BUNDLING


by Henry Reed Stiles
BUNDLING "A man and a woman lying on the same bed with their clothes on; an expedient practiced in America on a scarcity of beds, where, on such occasions, husbands and parents frequently permitted travellers to _bundle_ with their wives and daughters."--_Grose, Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue_.

BUNDLE _v.i._ "To sleep on the same bed without undressing; applied to the custom of a man and woman, especially lovers, thus sleeping."--_Webster, 1864_.

BUNDLE _v.n._ "To sleep together with the clothes on."--_Worcester, 1864_.

     
*Origins*

A NEW BUNDLING SONG


      _Or a reproof to those Young Country Women, who follow that reproachful Practice, and to their Mothers for upholding them therein_.
Since bundling very much abounds,
In many parts in country towns,
No doubt but some will spurn my song,
And say I'd better hold my tongue;
But none I'm sure will take offence,
Or deem my song impertinence,
But only those who guilty be,
And plainly here their pictures see.
Some maidens say, if through the nation,
Bundling should quite go out of fashion,
Courtship would lose its sweets; and they
Could have no fun till wedding day.
It shant be so, they rage and storm,
And country girls in clusters swarm,
And fly and buz, like angry bees,
And vow they'll bundle when they please.
Some mothers too, will plead their cause,
And give their daughters great applause,
And tell them, 'tis no sin nor shame,
For we, your mothers, did the same;
We hope the custom ne'er will alter,
But wish its enemies a halter.
Dissatisfaction great appear'd,
In several places where they've heard
Their preacher's bold, aloud disclaim
That bundling is a burning shame;
This too was cause of direful rout
And talk'd and told of, all about,
That ministers should disapprove
Sparks courting in a bed of love,
So justified the custom more,
Than e'er was heard or known before.
The pulpit then it seems must yield,
And female valor take the field,
In places where their custom long
Increasing strength has grown so strong;
When mothers herein bear a sway,
And daughters joyfully obey.
And young men highly pleased too,
Good Lord! what can't the devil do.
Can this vile practice ne'er be broke?
Is there no way to give a stroke,
To wound it or to strike it dead.
And girls with sparks not go to bed
'Twill strike them more than preacher's tongue,
To let the world know what they've done
And let it be in common fame,
Held up to view a noted shame.
Young miss if this your practice be,
I'll teach you now yourself to see:
You plead you're honest, modest too,
But such a plea will never do;
For how can modesty consist,
With shameful practice such as this?
I'll give your answer to the life:
"You don't undress, like man wife,"
That is your plea, I'll freely own,
But whose your bondsmen when alone,
That further rules you will not break,
And marriage liberties partake?
Some really do, as I suppose,
Upon design keep on some clothes,
And yet in truth I'm not afraid
For to describe a bundling maid;
She'll sometimes say when she lies down,
She can't be cumber'd with a gown,
And that the weather is so warm,
To take it off can be no harm:
The girl it seems had been at strift;
For widest bosom to her shift,
She gownless, when the bed they're in,
The spark, nought feels but naked skin.
But she is modest, also chaste,
While only bare from neck to waist,
And he of boasted freedom sings,
Of all above her apron strings.
And where such freedoms great are shar'd
And further freedoms feebly bar'd,
I leave for others to relate,
How long she'll keep her virgin state.
Another pretty lass we'll scan,
That loves to bundle with a man,
For many different ways they take,
Through modest rules they all will break.
Some clothes I'll keep on, she will say,
For that has always been my way,
Nor would I be quite naked found,
With spark in bed, for thousand pound.
But petticoats, I've always said,
Were never made to wear in bed,
I'll take them off, keep on my gown,
And then I dare defy the town,
To charge me with immodesty,
While I so ever cautious be.
The spark was pleased with his maid,
Of apprehension quick he said,
Her witty scheme was keen he swore,
Lying in gown open before.
Another maid when in the dark,
Going to bed with her dear spark,
She'll tell him that 'tis rather shocking,
To bundle in with shoes and stockings.
Nor scrupling but she's quite discreet,
Lying with naked legs and feet,
With petticoat so thin and short,
That she is scarce the better for't;
But you will say that I'm unfair,
That some who bundle take more care,
For some we may with truth suppose,
Bundle in bed with all their clothes.
But bundler's clothes are no defence,
Unly[35] horses push the fence;
A certain fact I'll now relate,
That's true indeed without debate.
A bundling couple went to bed.
With all their clothes from foot to head,
That the defence might seem complete,
Each one was wrapped in a sheet.
But O! this bundling's such a witch
The man of her did catch the itch,
And so provoked was the wretch,
That she of him a bastard catch'd.
Ye bundle misses don't you blush,
You hang your heads and bid me hush.
If you wont tell me how you feel,
I'll ask your sparks, they best can tell.
But it is custom you will say,
And custom always bears the sway,
If I wont take my sparks to bed,
A laughing stock I shall be made;
A vulgar custom 'tis, I own,
Admir'd by many a slut and clown,
But 'tis a method of proceeding,
As much abhorr'd by those of breeding.
You're welcome to the lines I've penn'd,
For they were written by a friend,
Who'll think himself quite well rewarded,
If this vile practice is discarded.

The party in favor of bundling were able, too, to _keep a poet_, as is shown by the following ballad, which we transcribe from a printed copy preserved by the American Antiquarian Society.



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