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 Unfortunate Miller
Bagford Ballads
 
(Anonymous. 1685; from Pt. III)

ALL you that desire to hear of a jest,
Come listen awhile, and it shall be exprest;
It is of a Miller that lived very near,
The like of this ditty you never did hear,
A handsome young Damsel she came to his mill,        5
To have her corn ground with a ready good will,
As soon as he saw her fair beauty so bright,
He caused this young Damsel to tarry all night.
 
Said he, my dear jewel, it will be near morn,
Before my man Lawrence can grind my dear’s corn,        10
And therefore if thou wilt be ruled by me,
At home in my parlour thy lodging shall be,
For I am enflamed with thy amorous charms,
And therefore this night thou shalt sleep in my arms,
I swear it, and therefore it needs must be so,        15
It is but in vain for to answer me no.
 
At this the young Damsel so blushing did stand,
But straightways the master took her by the hand,
And leading her home to young Gillian his wife,
Said he, my sweet honey, the joy of my life,        20
Be kind to this maid, for her father I know,
And let her lie here in the parlour below,
Stout Lawrence my servant, and I, we shall stay
All night in the mill till the dawning of day.
 
To what he desired she straightways agreed,        25
And then to the mill he did hasten with speed,
He ready was there to leap out of his skin,
To think of the bed which he meant to lie in;
Now when he was gone, the maid told his intent
To Gillian, and they a new project invent,        30
By which they well fitted this crafty young blade;
The miller by Lawrence a cuckold was made.
 
The maid and his wife they changed bed for that night,
So that when the miller came for his delight,
Straightway to the parlour bed he did repair,        35
Instead of the Damsel, wife Gillian was there,
Which he did imagine had been the young lass,
When after some hours in pleasure they past,
He rose, and returned to the mill like one wild,
For fear he hath got the young Damsel with child.        40
 
Then to his man Lawrence the miller did say,
I have a young damsel both bonny and gay,
Her eyes are like diamonds, her cheeks sweet and fair,
They may with the Rose and the Lily compare,
Her lips they are like the rich coral for red,        45
This lass is at home in my parlour in bed,
And if you go home you may freely enjoy
With her the sweet pleasure, for she is not coy.
 
His master’s kind proffer he did not refuse,
But was brisk and airy, and pleased with the news,        50
But said, to yourself much beholding I am,
And for a requital I’ll give you my ram;
This done, lusty Lawrence, away home he goes,
And stript of his coat, breeches, likewise shoes and hose,
And went into bed with young Gillian his dame;        55
Yet Lawrence for that was not worthy of blame.
 
He little imagined his dame was in bed,
And therefore his heart was the freer from dread,
The minutes in pastime and pleasure they spent,
Unknown to them both, she enjoyed true content,        60
Now after a while he his dame had embraced,
He rose and returned to the mill in all haste,
Telling his master of all the delight,
Which he had enjoyed with that damsel this night.
 
Next morning the maid to the mill did repair,        65
The miller and Lawrence his servant was there,
His master then whispered this word in her ear,
“How like you to lie with a miller, my dear?”
At this the young damsel then laughing out right;
And said, I changed beds with young Gillian last night:        70
If you enjoyed any it was your sweet wife,
For my part, I ne’er lay with a man in my life.
 
At this he began for to rave, stamp and stare,
Both scratching his elbows and pulling his hair,
And like one distracted about he did run,        75
And often times crying, Ha! what have I done,
Was ever poor miller so finely betrayed,
By Lawrence, my man, I am a cuckold made.
The Damsel she laughed and was pleased in her mind,
And said he was very well served in his kind.        80
 
 
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