Page images
PDF
EPUB

1

Then die! that she

The common fate of all things rare
May read in thee,-

How small a part of time they share
That are so wondrous sweet and fair.

[Yet, though thou fade,

From thy dead leaves let fragrance rise ;
And teach the maid

That goodness Time's rude hand defies,-
That virtue lives when beauty dies.]

The last stanza was added by Henry Kirke White, and is the crowning grace of a beautiful

poem, which would scarcely have been complete without it,

THE FAIRIES' SONG.

Anonymous. From the Tixall Poetry, temp. Charles I,

WE dance on hills above the wind,
And leave our footsteps there behind,
Which shall to after ages last,
When all our dancing days are past.

Sometimes we dance

upon

the shore,
To whistling winds and seas that roar;
Then we make the wind to blow,
And set the seas a-dancing too.

The thunder's noise is our delight,
And lightnings make us day by night;
And in the air we dance on high
To the loud music of the sky.

About the moon we make a ring,
And falling stars we wanton fling,
Like squibs and rockets, for a toy;
While what frights others is our joy.

But when we'd hunt away our cares,
We boldly mount the galloping spheres;
And riding so from east to west,
We chase each nimble zodiac beast.

Thus giddy grown, we make our beds, With thick black clouds to rest our heads, And flood the earth with our dark showers, That did but sprinkle these our bowers.

Thus having done with orbs and sky,
Those mighty spaces vast and high,
Then down we come and take the shapes,
Sometimes of cats, sometimes of apes.

Next turn’d to mites in cheese, forsooth,
We get into some hollow tooth;
Wherein, as in a Christmas hall,
We frisk and dance, the devil and all.

[merged small][graphic]

THE JOVIAL BEGGARS.

From PLAYFORD'S “ Choice Aires," 1660. THERE was a jovial beggar,

He had a wooden leg, Lame from his cradle,

And forced for to beg.
And a begging we will go, will go, will go.
And a begging we will go.
And a bag for his oatmeal,

Another for his salt,
And a pair of crutches,
To shew that he can halt.

And a begging, &c.
A bag for his wheat,

Another for his rye,
And a little bottle by his side,
To drink when he's a-dry.

And a begging, &c.
Seven years I begg'd
For
my

old master Wild;
He taught me to beg
When I was but a child.

And a begging, &c.

I begg’d for my master,

And got him store of pelf; But, Jove now be praised, I'm begging for myself.

And a begging, &c. In a hollow tree

I live, and pay no rent; Providence provides for me, And I am well content.

And a begging, &c.
Of all the occupations,

A beggar's is the best,
For whenever he's a-weary,
He can lay him down to rest.

And a begging, &c.

I fear no plots against me,

I live in open cell ;
Then who would be a king
When beggars live so well ?

And a begging we will go, &c.

This song is the prototype of many others in the English language, including the popular favourite, “A hunting we will go," which appears among the sporting songs in this volume, and “A sailing we will go,” which appears among the sea-songs.

THE PRAISE OF MILK.

From PLAYFORD'S “Musical Companion,” Part II., 1687. Usually sung to the old

English melody of "Packington's Pound.”

In praise of a dairy I purpose to sing ;
But all things in order—first, God save the king;

And the queen, I may say,
Who every May-day

Has many fine dairy-maids, all fine and gay:
Assist me, fair damsels, to finish my theme,
Inspire my fancy with strawberry-cream.

The first of fair dairy-maids, if you'll believe,
Was Adam's own wife, our great grandmother Eve,

Who oft milk'd a cow,
As well she knew how,

Though butter was then not so cheap as 'tis now:
She hoarded no butter nor cheese on a shelf,
For butter and cheese in those days made itself.

In that age or time there was no horrid money,
Yet the children of Israel had both milk and honey.

No queen could you see,
Of the highest degree,

But would milk the brown cow with the meanest she: Their lambs gave them clothing, their cows gave them meat, And in plenty and peace all their joys were complete.

Amongst the rare virtues that milk does produce,
For a thousand of dainties it's daily in use ;

Now a pudding, I'll tell ye,
Ere it goes in the belly,

Must have from good milk both the cream and the jelly;
For a dainty fine pudding without cream or milk
Is a citizen's wife without satin or silk.

In the virtues of milk there is more to be muster'd
Than charming delights both of cheese-cake and custard;

For at Tottenham Court
You can have no sport,

Unless you have custard and cheese-cake too for't;
And what's the jack-pudding that makes us to laugh,
Unless he hath got a great custard to quaff

Both pancake and fritter of milk have good store,
But a Devonshire white-pot must needs have much more.

No state you can think,
Though you study and wink,

From the lusty sack-posset to poor posset drink,
But milk's the ingredient, though sack's ne'er the worse ;
For 'tis sack makes the man, though 'tis milk makes the nurse.

THE OLD MAN'S WISH.

Dr. WALTER POPE, born about 1630, died 1714. The music by Dr, Blow,

See Ritson's “English Songs,” vol. iii.

IF I live to grow old, for I find I go

down,
Let this be my fate :—in a country town
May I have a warm house, with a stone at the gate,
And a cleanly young girl to rub my bald pate.
May I govern my passions with absolute sway,
And grow wiser and better as strength wears away,
Without gout or stone, by a gentle decay.

Near a shady grove and a murmuring brook,
With the ocean at distance, whereon I may look;
With a spacious plain, without hedge or stile,
And an easy-pad-nag to ride out a mile.

« PreviousContinue »