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adviceI have fallen in love with a broadside song of 1690, entitled ‘Advice to Young Gentlemen… to the tune of The Ladies of London.’

It reads:

“All Jolly Blades that Inhabit the Town,
And with the fair Sex are contriving,
From the Gay Fop, to the honest bred Clown,
be advis’d to resolve against Wiving;
Let not a prospect of Pleasure delude,
where so many Plagues are attending,
For ’tis the Nature of Wives to Obtrude,
and Miseries heap without ending.

First, have a care of the Lady precise,
who exclaims against Drinking and Roaring,
That privately turns up the Whites of her Eyes
and in publick abominates Whoring:

But if you Coach her a mile out of Town
and quote her but Solomon’s Vices;
With a slight trip you may tumble her down,
though seeming she modestly nice is.

Let no City-Girl your Freedom beguile,
shee’l cheat you with modest behaviour,
Who sits like a Rabbit trust up for to boil,
and swears she’s a Maid by her Saviour:
But if you cunningly manage your Plot,
you’l quickly be admitted under;
Her coy behaviour will soon be forgot,
shee’l breath out her Soul in a slumber.

The Widdow avoid where Policy lurks
pretending to act by her Conscience
That’s black as the Devil and large as a Turk’s
shee’l tease you to Death with her Nonsense:
But if you love her and long for a Bout,
you ne’r must stand mincing the matter,
Brush her with Jollitry briskly about,
and down with your Britches and at her.

Let not the Country wench that is coy,
insinuate into your favour
For when she knows what it is to enjoy
she quickly will change her behaviour:
Turn an insatiate Miss of the Town,
to purchase Gallants shee’l endeavour;
Pawn from her Carcase her Paragon Gown
to maintain the curteous Pleasure.

But if your Vigor a Wife doth require
and will not admit of forbearing;
Any may serve for to quench your desire,
ther’s no Barrel the better Herring.
When you have ty’d the true Lovers Knot
’tis one of the Curses depending
To Father a brood you never half got,
without any further contending.

When the Wifes brought a Bed, least the Cuckold grow mad
the Midwife she makes an Oration
And cryes the poor Infant is so like the Dad
’tis worthy of your Observation;
Whilst the good Woman is pleased in her heart
to hear them so Err in their chatting,
Knowing her Husband and she was a-part
when Bully, the Boy was a getting.

Now how to avoid so heavy a Curse,
I do like a Brother advise ye,
Never to take her for better for worse,
if you do, by my troth you’re a Nisey*,
For you without may get her consent
and ne’r make half that Puther**
Then when she’s false, or her Portion is spent
you may change and make choice of another.”

Romancers of this world, let that be a lesson to you!

*A ‘nisey’, or ‘nizey’, was a “soft simple fellow, a simpleton” in contemporary slang.

** “Puther” – spoken of a woman who has brought her husband a large fortune.

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