Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TOM O' BEDLAM'S SONG, by FRANCIS BEAUMONT



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TOM O' BEDLAM'S SONG, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: From the hag and hungry goblin
Last Line: "poor tom will injure nothing."


From the hag and hungry goblin
That into rags would rend ye,
And the spirit that stands
By the naked man
In the book of moons defend ye,
That of your five sound senses
You never be forsaken,
Nor wander from
Yourselves with Tom
Abroad to beg your bacon.

While I do sing, "Any food, any feeding,
Feeding, drink or clothing?
Come, dame or maid,
Be not afraid,
Poor Tom Will injure nothing."

Of thirty bare years have I
Twice twenty been enragéd,
And of forty been
Three times fifteen
In durance sadly cagéd
On the lordly lofts of Bedlam
With stubble soft and dainty,
Brave bracelets strong,
Sweet whips, ding-dong,
With wholesome hunger plenty.

And now I do sing, &c.

With a thought I took for Maudlin,
And a cruse of cockle pottage,
With a thing thus tall,
Sky bless you all,
I befell into this dotage.
I slept not since the conquest,
Till then I never wakéd,
Till the roguish boy
Of love where I lay
Me found and stript me naked.

And now I do sing, &c.

When I short have shorn my sow's face
And swigged my horny barrel
In an oaken inn
I pound my skin
As a suit of gilt apparel.
The moon's my constant mistress
And the lowly owl my morrow;
The flaming drake
And the night-crow makeMe music to my sorrow.

While I do sing, & c.

The palsy plagues my pulses
When I prig your pigs or pullen,
Your culvers take,
Or matchless make
Your chanticleer or sullen—
When I want provant with Humphrey
I sup, and when benighted,
I repose in Paul's
With waking souls
Yet never am affrighted.

But I do sing, &c.

I know more than Apollo,
For oft, when he lies sleeping,
I see the stars
At bloody wars
In the wounded welkin weeping,
The moon embrace her shepherd
And the queen of love her warrior,
While the first doth horn
The star of the morn
And the next the heavenly farrier.

While I do sing, &c.

The gipsy Snap, and Pedro,
Are none of Tom's comradoes;
The punk I scorn
And the cutpurse sworn
And the roaring-boys' bravadoes;
The meek, the white, the gentle,
Me handle, touch, and spare not,
But those that cross
Tom Rhinoceros
Do what the panther dare not.

Although I do sing, &c.

With a heart of furious fancies
Whereof I am commander,
With a burning spear
And a horse of air
To the wilderness I wander;
By a knight of ghosts and shadows
I summoned am to tourney
Ten leagues beyond
The wide world's end
—Methinks it is no journey.

Yet will I sing, "Any food, any feeding,
Feeding, drink or clothing?
Come, dame or maid,
Be not afraid,
Poor Tom will injure nothing."





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