to my mind
  A husband get that will maintain me,
I’ll show myself to each man kind,        75
  In hope that it some love will gain me;
But yet so wary I will be,
  I’ll shun from ought may wrong my belly.
Through misery to cause me cry,
  As formerly, alack, and welly!        80
 
Had he I loved but constant proved,
  And not have been to me deceitful,
No subtle Sinon should have moved
  Me to those odious courses hateful;
But since that he proves false to me,        85
  Not pitying what is in my belly,
No more I will grieve, but merry will be,
  And cry no more, alack, and welly!
 
With resolution firmly bent,
  I’ll cast off care and melancholy,        90
Sorrow and grief and discontent,
  To fret and vex, it is but a folly;
Or seek by woe to overthrow,
  Or wrong the first fruits of my belly:
No, no, no, no, I’ll not say so,        95
  No more will I cry, alack, and welly!
 
 
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