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 Beggar Wench Turned into a Devil
Roxburghe Ballads
 
(Debauchery Scared. Anonymous, 1688; from Vol. IV)

A COUNTRY gentleman came up to town
  To taste the delights of the city,
Who had for his servant a jocular clown,
  Accounted to be very witty:
His master one night got drunk as a rat,        5
  And swore he would turn him away, sir,
Unless he would get him a bit for his cat
  And into his chamber convey her.
 
Some jolly dame he was willing to have,
  And gave to his Bumpkin a guinea,        10
Who had the wit not to give it, but save
  The far better part of the money:
To find out a punck, he walked in the street,
  And backwards and forwards kept trudging;
At last a young beggar-wench he did meet,        15
  Who was in great want of a lodging.
 
“Sweetheart,” said he, “if thou’lt give thy consent
  To go home, and lie with my master,
I’ll give thee half a crown for thy content,
  And save thee from any disaster.”        20
It being late, she was fearing the watch,
  Besides it was very cold weather,
So that they quickly both made up the match,
  And trudged to his master together.
 
Bumpkin was arch, as he homewards did come,        25
  He gave her a bout by the way, sir;
Then to his master he carried her home,
  Who in a dark chamber lay, sir:
He bid her be sure let his master not know,
  By any means, she was a mumper;        30
But bid her to rise before daylight, and go,
  Or, Adswounds! He would heartily thump her.
 
Bumpkin his Trull to the chamber he led,
  And then to his bed took his way, sir;
She quickly undressed and groped into the bed        35
  And close to the gentleman lay, sir;
Eager of joy, he gave her a kiss,
  And hugged her with flaming desire;
The gentleman swore that she smelt so of cheese,
  He could not endure to lie by her.        40
 
He bid her get up to a place in the room
  Where a bottle stood of a rose-water,
And wash her face to take away the fume,
  Then come into bed again after.
A bottle of ink there happened to stand,        45
  And for the Rosewater she took it,
Pouring a spoonful out in her hand
  And over her face did she stroke it.
 
Then to their joys they eagerly fell,
  Till at last it began to be light, sir;        50
Then, looking, he thought her the devil of hell,
  And ran out of bed in a fright, sir,
Crying, “The devil, the devil was there;”
  She, being affrighted, ran after,
In a tattered old smock, crying, “where is he, where?”        55
  Which put the whole street in a laughter.
 
 
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