Page images
PDF
EPUB

Wings from the wind to please her mind,

Notes from the lark I'll borrow;
Bird, prune thy wing ; nightingale, sing,
To give my Love good-morrow;

To give my Love good-morrow
Notes from them both I'll borrow.

Wake from thy nest, Robin red-breast,

Sing, birds, in every furrow;
And from each hill, let music shrill

Give my fair Love good-morrow!
Blackbird and thrush, in every bush,

Stare,1 linnet, and cock-sparrow;
You pretty elves,? amongst yourselves
Sing my fair Love good-morrow;

To give my Love good-morrow
Sing, birds, in every furrow!

1

2

34

ROBIN GOODFELLOW.

AUTHOR UNKNOWN-apparently of the 16th century.

From Oberon," in fairy-land,
The king of ghosts and shadows there,
Mad Robino I, at his command,

1 stare, starling. ? elves, fairy-like creatures. Oberon, king of the fairies.

2 Mad Robin, a fairy.

Am sent to view the night-sports here

What revel rout:

Is kept about,
In every corner where I

go,
I will o’ersee,

And merry be,
And make good sport, with ho, ho, ho!

a

More swift than lightning can I fly
About this airy welkin* soon,
And, in a minute's space, descry
Each thing that's done below the moon.

There's not a hags

Or ghost shall wag,
Or cry “'Ware goblins !” where I go;

But, Robin, I

Their feats will spy,
And send them home, with ho, ho, ho!

6

Whene'er such wanderers I meet,
As from their night-sports they trudge home,
With counterfeiting 6 voice I greet,
And call them on with me to roam ;

Through woods, through lakes,
Through bogs, through brakes,

3 revel rout, noisy pleasure gather

ings. Revel is a riotous or tu

multuous feast. * airy welkin, the sky, or region

of the clouds. Ger. wolke, a cloud.

5 hag, a witch.
6 counterfeiting, lit., to make the

counter, or opposite.

Or else, unseen, with them I go,

All in the nick?

To play some trick,
And frolic it, with ho, ho, ho!

Sometimes I meet them like a man,
Sometimes an ox, sometimes a hound;
And to a horse I turn me can,
To trip and trot about them round.

But if to ride,

My back they stride,
More swift than wind away I go,

O'er hedge and lands,

Through pools and ponds, I hurry, laughing, ho, ho, ho !

8

9

By wells and rills, in meadows green,
We nightly dance in heyday guise;8
And to our fairy King and Queen,
We chant our moonlight minstrelsies.

When larks 'gin sing,

Away we fling;
And babes new-born steal as we go;

And elf 10 in bed,

We leave instead,
And wend 11 us, laughing, ho, ho, ho!
From hag-bred Merlin's 12 time have I
Thus nightly revell’d to and fro;
And for my pranks men call me by
The name of Robin Good-fellow.

all in the nick, at the proper

instant. Ger. nicken, to wink. 8 heyday guise, in jovial, frolic

ing dress or way,

9 Sing by moonlight.
10 elf, a fairy.
11 wend, lit., to wind, to go off.

Fiends, ghosts, and sprites,

Who haunt the nights,
The hags and goblins do me know

And beldames 13 old

My feats have told,
So valé, valé ! 14 ho, ho, ho!

35

MY MIND TO ME A KINGDOM IS.

AUTHOR UNKNOWN.

This excellent philosophic song was famous in the 16th century. It is quoted by Ben Jonson in one of his plays.

My mind to me a kingdom is ;

Such perfect joy therein I find
As far exceeds all earthly bliss

That God or Nature hath assigned.
Though much I want, that most would have,
Yet still my mind forbids to crave.

12 Merlin, a fabled Welsh wizard.
13 beldame, orig., belle dame, fair

lady. Now, an old woman, a hag.

14 vale, Lat., farewell.
| That most people would like to have.

Content I live: this is my stay ;

I seek no more than may suffice; I press to bear no haughty sway;

But what I lack my mind supplies. Lo! thus I triumph like a king,

Content with that my mind doth bring.

I see how plenty surfeitso oft,

And hasty climbers soonest fall: I see that such as sit aloft

Mishap doth threaten most of all: These get with toil, and keep with fear:

Such cares my mind could never bear.

No princely pomp, nor wealthy store,

No force to win the victory, No wily wit to salve a sore,

No shape to win a lover's eye; To none of these I yield as thrall,

For why? my mind despiseth all.

Some have too much, yet still they crave,

I little have, yet seek no more; They are but poor, though much they have;

And I am rich with little store; They poor, I rich; they beg, I give;

They lack, I lend; they pine, I live.

I laugh not at another's loss,

I grudge not at another’s gain :

2 surfeits, cloys, lit., to overdo, as ia eating, &c.

« PreviousContinue »