A Ballad Upon A Wedding

A Ballad Upon A Wedding

Original Text

Sir John Suckling, Fragmenta Aurea (London: H. Moseley, 1646). Wing S6127. B-11 2046 Fisher Rare Book Library

2Where I the rarest things have seen;
3      Oh, things without compare!
4Such sights again cannot be found
5In any place on English ground,
6      Be it at wake, or fair.
7At Charing-Cross, hard by the way,
10And there did I see coming down
11Such folk as are not in our town,
13Amongst the rest, one pest'lent fine
14(His beard no bigger though than thine)
15      Walk'd on before the rest:
16Our landlord looks like nothing to him:
17The King (God bless him) 'twould undo him,
18      Should he go still so drest.
20He should have first been taken out
21      By all the maids i'th' town:
22Though lusty Roger there had been,
23Or little George upon the Green,
24      Or Vincent of the Crown.
25But wot you what? the youth was going
26To make an end of all his wooing;
27      The parson for him stay'd:
28Yet by his leave (for all his haste),
29He did not so much wish all past
30      (Perchance), as did the maid.
31The maid (and thereby hangs a tale)
33      Could ever yet produce:
35So round, so plump, so soft as she,
36      Nor half so full of juice.
37Her finger was so small, the ring
38Would not stay on, which they did bring;
39      It was too wide a peck:
40And to say truth (for out it must)
41It look'd like the great collar (just)
42      About our young colt's neck.
43Her feet beneath her petticoat,
44Like little mice, stole in and out,
45      As if they fear'd the light:
46But oh! she dances such a way
48      Is half so fine a sight.
49He would have kissed her once or twice,
50But she would not, she was nice,
51      She would not do't in sight,
52And then she looked as who should say
53I will do what I list to day;
54      And you shall do't at night.
55Her cheeks so rare a white was on,
56No daisy makes comparison,
57      (Who sees them is undone);
58For streaks of red were mingled there,
60      (The side that's next the sun).
61Her lips were red, and one was thin,
62Compar'd to that was next her chin;
63      (Some bee had stung it newly);
64But (Dick) her eyes so guard her face,
65I durst no more upon them gaze
66      Than on the sun in July.
67Her mouth so small, when she does speak,
68Thou'dst swear her teeth her words did break,
69      That they might passage get;
70But she so handled still the matter,
71They came as good as ours, or better,
73If wishing should be any sin,
74The Parson himself had guilty been;
75      (She looked that day so purely,)
76And did the youth so oft the feat
77At night, as some did in conceit,
78      It would have spoil'd him, surely.
79Passion o' me, how I run on!
80There's that that would be thought upon
81      (I trow) besides the bride.
82The business of the kitchen's great,
83For it is fit that men should eat;
84      Nor was it there denied.
85Just in the nick the cook knock'd thrice,
86And all the waiters in a trice
87      His summons did obey:
88Each serving-man, with dish in hand,
90      Presented, and away.
91When all the meat was on the table,
92What man of knife or teeth was able
93      To stay to be intreated?
94And this the very reason was,
95Before the parson could say grace,
96      The company was seated.
97Now hats fly off, and youths carouse,
98Healths first go round, and then the house,
99      The bride's came thick and thick;
100And when 'twas nam'd another's health,
101Perhaps he made it hers by stealth;
102      And who could help it, Dick?
103O' th' sudden up they rise and dance;
104Then sit again and sigh, and glance;
105      Then dance again and kiss:
106Thus sev'ral ways the time did pass,
107Whilst ev'ry woman wish'd her place,
108      And ev'ry man wish'd his.
109By this time all were stol'n aside
110To counsel and undress the Bride;
111      But that he must not know:
112But yet 'twas thought he guess'd her mind,
113And did not mean to stay behind
114      Above an hour or so.
115When in he came (Dick) there she lay
116Like new-fal'n snow melting away,
117      ('Twas time I trow to part)
118Kisses were now the only stay,
119Which soon she gave, as who would say,
120      Good Boy! with all my heart.
121But just as heav'ns would have to cross it,
122In came the Bridemaids with the Posset:
123      The Bridegroom eat in spite;
124For had he left the Women to't
125It would have cost two hours to do't,
126      Which were too much that night.
127At length the candles out and out,
128All that they had not done, they do't:
129      What that is, who can tell?
130But I believe it was no more
131Then thou and I have done before
132      With Bridget, and with Nell.


1] The poem celebrates the marriage of Roger Boyle, Baron Broghill, to Lady Margaret Howard, daughter of the Earl of Suffolk, in 1641. Back to Line
8] Where we ... do sell our hay. At the Haymarket. Back to Line
9] a house with stairs. Northampton House, then the property of the Earl of Suffolk. Back to Line
12] Vorty. South-English dialect form of "forty". Back to Line
19] Course-a-park. A round game like "kiss in the ring". Back to Line
32] Whitsun-ale. A rustic festival held at Whitsuntide. Back to Line
34] kindly. By natural process. Back to Line
47] Referring to the tradition that the sun dances on Easter morning. See Giles Fletcher's Christ's Triumph, 6. Back to Line
59] Catherine pear. A small and early variety of pear. Back to Line
72] spent. Worn, consumed. Back to Line
89] trained band. Body of militia. Back to Line
Publication Start Year
RPO poem Editors
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition
2RP.1.334; revised in RPO 1994-2000.